Automotive Repair Blog: Tips, Facts, and Fixes


Air Conditioning

Colorado is known for its sunny disposition. Colorado is also known for its sometimes-unpredictable weather patterns. What Colorado isn’t necessarily known for is 80-degree-plus temperatures in March without any sort of a catch – which doesn’t mean that we won’t appreciate it. It just means that we probably shouldn’t accept the arrival of summer two months early. It also means that, ready or not, we will begin to shift from relying on heaters to relying on air conditioners more and more. And while, for most of us, that shift is only seen when we move the knobs in our car from “hot” to “cold,” it’s important to remember that, as with anything that sits stagnant for months at a time, your air conditioning might not run as smoothly as you expect the first time it’s been used in a while – at least at the beginning. Your A/C system loses it refrigerant over time and that will affect its performance.

Most people don’t know that they typically use their A/C year round. On most cars, when you turn on your defrost function, that turns on your system…so it doesn’t get much of a rest. With that said, it can start to lose its charge and start taking longer to cool down your car or longer to defrost your windshield. Another common problem when turning on your A/C is getting a foul odor from dirt, mold, and mildew that grows in your system evaporator coil: the part that has the cooled refrigerant inside your dashboard.

When it comes to actual maintenance with your air conditioner, it is recommended that you have it looked at during your car’s annual service to ensure it continues to run smoothly. If, however, you notice a change in its performance for long periods of time, it may be time to have it looked at professionally, especially if you start to notice:

  • The air temperature not cooling even after the air conditioner has been running for a while,
  • Clicking or other unusual noises coming from inside whenever you turn your air conditioner on,
  • A feeling of moisture inside the interior of your vehicle,
  • Fluid leaking from the vents,
  • A long-lasting odd smell being pushed out whenever you run your air conditioner,
  • Taking longer than normal to cool down the cabin in your vehicle.

In some cases, the issues may arise from a small leak in a hose, a lack of refrigerant, a piece of debris trapped inside the air conditioning system, a broken compressor, or other problems. You may also have a plugged cabin filter, specific to many late-model cars.

Many of the newer air conditioning systems can require a lot of technical hands-on work, so always seek a professional if you are hesitant about what you’re doing. The professionals at a Pro Auto Choice near you will always have your back.