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DIY Air Conditioner Repairs for Your Car and When You Need a Pro

It’s tough to know when you can repair your car yourself and when you should get help from a professional. Air conditioning systems are incredibly complicated - here’s a breakdown of easy fixes anyone can handle and when you should visit the shop.
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Knowing when to see an expert for your vehicle's air conditioning system can be a challenge. You can try to beat the heat by rolling your windows down, but there are simple steps you can do at home to get your A/C back in working order.

We’ll explain some easy DIY repairs to remedy common air conditioning problems and explain when professionals might be necessary. With basic tools and some small purchases, you could be staying cool on the road once again!

A/C Warning Signs

The cooling system in your ride will often send signals when something is wrong. From loud noises to a lack of air, you’ll want to figure out what’s causing the problem to avoid any long-term and potentially expensive damage. To stay on top of potential trouble, have your A/C checked at least once a year by an expert.

  1. Loud Noises

If your system sounds louder than usual or you hear a rattling noise during operation, you could have debris blocking the intake system. Check under the hood for leaves and spend a little time at the car wash to ensure components can operate freely.

If no debris is found, this could be a sign of a larger problem, such as a broken blower or worn bearings. Major failure could occur, so avoid running your A/C until you can get into a shop.

  1. No Air

There’s no worse feeling on a hot day than cranking on your A/C, and nothing comes out. If you’re lucky, you’ll just have a blown fuse. Consult your owner’s manual for the location of your A/C fuse, and replace it if needed.

Unfortunately, no air coming through is typically a more severe issue. Blower motor resistor failure is more likely the cause. These can be tricky repairs for amateurs, so consider consulting a pro if you have more than a blown fuse.

  1. Leaking Fluid

If you have an unreliable A/C in your ride, inspect for fluid leaks under the hood and beneath your car. Between oil for compressors, coolant, and refrigerant, there are many liquid systems that can impact your air conditioning if compromised.

Be sure to inspect your fluid levels frequently and monitor them closely if your system is acting up. Failure to address fluid leaks can lead to more significant issues for your vehicle, so seek out a professional if one is suspected.

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DIY Fixes and Products

There are other ways to repair your A/C besides clearing debris and replacing fuses. These products make servicing your vehicle's air conditioner easy and might save you a trip to the mechanic.

  1. Duct Cleaners

If you’re hearing loud noises or have weak airflow, canned duct cleaning products will clear out your system and have it operating more efficiently. This pressurized air can help eliminate foul odours as well, freshening up your drive while improving the A/C.

  1. Canned Refrigerant

Adding refrigerant to your cooling system has been perfected with canned products. Most contain pressure nozzles, so you’ll always add the right amount, and they can be reused, which makes topping off easy. And if you suspect a leak, it’s a great way to get by until you see an expert.

When to Get Help

Most major air conditioning repairs will require specialized tools and some technical knowledge. If you’re comfortable under the hood, locating the issue will be your first step.

With your vehicle running, make sure your radiator’s cooling fan is running, and check your A/C compressor. If one or both of these aren’t operating, that’s where you’ll need to begin repairs.

For drivers less familiar with the mechanical side, stick with the basic maintenance tips above to avoid complicated projects. Have all systems inspected by a professional at least once a year and during an oil change for maximum convenience. With preventative care and timely repairs, your commutes will always be comfortable.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Davis Chevrolet for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more.