Here in Tempe Arizona your cars’ air conditioning isn’t just a convenience, it’s almost vital. As I’m writing this it’s early February and we’re already in the 80’s. When it’s hot outside and your car A/C doesn’t work, that’s a problem.

Your cars’ air conditioning system is basically pretty simple but it works at substantial pressures and all the pieces have to work in balance. You have 4 basic components to your A/C system plus the refrigerant: a compressor to compress the refrigerant, a condenser to remove the heat from the compressed refrigerant, an expansion valve that makes the refrigerant cold and an evaporator that uses the now cold refrigerant to cool the air coming in to your car.

The most common problem we see at All Tune & Lube in Tempe is a low refrigerant charge. What you’ll typically notice at first is that the air conditioning doesn’t work well until you’re on the freeway then over time it stops working altogether. You can charge the system yourself, kinda, and it’ll work OK at least until it runs low again. You’re A/C is a sealed system and if it runs low on refrigerant that means you have a leak, for sure. If you have your system re-charged at a good shop they’ll check for leaks first, though not all leaks are easy to find. When the system is re-charged the shop will put in a bit of dye that will show up if the leak persists or another leak happens.

Another problem we see regularly here at All Tune and Lube Tempe is that for one reason or another the compressor is not coming on even though there’s a good charge of refrigerant in the system. There are several things that can cause this to happen, a faulty sensor, relay or fuse, a bad compressor or compressor clutch or even a computer issue. In a case like this it’s best to take it to a shop because diagnosing the problem can be tricky.

More rarely you might have an issue where everything seems to be working as it should but you’re still getting hot air from the A/C. In situations like that you may well have a blend door that’s stuck, keeping the cold air from getting to you. The blend door is a like a valve in your A/C that mixes hot and cold air so you get just the temperature you want, just like the hot & cold water taps on your sink. These are often a beast to repair so unless you’re feeling really adventurous leave it to a pro.

There are other things that can go wrong with your cars’ air conditioning but this will cover the vast majority of problems. If you need to take your car in for A/C repairs I hope you’ll choose us, All Tune & Lube, Tempe Arizona.