Imagine basking in the glory of a beautiful, 85-degree PNW day. You enjoy the warmth, but are looking forward to your vehicle’s air conditioning for your trip across town. You turn the temperature dial to blue. You turn the fan on high. And….. weak, warm air comes out. Your dreamy day has turned into a nightmare. That’s right—your A/C is broken. Or at least not working to its full capacity. How can you avoid a hot, sweaty summer of driving? Take a look at these signs that it’s time for air conditioning service, so you can fix the problem before it starts.

Air conditioning blowing hot air

1. Full of hot air

We all expect a little bit of time to pass before the air turns cold, but if you’re waiting 5-10 minutes or more, there’s an issue. Alternatively, you also have a problem if the air starts cold, but soon turns warm. Here are a few explanations for these issues, though only a skilled technician can diagnose the exact cause:

  • A Freon leak, which can be caused by a broken seal, O-ring, or hose
  • Damaged or failed condenser
  • Failed compressor, compressor clutch, or blower motor
  • Damaged switch, fuse, relay, or control module

2. What’s that smell? 

If there’s an odd smell when you run your air conditioning, it can be a sign of mold or mildew in your vehicle’s condenser. While this isn’t necessarily a health threat, it can be annoying and unpleasant. It also isn’t good for the A/C system as a whole.

An alternative (and less serious) explanation is the need for a new cabin air filter. Not surprisingly, the cabin air filter helps clean the air that flows into the cabin. Dust, dirt, pollen and overall grime collects in the filter, rendering it less and less effective. Mildew and mold, however, are probably the causes of the smell. You can replace the cabin air filter yourself, but keep in mind that it can be a time- and labor-intensive process.

3. Pop! Squeak! Bang! Rattle, rattle, rattle

If you hear noises when running your air conditioner, it can indicate a problem with your compressor. Keep your ears open, and consider bringing your vehicle to an air conditioning specialist, like Rolf’s Import Auto, to take a closer look…and listen.

4. Oh no… a leak

Seeing a new leak? That could be a refrigerant. Moisture, combined with an aging system, is often a recipe for leaks. If you’re unsure of what the leak might be, bring it to Rolf’s Import Auto for air conditioning service, and we’ll diagnose the leak and find a solution.

5. Instead of a gust, you feel a weak breeze

Maybe your air is somewhat cool, but the air pressure is weak. This is a crucial sign that your air conditioning is struggling. Causes for this issue include a broken fan, mold or mildew accumulation (are you seeing a pattern?), or a loose hose.

If you’re experiencing any of these air conditioning symptoms, bring your vehicle to Rolf’s Import Auto in Fife or Lakewood as soon as possible. Your summer road trips, weekend getaways, and commutes depend on it.

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