Why Isn't My Vehicle's AC System Working?
Common Subaru FAQ Questions

Hanson Subaru Auto Care FAQs: Why Did my Car's Air Conditioner Stop Working?

Get Answers To Common Subaru FAQ Questions

From the compressor and condenser to the refrigerant inside the system to all the electrical parts that make it work, your vehicle's air conditioner is a complex system that can stop working for a wide variety of reasons. However, most of them are simple to fix. You may simply have run out of refrigerant, or a leak in the system just needs to be patched.

In this handy answer to one of our most frequently asked questions, we'll give you an overview of the major components of a modern car's AC system, and let you know what can happen when these components fail. This will give you a better idea of what might be wrong with the system in your vehicle.

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Since special tools and equipment are often required to properly service an A/C system, you might find you need a helping hand making this repair. You can always consult with a service advisor at your local Subaru dealership for friendly advice and scheduling service from a factory-trained technician.

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A/C System: Refrigerant

Refrigerant gas in the A/C system both cools the air that enters the cabin through the climate control vents and also helps pull hot air out of the cabin. Over time, refrigerant will slowly leach out of the system. Even so, most A/C systems will only need to be recharged once every few years. If your air conditioner seems to be working, but just isn't blowing as cold as it should, you might just need to have your car's A/C system recharged with fresh refrigerant.

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A/C System: Compressor

The compressor in your vehicle circulates refrigerant throughout the A/C system. It's a belt-driven accessory that can stop working if the drive belt fails, or if the compressor pulley locks up. This can occur at any time, but it often happens when the air conditioner hasn't been run for a long time. That's why many mechanics recommend running the air conditioner on full blast for a few minutes every month or so, even during the winter months. This can help extend the life of your compressor. If the compressor goes bad, it'll need to be replaced.

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A/C System: Condenser

At the front of your vehicle, the A/C condenser cools the refrigerant by allowing ambient air to pass over it as you drive. The A/C system can stop working if the condenser is clogged by debris or blocked by an object like a plastic bag. Or, if the condenser has been damaged or punctured from a collision, the refrigerant may not cool enough at the condenser, and your vehicle will only blow hot air.

These three are the major components of your vehicle's air conditioning system, but the electrical components and other, smaller items can also go bad over time. What's more, professional tools for reclaiming old refrigerant gasses are necessary to drain A/C systems before they can be serviced. That's why you may want to trust your vehicle's HVAC system to the pros at your local, authorized Subaru dealership service center.

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