Few things are as frustrating as getting turning on the car AC on a hot day only for nothing to happen. If you know why your AC might fail, you may be able to prevent the failure in the first place. Knowing the common causes of AC failure may also help you with the diagnosis and repair for a failed AC. Here are some of the reasons your car's AC might malfunction.
The refrigerant absorbs heat in the car and dissipates it outside then moves heat from inside the car. A refrigerant leak, therefore, leaves your car warm because there is nothing to channel the heat outside.
Corrosion and accidental damage are the usual suspects when it comes to refrigerant leaks. However, anything that punctures the refrigerant lines or the coils can cause refrigerant leaks.
Fan Damage or Restriction
Your car's AC has a cooling fan, which blows cold air over the condenser to cool the refrigerant and hence your car. If the car malfunctions, the AC won't get adequate air circulation, and its cooling efficiency will suffer. Thus, the AC will malfunction if the fan cracks, if the fan blades get bent out of shape, or if something (like road debris) interferes with the rotation of the fan.
The AC only works if the refrigerant is able to circulate to absorb heat inside the car and dump it outside. The compressor is part of the AC that facilitates the circulation of the refrigerant. Thus, compressor malfunction interferes with refrigerant malfunction and hence AC cooling. Failures of various parts of the compressors, such as the clutch, pulley, and fuse can all cause AC failure.
The AC runs on electricity so an electrical malfunction will interfere with its operations. For example, the electrical fun that blows cold air over the AC cols operates on electricity. The compressor, which circulates the refrigerant, also runs on electricity. Thus, damaged electrical leads, electrical short circuits, or electrical motor overheating can all cause the AC to malfunction.
Just like your residential AC, your car's AC also needs to be clean for efficient cooling. Accumulation of dirt and debris over several parts of the AC can interfere with airflow and cooling.
For example, if the air filters are clogged with debris, the AC won't get adequate air to cool the refrigerant. If the coils are clogged with debris, the debris will insulate the refrigerant from the air, hence the refrigerant will stay warm.
For more information, contact a mechanic service such as Professional Automotive.