General Question

AshlynM's avatar

Need help with car a/c blowing hot air?

Asked by AshlynM (10155points) June 30th, 2011

All of a sudden my car is blowing hot air. It’s a fairly old car, about 97, but it’s rarely been used. I’ve always had two cars but I lent one of them to my friend and started using the 97.

Since it’s rarely been used, I don’t understand why the air conditioning decided to go sporadic.

When I first turn the car on, it’ll blow hot air for at least ten minutes before working normally. I do make sure it’s set to normal a/c.

Car repairs can be expensive. Is there any way for me to fix it myself?

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4 Answers

woodcutter's avatar

The system may only need to be charged with refrigerant. Sometimes that’s all it needs, hopefully. If its more than that it will be a lot more.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The condition you describe, not working at first, but then working after car is running for ten minutes sounds like the expansion control valve is malfunctioning.

Typically, it starts blowing cold right at about the same time you get to where you’re going. Or at stop lights it will go warm again. Start moving, and the a/c kicks in.

Depending upon the car, that repair could cost anywhere between $250 and $600. The dashboard must be partially removed. The cost is in the labor. The part is only $20 or so.

And no, you probably could not fix this yourself. Special tools are required to work on auto a/c, and specifications need to be fairly exact.

Craigslist or Angieslist may have cheaper mechanics that can come to you for less money.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Check your radiator levels. Some cars don’t allow their compressors to kick on unless the engine is below a certain temperature. The temp rises at idle, stoplights, stuck in traffic, but will lower once the car begins to move. You may simply be low on radiator fluid. Topping it off may allow the car to remain cool enough at idle for the compressor to kick on.

Probably not your problem though. Your car doesn’t start the a/c even when the engine is first started and still cold.

stephen272's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies might be right but I would try recharging it with refrigerant first since its cheaper to test. If the refrigerant pressure gets too low, the compressor will not turn on, which means no cold air. If you run it for a while, the pressure might increase slightly and kick the compressor on. Buy a can of refrigerant and try it out (~ $30).

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