Auto A/C & Heat Repairs
We know that when it comes air conditioning (a/c) and heating systems, what matters most to our customers is not how they work, but that they work. Reliably and effectively. Every single time.
Above everything else, both systems are designed to keep you and your passengers comfortable. Especially when the temperatures outside are anything but. So in this post, we’ll focus on answering the 3 main questions we commonly encounter:
- Why is my heater not pushing out enough air to warm up my vehicle?
- Why is my a/c not cooling down my vehicle like it should?
- What can I do to prevent issues with my a/c and heater?
And while this may not be particularly interesting, we’ll start with a super quick rundown of how the a/c and heating systems work. We promise not to get too technical. But we want to at least walk you through the basics. This is because, at Sullivan Automotive, our goal is to always help you feel informed and empowered when it comes to your vehicle and servicing needs.
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If you’re experiencing issues with your a/c or heating system, or you simply have some questions you’d like to run by us, our experienced technicians are here to help.
How do the air conditioning (a/c) and heating systems in my vehicle work?
The main component in your vehicle’s heating system is the heater core. It essentially looks and functions like a mini radiator. The job of the radiator is to help cool the engine by cooling off a hot fluid (called coolant) that travels in and out of it. When you turn on the heater in your vehicle, some of that hot coolant gets diverted from the radiator and travels instead to your heater core, where it helps to produce warm air for the passenger cabin.
Your a/c system produces cool air in a similar way – by changing the qualities of a substance as it comes into contact with various components. But instead of coolant, a/c systems use a substance called refrigerant. And beyond changing its temperature, a/c systems also convert the refrigerant from a gas to a liquid and back to a gas again. During these changes in temperature and state, the refrigerant and various components of the a/c system work to produce cool air that gets blown into the passenger cabin.
Why is my heater not pushing out enough air to warm up my vehicle?
Aging and deteriorating coolant fluid can be a reason why your heating system isn’t working as intended. Coolants are specially blended liquids that become less and less effective over time. Their anti-corrosion properties can wear off, causing rusting and corrosion of the various components they pass through. Aging coolants can also cause a build-up of thicker substances that clog the tubes inside the heater core, effectively blocking the passage of warm air.
We discuss the importance of replacing coolant fluids on our page about radiator service and repairs. The same is true for ensuring the optimal functioning of your heater core. Coolants should be replaced in adherence with the specifications outlined in your owner’s manual. Your vehicle manufacturer will have specified the exact type of fluid to be used, the fluid levels that need to be maintained, and the frequency with which the fluid needs to be flushed out and replaced.
Another culprit when it comes to heating issues can be the complexity of the heating system itself. Because it relies on so many connected parts to work effectively, issues with one component can affect the entire system. This can include anything from the thermostat, which releases coolant from the engine, to the tubes that carry the coolant through the heater core.
Why is my vehicle not cooling down like it should?
Refrigerant leaks are a common cause of issues with the a/c system. And as non-intuitive as this sounds, they’re often caused by a lack of use. Because you have no need for cooling your vehicle outside of warmer months, various seals in the a/c system can actually break down. This then causes the refrigerant to leak. And without the right amount of refrigerant, the entire system stops working as intended.
Like the heating system, the overall performance of your a/c system can also be impacted by even one malfunctioning component within it. This can include a clogged vent, a broken fan, or even electrical issues. Some parts, like the condenser, can become prematurely damaged if there is a build-up of debris within the a/c system. And when refrigerant levels are regularly checked, they can drop too far down and require an a/c recharge. During this service, refrigerant is added to your a/c system to replenish it back to manufacturer-recommended levels.
What can I do to prevent issues with my a/c and heating systems?
Your vehicle’s a/c and heating systems may not be tied to safety in the same way that your brakes and radiator are. But they need to be routinely inspected and serviced, just like everything else. Regular maintenance is the key to keeping both systems in good working order.
Whether you use your vehicle on a daily basis or for the occasional road trip, you deserve to be comfortable whenever you’re out on the road. At Sullivan Automotive, our trained mechanics have the skill and knowledge to get your a/c and heating systems working properly. From newer vehicles to ones that are older and/or used, we can provide the information and services you need to stay comfortable – all year round.