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Signs Of A Bad Car Air Conditioning System

Signs Of A Bad Car Air Conditioning System
15 June, 2022

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system, pumping refrigerant at high pressure to carry the heat away from your car’s interior. It contains several moving parts, including pistons and valves that will wear out over time, and may begin to leak refrigerant or oil.

When a compressor fails, it can damage other parts of the air conditioning system, resulting in potentially expensive repairs. If you see any of these potential signs of a bad car A/C compressor, you’ll need to take action.


  • Weak airflow

Your car’s air conditioner may emit a weak airflow if there are loose hoses or seals, a faulty ventilation fan, or even a blocked cabin filter. Cabin filters don’t last forever and should be changed regularly as part of an air conditioner servicing regime.

  • Bad smells

A bad-smelling car air conditioner often indicates mould and mildew growing in dark and damp parts of the system. This problem is not usually related to a bad car A/C compressor, but it cannot be ignored because inhaling mould spores is unsafe and can cause breathing problems.

  • Car not cooling

A refrigerant gas leak is a common cause of a car air conditioning system failing to cool. However, closer inspection may reveal something as minor as a blown fuse, or as major as a bad car A/C compressor.

  • Windows fog up in humid weather

Your air conditioner’s compressor keeps you cool but also draws moisture out your car’s cabin, keeping your windscreen and windows clear on the defog settings. If this function isn’t working effectively, it can impede a driver’s vision, so don’t leave it unattended.

  • Air conditioner starts out cool, then gets warm

This could indicate a lack of refrigerant, a bad car A/C compressor clutch or a failing expansion valve. Either way, don’t leave the problem unresolved as using the air conditioning system in this state may result in more expensive repairs later.


  • Weird noises

Do you hear unusual noises either when you switch on your car air conditioner, or once it is running? These could be caused by worn or broken belts or pulleys, and several other compressor issues that need to be promptly diagnosed by a licensed air conditioning technician.

  • Smell of burning

If you notice a smell of burning when you turn your air conditioning on, it’s likely the wiring of your compressor is heat-damaged or burnt. You will need to fix this issue immediately to avoid further damage to other components.

  • Leaking dashboard

If you notice water dripping from under your dashboard onto your floor mats, a clogged hose or drain could be to blame. Age and moisture may cause A/C system leaks. This may not be related to a bad car A/C compressor but can create further damage to other components, so it needs to be fixed immediately.

Remember: Regular servicing of your car’s air conditioning system ensures it remains in top condition when you need it!

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