3 Things To Do When Your Car's AC Stops Working

Nobody wants to be stuck with non-working AC in their car, especially during the hottest and most sweltering months of the year. Fortunately, when you encounter broken auto AC, there are a number of diagnostic and troubleshooting steps you can take to potentially resolve the problem.

1. Check the Air Temperature

If you have air blowing out of your vents, but it doesn't seem to be cold, start by making sure the "A/C" light is illuminated; otherwise, you could just be venting the outdoor air into your car. If the light is illuminated, but the air still doesn't seem to be cold, check the actual temperature of the air coming in. You can do this using a meat thermometer or regular thermometer placed in between the slats on one of your air vents. Anything below 60 degrees is pretty typical for a car AC unit, but the outdoor temperature will influence your car's ability to cool down as well.

Generally, so long as the air temperature is 30 or so degrees cooler than the outside temperature, your AC is probably functioning properly.

2. Try a Re-Charge Kit

If you've confirmed that the air your AC unit is blowing isn't cool enough, you might consider purchasing a re-charge kit from your local auto supply shop. These kits come in canisters that allow you to refill the refrigerant in your car, which can in-turn help your AC run cooler. The kit should include a gauge, which will help to confirm if your car's refrigerant levels are low and need re-charged in the first place. If they don't read low on the gauge, return the kit and bring your car in to be serviced by a professional. Adding more refrigerant will not help matters and can actually harm your vehicle.

3. Check for Refrigerant Leaks

Finally, be sure to check for refrigerant leaks. You can do this by popping your hood with your car on and running your AC; if you hear any hissing noises coming from any of the hoses near your AC compressor, there's a good chance you're dealing with a leak that should be repaired by a professional. However, for minor leaks, there are repair kits available that you can try on your own as a means of saving money.

Dealing with a busted AC in your car can be a pain, but following these steps can help you make the necessary repairs without wasting money.