Tips For Troubleshooting Your Vehicle's Air Conditioning By Checking Temperatures

Is something wrong with your auto air conditioning where the air coming out of the vents is warm? Here are some tips for troubleshooting the problem by checking temperatures.

Get the Right Tool

If you are trying to troubleshoot this problem on your own, know that you do not need to run out to your local auto parts story and buy a fancy AC pressure gauge set. While this will give you accurate numbers of the compression levels coming out of various components, you can do basic troubleshooting by just checking the temperature of the lines. This can be done with an infrared thermometer that can tell you the temperature of the surface by pointing at it. It will help narrow down the part that is having problems.

Understand the Air Conditioner

It helps to have a basic understanding of your air conditioner before you do anything. There is both a high pressure and low pressure side that the refrigerant passes through, and when you compress the refrigerant the temperature rises. This means that all the lines that the refrigerant flows through after compression occurs, such as the compressor and condenser, will travel through the high pressure side and should be hot to the touch. Once the refrigerant leaves the evaporator, the refrigerant should be traveling through the low pressure side and the lines should be cold to the touch.

Check the Temperatures

Let the air conditioner run for a while and use your infrared thermometer to check the temperature of the lines coming out of the compressor. That line coming out of the compressor should be a little bit over 100°F if the system is working properly. The line coming out of the condenser won't be as hot, but somewhere between 80°F and 90°F. If these temperatures are in that range, then the high pressure side of the system is working properly. You should next check the temperature of the line coming out of the evaporator that leads back into the compressor. This line will be notably cooler, with it being a bit over 32°F. It should not be below freezing, and not hotter than the high pressure side.

If any of these temperatures do not fall within the proper range, you know that the problem is with the part that preceded it in the cycle that the refrigerant goes through. Take your car to a local auto shop to confirm that the problem is with that part. Some companies, like, know how important these sort of fixes are on a car.