Bonus: How to Fix your Own Car’s A/C
If your formerly icy cold vents start blowing only hot air, there are a few DIY steps you can take to see if you can get the system back up and running, even if you aren’t that mechanically inclined:
- Check the cabin air filter: if it looks black and gunky, it’s time for a new one.
- Check the condenser, mounted in front of the radiator. If it’s clogged, cleaning it might get your A/C pumping again. All you’ll need is a garden hose and some engine cleaner.
- Check the cooling fan on your car. If your car’s A/C is electric, then when the A/C is on, the fan should be moving, and if it isn’t, check the cooling fan relay, which is usually mounted near the fan. Look for corrosion and burnt connectors. If your car uses a mechanical fan, it should rev when the engine does (you’ll have to keep the hood open and have a partner do the revving while you look). If not, you’ll need to have it repaired.
- Make sure the compressor belt is turning with the engine, and when the A/C is on, the center part of the compressor should turn with the belt. If it doesn’t, check the pressure switch for corrosion. Often unplugging it and then plugging it back in will fix the problem.
If none of these fixes help, you probably need a professional.
Hot Car Safety Tips:
This summer, remember that parked cars can quickly become dangerous for vulnerable passengers (like children, the elderly, and pets)—never leave them unattended in a vehicle on a summer day, even if it’s not sweltering, and even if it’s just for a minute.
And finally, always remember to avoid metal parts in a hot car, like the seatbelt buckles—and don’t let your kids touch the buckles, either!