How to Maintain and Inspect your AC System During the Summer Months

It is important to get your air conditioner checked for leaks and recharged to ensure optimal performance during the Hot Summer Months.  One thing that No One wants to happen is for your Air Conditioner to Stop Working, especially, on a very Hot Summer Day.  With step-by-step instructions, you can Do-it-Yourself.  If it seems too hard to tackle, then you may want to take your vehicle in to a Reliable Repair Shop.  This article will give you the knowledge of what the repair shop needs to inspect.  If you could pin point the problem yourself, you could save yourself money when visiting the repair shop.

Your Personal Mechanic should be able to check this out for you at little to no cost.  Service may be required after inspection.

Warning:Be very cautious when inspecting and repairing your vehicle Air Conditioner yourself.  You should wear eye protection and take great precautionary measures.  Air Conditioner systems contain high pressure gas that when released can cause personal injury.  Use all safety precautions.  The Refrigerant for Air Conditioners is very harmful and can cause damage to your skin and eyes.  This Refrigerant is Freon.  Read all directions and follow instructions very carefully.  This is for your safety.

If you are having problems with your air conditioner and it is blowing hot air there are several things that you need to inspect.  A basic Air Conditioner Gauge and Test light is needed to help diagnose most air conditioner problems.

This is an illustration of how your Automobile Air Conditioning System Works


Check Drive Belts.

The Drive Belt is what the Air Conditioner uses to supply the power to rotate the compressor (a refrigerant pump).  If the belt fails the compressor has nothing to drive it.   Inspect and replace the Drive Belt as needed to restore the operation of your air conditioner.  If the Drive Belt is intact, then proceed to the next step.

Drive Belt


Check the Compressor Clutch.

To check the Compressor Clutch, your will need to turn the air conditioner on.  Set the air conditioner to the coldest position.

Start your vehicle and let it just idle.

Find the compressor that is under your hood.  The clutch is at the front of the compressor.  Make sure that it is turning.  If it is turning then you have enough refrigerant.  If it is not turning, then you could be low on refrigerant.  It could result in the Compressor to cycle “on and off”.  It will also be making a ticking noise.

If the Compressor Clutch is not turning, you will need to check for Refrigerant Leaks.  Another problem may be a blown fuse or a wiring problem.

If you are going to try to tackle this repair by yourself, you will need to purchase an “Air Conditioner Recharge Kit”.

Compressor Clutch



Inspect hoses for leaks.

The most common cause of an automotive Air Conditioner not working properly is from “little to no Refrigerant”.  Therefore, there must be a leak somewhere.  These leaks will need to be identified and repaired before the Air Conditioner can be recharged.

Leaks can be easy to find.  The leaks leave behind a residue from being wet around the leak.  This residue will be sticky with Freon oil and dust.



The most common cause of a Refrigerant Leak is due to an O-Ring.  Check the O-Rings first.  O-Rings are very inexpensive to replace.  Sometimes they just need to be tightened.

An O-Ring is located at every connection from the different components to the hoses.  The O-Rings can become loose during vehicle operation.  Check the O-Rings for loose connections.  If they are loose then, just tighten.  Check for wear and tear of the O-Rings and replace the O-Ring if necessary.  These O-Ring issues will cause the Refrigerant (Freon) to leak out.

A lot of parts stores are selling stop leak chemicals for Air Conditioning Systems.  I recommend Not using these products because, they cause problems with the refrigerant recovery machines.  A lot of repair shops will not service your Air Conditioning System if the use of stop leak is detected.  Using stop leak also causes the cost of servicing your Air Conditioning System to go up.



Inspect the cooling fan operation.

Electric cooling fans come on when the Air Conditioner is turned on.  If the fan is not working, the efficiency of your A/C system will be affected.  This may cause your A/C to not work at all.

The Electric Cooling Fan/Fans are normally located on the radiator.

Vehicles with out Electric Cooling Fans use a Thermal Activated Fan Clutch which pulls air through the condenser just like an Electric Cooling Fan.  The Fan Clutch should be inspected as well.

The Thermal Activated Fan Clutch is located on the Fan Blade Assembly.  It is in between the radiator and the engine.

Cooling Fan and Cooling System


Check the radiator and condenser for obstructions and debris.

Any debris that prevents air flowing through the condenser and radiator will cause the Air Conditioning System to perform poorly.

A garden hose with low water pressure will often clear the debris.  The vehicle must be turned off at this time.

Radiator and Condenser


Check operating pressures of the system.

This must be done by a professional.  The professional should have all gauges and training required.  The system operates under High Pressure and should only be serviced by a professional.  Attempting to add refrigerant to your own A/C System is not recommended.

Remember:  Just because your A/C is not blowing cold air, does not always mean that it is low on refrigerant.

Check the outlet temperature of the vents from inside the vehicle.

You should feel cool air coming out of the vents.  The temperature depends on ambient temperature and humidity.  If the temperature does not seem cool enough have the A/C System inspected.

Check operation of the control unit of the Blend Door.

The Blend Door is usually located under the dash on the evaporator unit.  Its purpose is to close off Hot Air and close off Cold Air or blend the two together.  Some vehicles have problems with the Blend Doors or the devices that operate them.

With the vehicle on and at operating temperature, move the temperature control to hot.  You should feel a significant change in the heat coming out of the vent.

Then turn the vehicle temperature to cold with the A/C on and the temperature should change to cold.  If this does not work well for you, then take it to a professional for inspection.

Look for other things that can go wrong:   bad switches, bad fuses, broken wires, broken fan belt (preventing the pump from turning), or seal failure inside the compressor.

These are things also to be performed by a professional.

WARNING!   Before any air conditioner repair work can be performed, the system must be evacuated of all refrigerant.  If you do not evacuate the entire refrigerant, personal injury can occur.  It is under High Pressure!

Servicing The Air Conditioning System should be performed by a professional.  The gases used should not be leaked in to the atmosphere.  Specialized equipment is used by the professionals to capture the refrigerant.

As you can see, the Air Conditioning System can be very complicated and cost a lot of money for repairs.

There is a way for you to Do-it-Yourself. You can repair or at least maintain your vehicle yourself and save yourself a lot of money. You can find the right Do-it-Yourself Repair and Maintenance Manual for your particular vehicle by clicking the link below.

Do-it-Yourself Repair and Maintenance Manual

Thank you  for visiting my blog. If I can be of any service to you, please contact me by email or by leaving a comment on my blog. We can communicate by phone if needed.

I am honored to serve you and all of your Automotive Needs.

Ken Snoeberger


XpectMore Automotive

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2 thoughts on “How to Maintain and Inspect your AC System During the Summer Months”

  1. What if all a/c components are operating normally, but no air is blowing out of the vents.
    What could be the possible causes?

    1. Hi Charlie,

      Thank you for visiting my website. Regarding your issue; Please give me a call. Come by my shop for a Free Estimate and Free Diagnosis.
      220 Enterprise Road Northeast #5 Rio Rancho, NM 87124
      (505) 228-1527

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