Now that warm weather has arrived, you may be using the air conditioning in your vehicle a lot more than usual. If it seems like it is just barely getting cold, there may be some issues in need of repair. Because the air conditioning system of your vehicle is very complex, there are several factors that may be reducing the cold air output. Let’s discuss how to make your car A/C colder in greater detail, below.
#1: Climate Control Servos
One reason why your A/C may not be getting as cold as you’d like is stuck servos. Inside your dashboard, there is HVAC ventilation ductwork to transfer the outside air past your evaporator coils and into the cabin. This ductwork uses servo flaps that are connected to the climate control system. The servos are open and close to regulate how cold or hot the air is coming out of the vents.
As you turn the climate control temperature dial towards red or a higher temperature, the air should become progressively hotter. This is because it is pulling heat from the heater core that is connected to the engine. The heater core looks like a small aluminum finned radiator. If hot air is blowing out of your A/C even when it is relatively cool outside, this would indicate that the servos are malfunctioning.
#2: Old Refrigerant
Your A/C system depends on the liquid refrigerant dropping in temperature when it is atomized and turned into a gas. As your refrigerant gets older, it becomes contaminated and less effective at transforming into its gaseous state. This reduces the cooling effect. Having your A/C system evacuated and recharged is the single best way to resolve this problem.
However, if the system is very old, the problem may be due to excessive wear of the nozzle that atomizes the refrigerant. In this case, you must also change out the orifice tube or expansion valve to ensure that the aerosol-can-effect occurs. The same principle is at work when you use hairspray and feel the coldness of the liquid even though it was stored at room temperature.
#3: Clogged Cabin Filter
If you are simply having a problem with air flow, the problem may be due to a restriction in the air intake. The cabin air filter is usually located under the hood and just beneath the windshield of the passenger’s side. Replacing the filter is usually very straightforward. Check your owner’s manual to see whether you have a cabin filter or simply an intake duct.
You can also try closing the vents on the passenger side to direct all the air from the blower fan to port through vents nearby. This can effectively double the air intensity and may help you feel cooler even if there are other problems with the refrigerant degrading.
#4: A/C Compressor
An A/C compressor is like a simple engine with a piston that compresses the refrigerant gas to create pressure and circulate it effectively. Like all mechanical parts, the A/C compressor will eventually wear out. It will wear out faster as the refrigerant spoils and the nozzles become worn. In order to make your car A/C colder, you may have to replace the compressor and the receiver/dryer to start with a clean slate. You may also want to check the pulleys and the serpentine belt driving the A/C unit for indications of slippage that would reduce the output of the compressor.
#5: Low Refrigerant
Your refrigerant level may just be low due to a leak. Look for white residue on the black A/C hoses and unions. This white chalky residue indicates refrigerant leaks penetrating the micropores. You may have to replace the seals and hoses to retain a cold A/C system for years to come.