Warm Air In Your Vehicle's Cabin? Why You Should Suspect The Condenser

When you turn the A/C on full for instant relief and get nothing but warm air, you will be less than happy. Yet this is exactly what may happen if you have problems with the condenser unit fitted to the front of the vehicle. So, what do you need to know about this part, how it works, what causes it to fail and what you should do next?

How The Condenser Removes Warm Air

An automotive air conditioning system relies on a complex process, during which refrigerant is converted from a liquid into a gas and back again. Part of this process relies on pressure differentials, but it also relies on a component to dissipate heat along the way.

When the refrigerant arrives at the condenser, it is in a highly pressurised state and is forced through the narrow fins and tubes of the condenser unit while outside air flows across. As the air flows, it removes the heat, which causes the gas to condense into a liquid. This cooler liquid then moves on to the receiver/dryer, the orifice tube and the evaporator before any of that cooler air arrives in your cabin.

If the condenser is not doing its job, nothing else will work, and you may just get a lukewarm gust of air in your face or, worse still, nothing at all.

Causes Of A Condenser Blockage

It's possible that the condenser is blocked due to debris that may flow along with the refrigerant or tiny metal fragments that can accumulate over time. Also, moisture may sometimes seep into the system if any of the seals are leaking. When this happens, ice crystals could form, and they could also block those narrow fins or tubes within the condenser.

Other Signs Of A Problem

While warm air in the cabin may be one tell-tale sign, this may also be accompanied by a burning smell. After all, if the system cannot release any of that heat that has built up, this could lead to rising temperatures, and certain components may burn. Further, you may notice a lot of coolant on the floor underneath your car, as the highly pressurised refrigerant exploits any worn seals or other vulnerabilities.

What To Do Next

So, if you'd rather have cooler air in your cabin, you need to get your condenser fixed as soon as possible. Always take this job to an auto air conditioning repair mechanic, as it is not something that weekend enthusiasts can typically handle.