Generally, automotive air conditioning systems are fast, easy and inexpensive to repair if handled correctly with the right equipment or by a professional with the same. Most automotive air conditioning system problems are coolant-related, and may often be as simple as getting a coolant flush, refill or fixed leak. Do not be fooled by the “you can fix the leak yourself” cans available at your local Wal-Mart and Big Lots, you will more than likely destroy your compressor, do not use these products!
An air conditioner running low on Freon, on dirty coolant or on faulty electrical wiring can end up ruining the entire air conditioning compressor (much more expensive than a simple recharge or flush). An automotive air conditioning systems are connected to the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system, meaning a surge or problem with the air conditioner can cause problems with the rest of the car, causing poor idling, fuel inefficiencies or drained batteries, or much worse – prematurely spent alternator and serpentine belt.
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Noises that occur when your car’s AC is turned on can come from minor engine noises or hoses, but they could also be symptoms of problems with the compressor. If the problem is the AC compressor, it will likely have to be replaced. If you do not have the noise looked at and it turns out to be a faulty compressor, what could have been just a compressor replacement, can turn into a whole system replacement as pieces of the disintegrating compressor are spread throughout the entire automotive air conditioning system, if it is to completely come apart.
Having an automotive air conditioner system that works only part way may get by in a northern city with 3 months of hot weather, but faulty air conditioners can cause bigger damage to your car down the road if left unattended in an area with a full 8 months of truly hot weather.