AC is important for promoting good driving conditions. However, these systems are not perfect and are prone to failure. Take a look at Common Jeep Air conditioning Problems for further insight on the topic.
Of all the problems a vehicle can have, Air conditioning failure is among the worst. This component is especially important for off-road vehicles like Jeeps.
When drivers understand how the AC works and issues associated with air conditioning systems, identifying AC problems and solving them becomes easier. We are going to discuss some of the most common issues with Jeep AC systems. Read on for more.
How the AC on your car works
Before we can get into identifying a failing air conditioning and what could cause this failure, it is important that you understand how the system works.
AC in your car cools the air by removing the hot air and moisture thereby making the cars environment more suitable for the driver. Systems’ operation is dependent on a refrigerant which must effectively change properties when subjected to different physical changes like pressure.
We can summarize the two major functions of your AC as: reducing the moisture content inside the car and cooling the air entering through the passenger compartment
Let’s talk major AC parts
Your air conditioning works by applying some principles of thermodynamics and physics including evaporation and condensation, followed by cooling and expansion. Instead of boring you with the science behind it all, we will explain these principles in conjunction with the parts that also allow the air conditioning system to actually work.
This is the belt driven pump attached to the engine that acts as the processor of the entire system. It has a magnetic clutch at the front whose role is to activate the compressor as soon as it receives power.
It pumps refrigerant (the stuff responsible for cooling the hot air) in gaseous state to the condenser in a loop. The compressor sucks low pressure gas from the evaporator and accumulator (suction side), compresses it to a high pressure nature and sends it to the compressor (discharge side).
This is where the refrigerant gas changes to a liquid form. The condenser receives high pressure refrigerant gas from the discharge/ compressor side.
Also known as the thermal expansion valve, this component is responsible for depressurizing the refrigerant liquid back to a gas. These parts coordinate to maintain the correct pressure and temperature of your system calculating the right amount of refrigerant that can circulate the system. Cars that use a receiver drier rely on the thermal expansion valve while those with an orifice tube utilize and accumulator.
Receiver drier or Accumulator
Both these components have a desiccant material that takes up moisture from the air, the second function of the AC system in your car.
This is the part located right behind the dash board. It is the job of your evaporator to deliver cold air to the passenger compartment.
What you need to know about refrigerant
This refrigerant we’ve been speaking about us commonly known as Freon. Also known as R1334 , Freon is widely used in many vehicles. However older models used the refrigerant that was eliminated from use in the AC systems because of its highly polluting nature.
TIP: If you own a Jeep older than 1992 models, it is often advisable to see a pro when you experience AC issues. This is because older cars use a refrigerant no longer available to the public.
Common issues with your Jeep’s Air Conditioning System- Jeep air conditioning problems
A properly functioning AC is essential especially for those summer time road trips or while on a desert tour. Here are some of the most common problems Jeep owners experience with their AC systems.
A note on Leaks
Before we discuss some of the problems that you might experience firsthand with you Jeep AC, it is important to take note of leaks and how they affect your AC. Leaks are the number one issue with AC across the board. When there is a leak in the system, you begin to experience all sorts of AC problems. Other factors including wear and tear similarly play a role in triggering issues with your Jeep AC.
Dangers of refrigerant leaks
Apart from making your AC system work harder, and increasing your energy bills, refrigerant may affect the air quality and harm your health or the environment. If you suspect any leaks from your AC system, you must have it checked and remedied immediately. Some of the ways professionals use to check for leaks include: Dye testing, Electronic detection, and Nitrogen detection bubbling.
A loud or noisy AC
While you may consider this an issue with some Jeep AC systems, some Jeeps have very loud cooling fans which can be considered ‘normal’. We included this as a common issue because a noisy AC cannot be excused for every model.
The HVAC system on the JL, for example, is louder than the one on the JK. HOWEVER, there are instances when you might hear strange noises e.g. hissing sounds coming from your system. This is indicative of a problem and should be cause for worry.
Air is blowing but it isn’t cold
Nothing is more frustrating than turning on your AC and you meet a blast of warm air. Apart from annoying hot driving conditions, an AC system blowing warm air could mean safety issues. Here are some of the instances that you might be experiencing an issue with your AC blowing warm air.
First you might turn on the AC and meet a warm blast of air. Sure it takes some time for the air I your car to get cold, but there will be some instances when the AC blasts warm air into your cabin. This might mean you need a system recharge.
There are many instances when you might think the AC system is working but then you notice the air gradually getting warmer. Some of the reasons for this may be; LEAKS, a clogged expansion valve, a blown fuse that prevents power from reaching certain parts or even Faulty compressor clutch.
Lastly, the air from your AC might not be as warm as it used to be sometimes the air from your AC might not be exactly warm, but it isn’t as cold as it once was.
Most times, clogging, damage to some of the components or even failed parts or fuses lead to decline in the coldness of the air.
Strange odor coming from your AC
As a rule of thumb, weird smells are never a good sign for car parts. A dirty or old carbon filter and a moldy evaporator case are among the most common reasons for this smell issue. In addition to issues with your vents, residual mold and mildew grow from excess moisture might inhibit air from the system and cause a weak air flow.
Some common causes of AC system failure
As we mentioned, leaking refrigerant is among one of the biggest culprit when it comes to AC system failure. These leaks can occur anywhere in the components and often lead to many issues, some which we mentioned above. It is important that Jeep owners learn to check for leak if they suspect an issue with it.
Damaged or worn parts are also a major concern as they influence how well your AC system will function. In fact, wear and tear is number two on the list of culprits when it comes to issues with the AC.
Lastly, it is essential that the electrical components work safely and normally so that the entire system can coordinate properly. Otherwise, error with the electrical system will trigger the AC system to shut down in order prevent improper function, damage or unsafe conditions for operation.
Troubleshooting AC on a Jeep wrangler
A slipping belt and issues with refrigerant levels are quite common with Jeep wrangler AC systems. Because the compressor runs using a belt or pulley system, it is prone to malfunction due to belt related failures. Here is a step by step to help you troubleshoot your Jeep AC.
Fist, open the hood to inspect the inside of your jeep. The accessory belt of the Jeep wrangler is found at the front of the engine. Wranglers often have a sizable compressor easily noticeable on the driver’s side of the engine bay.
The belt is on the side of the compressor. What you’re looking for are signs of wear or tear that may be cause for this malfunction. Damage is often responsible for slipping on the compressor
Turn on the engine and then turn the AC to the coldest setting
Proceed to turn on the fan speed to the fastest setting
If you do not feel any cold air coming from our vents, then you might have low levels of refrigerant in your AC system.
Minor problems like low refrigerant levels often call for a recharge. However major issues like leaks and damage usually require a replacement.
As much as we love the Jeep, it is not perfect. Like all vehicles, you may experience issues with your AC here and there. Most of the time, these issues are due to leaks within the systems or damages due to wear and tear.