Car Air Conditioning Repair

Keeping your vehicle cool when the weather warms up.

Signs of Air Conditioner Problems

On a hot summer day, the last thing you want to feel is warm air blowing through your vehicle’s air conditioning unit. Aging vehicles and cars that frequently drive over salted roads are most at risk for air conditioner breakdowns. While the air conditioner blowing warm air instead of cold air is the most common, obvious issue, there are other signs to look out for. 

  • Leaking fluid from the air conditioning system
  • Squealing or chattering when you turn the AC on or off 
  • Strange smells 
  • Or it’s just been several years since you last had it checked (preventative maintenance service)

Each of these symptoms signals different potential issues with your air conditioning unit.

Air Conditioner is Leaking Fluid

Where it Shows Up: Leaking inside the cabin on the or leaking puddle under the vehicle. 

Your air conditioner could be leaking fluid for a number of reasons. Anything from dirty air filters to disconnected drain pipes can cause your air conditioner to leak fluid. Low refrigerant can also cause leaks and will prevent your air conditioner from blowing cold air. 

Air Conditioner Makes a Squealing Sound When I Turn it On

Squealing or clanking when you turn your AC unit on or off usually indicates a serpentine belt problem. While serpentine belts don’t need to be replaced often, they will eventually need to be switched out between the 50,000 and 100,000 mile mark. 

Other weird sounds can also come from a car air conditioner that’s breaking down: loose bolts, catalytic converter issues, and other problems can cause rattling, buzzing, and clunking sounds when you run your AC. 

The Biggest Sound Concern

If your refrigerant gets into your AC compressor intake, it can cause complete compressor failure. Buzzing is the most common description of the sound you hear when this problem occurs. A quick fix is extremely important in preventing compressor failure. 

The Air Conditioner Smells Strange 

If strange smells accompany the cool air when you turn on your vehicle’s AC, something is wrong. There are several possible causes. The first thing to check is what’s inside your car cabin.  A dirty cabin air filter (just like a furnace filter at home, most cars have them now) Or hidden food wrappers and leftovers, cigarette butts, and other bad-smelling items could be contributing to the bad smells coming from your air conditioning unit. In fact, the smell of cigarette smoke is especially hard to get rid of as the particles linger in the unit and are continuously recirculated through the cabin. 

If you’ve inspected your vehicle’s cabin and made sure there are no hidden smelly objects inside, it’s time to suspect the AC unit itself. 


There are three major culprits for strange smelling inside your car. 

  • Gas Leak or coolant leak
  • Dirty Filters or Drain Tubes 
  • Musty smell can be caused by several things

Coolant has a sweet or even fruity scent. If your cooling system has a leak, antifreeze may be getting into the interior of your vehicle, which can cause corrosion and other problems. 

Gas Leaks within your vehicle create a gasoline scent in the cabin. A gas leak inside your vehicle causes the AC unit to pick up and circulate fuel fumes. Breathing in gas fumes is a health hazard, so scheduling a repair service quickly is important. 

dirty car cabin filer

Dirty Filters or Drain Tubes can cause bad smells to blow through your AC. Because air conditioning units are wet, they can build up mold and mildew over time. Similarly, dirty cabin filters can collect dust, grime, and bacteria that lead to a bad smelling car. 

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Car’s Air Conditioner?

Air conditioning systems in vehicles have many parts. As you can see, each potential problem with an AC unit involves different pieces of your vehicle. While swapping a cabin air filter is less than $100, fixing a leak can be much more difficult and costly to repair. Preventative maintenance is always cheaper than a neglected system. So just like your heating & air conditioning system at home, a car's heating and air conditioning system need to be checked at those similar intervals too.

Air Conditioning Repairs at TMT Automotive 

When you bring your vehicle to TMT automotive, we begin our work with an in-depth inspection that will diagnose the issue. Then, you can decide how you want to proceed with repairs. Our flexible financing options make more costly fixes possible so you can keep cool, and safe, on the road. Book your appointment at TMT for a comprehensive car care solution.