It can be highly inconvenient if you have a malfunctioning A/C system in your car during the summer months. Problems with the air conditioning system can severely compromise your comfort while driving the car. Apart from that, fixing a car’s air conditioning can often be very costly.
If it’s some minor problem, you may get away with a low repair bill (around $100-150 range). However, if you have a blown compressor on your hand or a malfunctioning radiator, repair, and replacement costs can range between $600-$1,000 or more.
Now, the important thing is how to know that something is wrong with your car’s A/C system and whether you’ll need to pay out of pocket for any necessary repairs.
As for the latter, any damage to your A/C and subsequent repair is typically covered by your car’s original manufacturer’s warranty. Read the terms and conditions specified in the manufacturer’s warranty carefully. Know beforehand whether it will fix any A/C problems or if there are any restrictions.
Whatever the case, at any rate, your original car manufacturer’s warranty will expire in 3-4 years or around 30k miles, whichever comes first. What after that? This is where a vehicle protection plan can come to your rescue.
Most vehicle protection plans nowadays, like the ones at Red Shield Administration, include a car’s air conditioning among covered components. Your vehicle protection provider will foot the bill for repairs if something goes wrong with your car’s A/C. This should greatly relieve all vehicle owners with separate car coverage.
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Common Air Conditioning Problems and Related Symptoms
But how do you know whether or not everything is alright with your car’s A/C unit? Of course, if your A/C has stopped working or there’s a noticeable weaker airflow, you’ll know that you’ve got a repair on your hand.
Now, it’s essential in such cases that you take the car to a repair shop ASAP. It is not uncommon for drivers to simply roll down their windows when their cars’ A/C stops working, thus delaying the repair. However, by doing this, you often risk aggravating the problem.
This is all the more true when your A/C is still working but not working at optimum capacity (such as the weaker airflow mentioned above). In such cases, ignoring the problem may lead to a blown compressor or severe trouble with the radiator.
Also, it’s essential to know that even if your auto protection coverage includes the car’s A/C system, many such plans will have certain conditions in place for A/C unit repair. For example, specific A/C components will be covered only if the damage has resulted from the failure of a covered part.
This means that paying attention to a malfunctioning air conditioning unit at the earliest possible will forestall any possibility of a misunderstanding, claims denial, etc.
Some Common Symptoms and Telltale Signs of a Malfunctioning A/C
But how do you know something is possibly wrong with your A/C when it’s still working? Here are some common red flags to be aware of:
This is one of the common causes of your A/C unit not working at optimum condition. The leaks will often collect underneath your car, so be on the lookout for little puddles under your car that give off a sickly sweet smell and look greasy but thin.
Also, in case of a leak, you may hear a soft hissing sound coming from the A/C cabinet even when the car’s engine is turned off.
Smelly A/C and Weaker Airflow
If you recognize an unpleasant smell in your car whenever the A/C is turned on, you’ll know it’s time to replace your cabin air filter. A clogged filter may also lead to a weaker airflow.
However, take note that the latter may also result from a clogged evaporator core or a compromised evaporator seal or blower house. Take the car to your nearest repair facility once you recognize these symptoms and get it investigated.
Mildly Cold Air + Burning Smell
If you notice that the air coming out of your A/C unit is not cold enough, this is often accompanied by a slightly pungent, burning smell. These are indicators that something is seriously wrong with your air conditioning unit (a blown compressor, fried wires, etc.).
A/C Turns from Cold to Hot
If your A/C turns cold to hot, it can be caused by a damaged compressor clutch, a leak, or a blown fuse. Get your car checked out as soon as possible.
A leaking compressor issue can often be recognized through symptoms like visible stains on your mat caused by a leaking dashboard. However, the latter may also result from a malfunctioning radiator or a faulty heater core.
Note that A/C units in older cars tend to leak often, and the only remedy in such cases is to replace the unit immediately and in its entirety.
Red Shield Administration Protection Plans Help Fix All A/C Problems
Except for the most basic powertrain plan, all vehicle protection plans from Red Shield Administration cover all A/C components of your car. The administrator offers two stated-components programs: Red Shield Guard and Red Shield Essentials.
The latter are short-term contracts that cover your car’s most basic and essential components, including your A/C system. Then, there is the Red Shield exclusionary program called Red Shield Select.
All Red Shield Administration plans offer comprehensive coverage for your air conditioning/heating system, meaning that no matter the problem, you’ll never have to pay any repair bills for your A/C unit out-of-pocket.
Most vehicle service contract providers offer full coverage for your car’s air conditioning system only with their premier and deluxe exclusionary plans. In contrast, the stated-component plans will only provide partial coverage.
Typically, the latter will cover the evaporator, compressor, and condenser. In some cases, the receiver dryer/accumulator and the orifice tube, but only with the failure of a covered component.
However, that still leaves out a number of essential A/C components (pressure cycling switch, expansion valve, idler pulley, A/C lines and hoses, and many more). But with Red Shield Administration, you’ll have all your A/C components covered under each but the most basic and short-term essential plan.