Feeling the Heat: If a Car’s AC isn’t Working in the Summertime | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Feeling the Heat: If a Car’s AC isn’t Working in the Summertime

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If the AC in your car isn’t working, the ride can be extremely uncomfortable. If you don’t want to take summer road trips in a hot car, we can help. We will check for leaks and loose belts and hoses, any potential issue. Without temperature control, a thirty minute ride can seem like forever!  Here’s how we’ll get you back on the road with cool, summer-proof air. 

Understanding Your Car’s HVAC System

Without the modern heating and air conditioning systems in today’s cars, driving in the heat of the summer or the heart of winter would be miserable. Here’s how those systems work to keep us comfortable on our drives no matter the weather outside: 

The Heater 

In your car, the heater is a smaller version of your cooling systems radiator. Hot engine coolant is circulated through a small radiator. Hot engine coolant is circulated through a small radiator, often called a heater core. A fan is positioned in front of the heater core to blow cold outside air over the fins. As this air travels across the heater core, it heats up and becomes the hot air you feel coming out of your vents, keeping you warm in the winter.

The Air Conditioner

The cooling system in your car is made up of a compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. Refrigerant, also known as freon, is compressed in the compressor and turns into a hot gas. In the condenser, the hot gas is cooled to a liquid state and travels to the expansion valve. As the refrigerant goes through that valve, it returns to a low-pressure gas and rapidly cools in the evaporator. A fan blows over the evaporator and cools the air that comes out of your vents. 

Now that we’re in the summer months, it’s important that your car’s AC is working to keep you comfortable. There are a number of problems that could be causing your AC to malfunction, which is why you should bring your car in if the AC isn’t working. 

Common Cooling System Problems

Car Gurus states that with its fan at full blast, an AC system that is working properly should be able to cool the air in your car by at least 40 degrees. If you’re noticing a lack of cold air coming from the dashboard vents, your air conditioner is probably malfunctioning. In a broken system, the airflow may fluctuate from hot to cool before becoming hot again.

There are some notable players within your car’s cooling system, all of which can cause problems if not working properly. Here are the main components and what problems they can have:


This component does more than just ward off freezing conditions. It also consists of anti-boil and anti-corrosive elements, passing from the cooling system to the radiator and engine to ensure everything remains within a safe temperature range. Your antifreeze should be changed every two years or 24,000 miles. If your antifreeze is old, we can change it and check for leaks or cracks that indicate a part needing replacement or repair to avoid bigger issues later on. 

Cooling Fan

The cooling fan in your car moves through the radiator and disperses heat from the engine to the exterior. Our team can check the fan belt for proper tension and repair or replace the fan if necessary. 

Coolant Reservoir

The coolant reservoir lets you know how much coolant is currently in your system. When you get an oil change, we will check these levels just to be safe.

Pressure Cap

The pressure cap, located on either the radiator or coolant reservoir, needs to be inspected each year. If the cap is removed before the engine and contained fluids have had sufficient time to cool, the coolant can spray and cause burns, which is why it should only be removed by someone properly trained. 


The thermostat monitors temperature and adjusts the flow of coolant as needed. If your thermostat isn’t functioning properly, many problems could result. 

Have Scott’s Check Your HVAC

Your HVAC system is vital to the comfort of your ride. Here at Scott’s we will check for leaks, loose belts and hoses, and other potential issues. Stop by and let us make sure your car’s AC will work properly for you the rest of the summer and beyond! Drop in or call to let us know you’re coming by one of our two convenient locations. Fort Collins: (970)-682-4202 or Loveland: (970)-541-4404.

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