Why is My Car Aircon Making a Noise

Australians see some of the world’s harshest summers. That means vehicle air conditioning is a big part of staying comfortable during the hotter months.

Just like other parts of your car, your air conditioning system will wear out during normal use. Regular servicing can extend the life of critical components and ensure you’re ready for any weather.

If it has been a while since your last service, or if your car is getting on in years, you might notice the aircon making a noise. In this article we’ll go over some of the common noises you might hear and what they could mean for your vehicle.

How Does Car Air Conditioning Work?

Car air conditioning works by circulating refrigerant gases through a series of pipes and coils in your vehicle. 

The system pulls in fresh air and passes it over these pipes. Refrigerant in the pipes absorbs excess heat and cools the air down. The air is then blown into the cabin through vents, and the heated refrigerant is pumped to the engine bay.

In the engine, the refrigerant is compressed and passed through the condenser. A condenser works similarly to the radiator. It’s used to dispose of excess heat from the refrigerant gas. Once it has been cooled down, the refrigerant is ready to begin its journey again!

Is Your Car Aircon Making a Noise?

Vehicle air conditioning can be complex. The system contains several moving parts that can fail. This often leads to your aircon making strange noises such as:

  • Gurgling. This may be caused by an air bubble in your coolant system. In some cases, gurgling noises can also be caused by the expansion valve, and it may be a sign that you need to have your refrigerant levels checked.
  • Clicking. Repetitive clicking noises often come from loose or failing components. One common culprit is the blend door actuator, which controls the temperature of the air in the car.
  • Knocking. Knocking noises are often caused by more serious problems, such as a failing blower motor. 
  • Whistling. Whistling is usually a sign of air flow problems in the vents. Shine a torch into each of the vents and look for debris that might have gotten stuck. If you can't see any obvious obstructions, you’ll need to have a professional technician diagnose the issue.
  • Squealing. Squealing is a sure sign that your air conditioning system needs attention. This is often caused by a problem with your engine belts or by the clutch in the AC compressor. You should book a service as soon as you notice squealing noises. Driving with a broken AC compressor can damage the engine.

Signs it’s Time to Have Your Car Air Conditioning Serviced

Strange noises aren’t the only thing that can go wrong with your car’s air conditioning. You should book a professional service if you notice any of the following problems:

  • Aircon is no longer cold. If your air conditioner only blows warm air, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Aircon that’s blowing warm air can be caused by leaking refrigerant, a blocked or broken condenser, electrical issues or problems with the AC compressor.
  • Aircon starts cold and then warms up. Similarly, if your aircon starts out working properly, but the air warms up the longer it runs, this is a sign of an AC leak. If the aircon cycles between cold and warm air, it’s probably a sign that the expansion valve is blocked.
  • Weak air flow. Your air conditioner blows air into the car through a series of vents. Weak air flow may be caused by a failing blower fan, leaks in the air vents or a blocked cabin filter. Most of these problems can be fixed relatively easily by a technician.
  • Bad or unusual smells coming from the vents. Air conditioners pull small amounts of water from the air as condensation. Moisture can build up in the vents and cabin air filter, causing musty or mouldy smells. This can usually be fixed by replacing filters and flushing the vents.

Get Ready for Summer with an Air Conditioning Service by AAEAC!

Car air conditioning is based on simple principles, but it contains a few complex components that wear out over time. Repairing minor faults is more cost-effective than replacing major components, so the team at AAEAC recommends having your system serviced every 1-2 years.

Access Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning (AAEAC) are experts in all things auto electrics and offer car air conditioning service Brisbane wide. Our workshop is based in Brisbane, and we service cars, 4WDs and light commercial vehicles from all over the city.

With one of the world’s hottest climates, Brisbane drivers rely on their AC systems, so it’s important to get your vehicle ready for summer. If you’ve noticed any of the issues we discussed above, or if it’s time to have your system checked by a professional, book an appointment today! We also offer other services such as dual battery installation, starter motor repairs and smart start interlock service

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