Diagnosing a Broken Car AC

Summer is here, and if there’s something Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach residents will appreciate, it’s a working car air conditioner. No one wants an impromptu sauna, especially if they’re on their way to work or have a million other stressful things to deal with that day.

To help you keep your cool by staying cool, here are some factors you can look at while trying to diagnose your car’s broken AC system:

No Air Flow or Inconsistent Air Flow

Your first step to diagnosing the problem is to rule out scenarios based on what the AC can and can’t do. As any good experimenter knows, playing with one variable at a time can tell you a lot, even if all you find out is that part of the system works fine.

The prime concern in determining just how bad off your AC system could be is to see if it still blows air. With your car running, turn the AC on full blast with only the center vents opened. Then open side vents to move the air around. Try changing to the feet setting and defrost settings, too.

If you can’t get air out of any of your vents:

  • Your electrical system may be bad. Try changing out the fuses. You may also have a faulty relay switch, which isn’t difficult to replace.
  • Your blower motor is broken and needs to be replaced.

If air is coming out of certain vents but not others:

  • Your dividers that separate the vents may have fallen out of place and are blocking airflow. These are called mode doors. Getting to them often requires taking your dash apart.

If air is flowing but weakly:

  • You could have a clog in the lines or your air filter is dirty. Check for a moldy or garbage-like smell. You can clean your interior air filter yourself (check your owner’s manual to find it), but you’ll likely need a mechanic to clear out any clogs deep inside the system.
  • Air that starts off strong and cold but then gets weaker and warm could mean an icing problem. Give your system time to defrost, but realize that icing usually means low coolant.

Only Warm Air Blows

If the air seems to be coming out of the right vents but it stays hot no matter what, you have a problem with the refrigerant cycle in your AC.

  • Check to see if your blower motor clicks on. You can actually hear it in some cars a second or so after the AC is turned on. If it doesn’t come on, you probably have an electrical problem.
  • Your compressor or your condenser may have issues. Wait for your engine to cool then open the hood and remove any debris from between the front grille of your car and the condenser, which is a series of coils right next to the radiator. Make sure your vehicle has enough coolant. If it does but the AC still won’t work, see a mechanic.
  • Your refrigerant may have leaked out. See a mechanic who can identify the leak and recharge your coolant lines.

You Get Cold Air, But You Hear Strange Noises or the System Acts Up

  • You may have an icing problem as indicated above.
  • You could have debris in your vent or stuck in your compressor motor.
  • You could have a blockage that only moves around when the air blows through.
  • Your electrical system could have shorts that come and go as the vehicle runs for a while. This is likely the problem if other systems, such as the radio, tend to go haywire on occasion.
  • Your compressor belt could be on its way out and needs replacement.

Even if you’re certain you’ve found the cause of the problem, unless it’s something like a blown fuse or a dirty filter, you likely won’t be able to address it on your own. Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach Ford owners should head to their nearest Ford dealership and have their car looked at. That way they can enjoy the sunny summer weather without praying for an ocean breeze to waft by every few seconds.

Visit Norm Reeves Ford Superstore’s service department page to book an appointment and quickly get your AC running again before your sanity reaches its boiling point.

How to Keep your Car from Overheating

When your Ford starts to run hot, it’s difficult not to panic. You watch the temperature gauge rise above the normal range and hit dangerous levels, prompting you to pull your vehicle to the side of the road. As you lift the hood, steam immediately rises from the mechanics. Overheating can leave you stranded, cause damage to your engine, or even cause your vehicle to catch on fire.

Every year, hundreds of drivers in Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach quickly find themselves in an emergency because they’re unaware of the warning signs of a car running hot. Keeping yourself safe and ensuring that your car isn’t damaged is simple if you know how to keep your car from overheating.

Check Coolant Levels

The coolant in your radiator is the first line of defense against your Ford reaching dangerous temperature levels. Coolant works by circulating through the engine and radiator, keeping the mechanics from overheating.

If the coolant is old, the level is low, or there’s a leak in the system, your Ford may begin to overheat. You can prevent this problem by popping the hood and checking the coolant levels in your vehicle every three to four months.

Check Hoses

The hoses that transfer the coolant through your engine compartment may become hard, brittle, or develop leaks over time, which can cause your Ford to overheat. When you perform regular maintenance on your vehicle, be sure to observe all of the hoses and assess their condition. If you notice they’re damaged, immediately bring your vehicle to your local mechanic so they can be replaced.

Check the Cooling Fan

Many Fords have a cooling fan that helps to keep the radiator from overheating. If the switch of this fan is damaged or the fan breaks, your vehicle may begin to overheat. The belt that makes the cooling fan work can break or slip off, which will result in the failure of the fan to cool the radiator. If you believe that your cooling fan has stopped working, have it checked out by a professional.

Watch the Temperature

Pay attention to the gauge on your dashboard that monitors the temperature of your vehicle. As soon as you notice that the needle rises above the normal temperature, pull over. Always let your car cool down before checking for a problem. Trying to open the lid to the radiator or handle hot engine parts could result in serious injuries.

Regular Maintenance

The best way to mitigate against an overheating issue in your Ford is to have the vehicle regularly serviced by a professional mechanic. Your local Ford service center will evaluate your vehicle, including the coolant system, and ensure that it’s in top running condition.

Ford owners in Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach trust Norm Reeves Ford Superstore to complete all of their vehicle maintenance needs. If your car is having an overheating issue or you would like your coolant system to be assessed by a professional mechanic, visit our service page and schedule your appointment today.

Why is My Car Drifting and Pulling?

When your car pulls or drifts to one side, it can be both annoying and downright dangerous. But why did this start happening? Your car didn’t always steer to the left, so why is it doing it now?

The truth is, there are dozens of reasons your car could be pulling to the side. It may even be as simple as driving on poorly engineered roads – which isn’t completely unheard of in the Downey, Long Beach, and Los Angeles area.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the other machine-related issues that can cause your car to start drifting or pulling.

First, we need to decide what kind of pull it is. Is it a steady pull, memory steer, steering wander, or bump steer?

Steady Pull

When your car suffers from pulling, you most likely experience a steady pull to one side despite steering the vehicle straight. To go straight, you probably have to apply a steady amount of pressure on the steering wheel to compensate for the pull.

This type of pull is by far the most common and has a variety of causes. For example, it could be due to a problem with your braking system. A sticking caliper or too much fluid in the master cylinder would cause the caliper to push against the wheel and cause drag. Or it could be caused by unevenly worn tires, low air pressure, unbalanced power assist, or a multitude of other complications.

Memory Steer

When you loosen your grip on a properly working steering wheel, it should gravitate to the center position. Memory steer, however, is when the wheel returns to a position other than center. This could be a sign of an alignment problem or some other issue involving the tie rod.

The tie rod – in case you were curious – is an integral part of your car’s steering system. It ties the steering rack to the steering arm, which is attached to the wheel. They play a key role in moving the wheels when steering and turning.

Steering Wander

Similar to a steady pull, steering wander is when your vehicle strays to the side, but instead of just one side, it seems to wander back and forth. This may be a result of extremely low tire pressure, loose or poorly adjusted wheel bearings, or loose and worn steering components.

Again, the tie rod could be to blame and should be properly inspected by a professional.

Bump Steer

This type of pull refers to when you experience a sudden jerk or pull after going over a bump. This condition isn’t nearly as common as, say, a steady pull, but it does still happen.

Common causes of bump steer are bent steering arms, an unleveled steering rack, and structural damage such as a twisted frame or engine cradle.

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to schedule a service appointment and have your car properly inspected by an automotive technician so an accurate diagnosis can be made.

At Norm Reeves Ford, we serve the entire Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach area with reliable automotive services. Visit our Ford service department page now to learn more about our service technicians and service details.

Tips for Finding a Reliable Service Center near Los Angeles

Finding a Reliable Service CenterSo your car is making a weird noise and you’re looking for a reliable service center near your Los Angeles home to get it checked out. This is perfectly logical, but be sure to get it checked out soon because it could become a major headache if you don’t! Here are some tips to find the perfect service center.

• Get to know their experience. Look for a service department that has qualified staff. While it’s great to see a place that has apprentices, it’s even better when they’re being taught by highly trained and highly experienced service technicians. So when it’s time to get your vehicle serviced, ask the service center about the experience of the service technicians.

• Discover the benefits of shopping with them. Plenty of places offer free coffee when you walk in. But how many places offer a free inspection, warning light diagnostic check, or night service? These are just some of the benefits of shopping at a high-end service center. And these are the kinds of benefits you want to keep an eye out for.

• Check out the services they offer. Even if you just need an oil change right now, chances are you’re going to need much more in the future. Honda vehicles are reliable, but like any one on the road, they need regular maintenance to keep them on track. Check to see what other services the center offers so you know what you can rely on them for in the future.

• Make sure they’re convenient for you. Some places offer quick service that really seems to take forever in the end. But you want a service center that has convenient hours, night service, true express service, and plenty of freebies. While these may not seem important for just an oil change, you want to find a service center that respects your time and won’t waste it, even on a regular, quick service.

• Find out what kind of experience they offer for you. When you’re searching for a service center, you’re not just looking for a one-time experience. You’re starting a professional relationship with people you can hopefully trust for a long time. So it’s important that you get an A+ experience every time you show up. After all, why would you come back if the service was anything but excellent? Check out reviews and ask around and then try someplace new. But once you find a great place, keep going back! Loyal customers are happy customers.

Service Center Los Angeles

Norm Reeves Honda Superstore offers all of these benefits and more. Just check out our 10 Reasons to Service Your Honda at Norm Reeves Honda Superstore to see them all in one place.

On top of offering a world-class service center, we also offer friendly, knowledgeable, happy-to-help staff. These benefits are important to our customers, and as a local business, they’re also important to us. Stop by our service center today to experience all that Norm Reeves Honda Superstore’s Service Center has to offer you and your vehicle.