How to Spot a Bad Car’s AC Condenser?

September 24, 2019

The air conditioning system of a car comprises of many important components. Air condenser being one of them, it is important to know how it works and how to spot one bad condenser. We will share all the details, if you keep reading.

What is an AC Condenser?

Air condenser is one of the most vital components of an air conditioning system. The thing that makes it special is its function to convert refrigerant from gas into liquid. In its absence or not being able to work properly, it will not perform its function properly, hence there will be no cool air produced. Instead, you will have warm air coming out of the air vents. With time, the car will start to overheat, burning smell will spread everywhere, and once that happens, you should know that your car needs a new condenser. 

How to Know That Your Car’s AC Condenser is Failing?

1. Reduced Cooling

Reduced cooling is the first sign of something going wrong with the air conditioner. Since the condenser is the only component that converts high-pressure refrigerant into high-pressure liquid, your first guest should be the condenser. If the condenser has become damaged in anyway, it will influence the flow of the refrigerant. Ultimately resulting in the entire air conditioning system in performing less efficiently. The restriction of the refrigerant will cause less amount of cool air to be produced. 

2. Leaks

A sign that is more noticeable would be that of a leak. With time due to age or damage caused by something, the condenser can result in leaking. When a condenser leaks, all of the high-pressure refrigerant eventually leaks out, causing the AC system to not work at all. Since the condenser is one piece, you will need to get it replaced. If you are still in doubt, get it inspected by a professional to be double sure.

3. Hot Engine

A fan helps keep the air conditioner condenser cooled down. If it were to mal-function, it would cause both the engine and the air conditioning system to overheat. You shall experience this when the car is in idle and is not moving. Once you start moving, the airflow will increase and the temperature will come down. Unless your car has been sitting idle for quite a while, you should not experience your engine overheating. The temperature gauge is going to show that it is catching heat the longer the car remains idle.

4. Burning Odor

Another sign of a bad condenser is burning odor. The heat generated from a bad air condenser will find its way into the cabin through the air vents and would be the least comfortable. Until you get the air conditioner condenser fixed, you should turn the air conditioning off.

5. Not Cold Enough Air

In many cases when an air condenser is about to go bad, it will not produce cold enough air. If you happen to observe that the air is not that cool as it was before, then you might want to be pointing your finger towards the condenser. It will stop working eventually and summers are not going to bless you anyways, therefore a replacement will be a necessity.


Look for the mentioned signs to know your air conditioner condenser is failing and that it’s time to get the services of a mechanic.

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