How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in Dodge Carsby Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017
The air conditioning in your Dodge car cools the cabin when it is hot outside. The AC system uses a compressor to compress a refrigerant and then pushes that cold air into the passenger cabin with a fan. When this system breaks you may need to replace your air conditioning components. However, before you do that, troubleshoot the problems.
Under The Hood:
- How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Dodge Ram
- How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a 2003 Dodge Truck
- How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Dodge Caravan
- How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Dodge Durango
- How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Dodge Intrepid
Start the truck and adjust the air from low to high and back down again. Listen for the blower motor. The noise should increase when turned higher and decrease when turned lower. The blower motor will be a black cylinder-shape with a white plastic bowl-like piece on top. Unplug the electrical connector and remove it.
Look at the compressor in front of the engine with the belt to make sure it is quiet. Find the compressor by going to the driver's side engine compartment.
Find the two hoses, one small and one larger, coming from the firewall. Follow them back toward the car and you will find the compressor.
Adjust the temperature controls to make sure they are working correctly. The dials should have the proper amount of resistance. If these are not working correctly, it may be a fuse problem.
Locate the fuse box by opening the driver's side door and prying off the panel near the steering wheel with a screwdriver. Remove the fuse with pliers and replace with a fuse of equal wattage to avoid damaging the electrical system.
Check to make sure the dome lights and graphics display are working properly. If they are not, then it may be a control panel problem. Get to the control panel in a Dodge Ram by removing the center instrument bezel. The control panel is directly underneath. Detach the cables and pull it out.
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Pull down on the fuse panel cover under the steering column.
Locate the fuse for the air conditioning using the fuse diagram on the underside of the fuse panel.
Use the fuse pullers in the fuse panel to pull the fuse for the air conditioning.
Replace the fuse if the metal strip inside the fuse is broken.
Turn the fan motor to the highest setting. Then turn the air conditioning to the coldest setting. Pay attention to whether you hear the air compressor start. You should hear a low "hum" when the compressor starts. If you don't, the compressor has not started. This means the compressor has failed and you need to replace it. This is confirmed by the lack of cold air coming into the cabin after a few minutes of having the AC on. If the AC compressor starts but there is no cold air coming into the cabin, there may be a leak in the AC system or the system is out of refrigerant. You will need to have the system serviced by a professional mechanic.
Check the controls first. Make sure the air-recirculation button is not selected instead of the air conditioning. This easy step could save you a trip to the dealership or a mechanic.
Start the engine and turn on the air conditioning, adjusting from low to high. Listen for the accompanying sound to increase when turned on high. This is the blower fan. If it does not sound right, the blower motor may need replacing.
Remove the blower fan in a Dodge Caravan by first disconnecting the battery, then waiting two minutes to disable the airbags. Remove the glove compartment, unscrew the blower fan and then unplug the electricity to it. There is only one small cable running to the blower fan which transmits the electricity.
Look at the graphics display on the dashboard. If it is blank, or if the air flow controls do not work properly, the problem is in the control panel.
Get to the control panel by removing the cup holder on the dashboard, then the trim directly below the air controls. Unscrew the two screws that are now visible, followed by the two screws above the radio. Unplug the cables connected to the control panel.
Check the fuses next if the controls and graphic displays are fine. Get to the fuse box in a Dodge Caravan by opening the driver's door and carefully prying off the side panel directly next to the steering wheel.
Remove the fuse with a pair of pliers and replace with one of the replacement fuses provided in the fuse box.
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Check the controls first. Make sure the air-recirculation button is not selected instead of the air conditioning. It may seem simple, but could prevent a trip to the dealership or a mechanic.
Listen for the blower motor next. If working properly, the noise of the blower motor will increase when the air is turned to high and decrease when it is turned to low. Find the blower motor in a Dodge Durango by removing the trim panel directly below the glove box. The blower motor is a black piece with a white colander-looking piece attached. Find the retaining tab and push it down while turning the blower motor counter-clockwise to remove.
Look at the compressor in front of the engine with the belt to make sure it is quiet. Find the compressor by going to the driver's side engine compartment. Find the two hoses, one small and one larger, coming from the firewall. Follow them back toward the car and you will find the compressor. Check the condenser which has the fan and sits directly in front of the radiator to see that it is clean.
Adjust the temperature controls on the dashboard. If not working properly, it is probably the control panel. Find the control panel in a Dodge Durango by removing the instrument panel trim. Unscrew one screw in each corner, and then pull the panel toward the back of the car and up at the same time to release tabs holding the panel in place. Pull the control panel out and unsnap the retainers at the ends. Unplug the electrical connection in the back of the control panel.
Check first to make sure that the proper controls are selected, instead of the air-recirculation button. This simple step is sometimes all it takes.
Look first at the graphics display on the dashboard. If it is blank, or if the air flow controls do not work properly, the problem is in the control panel. Disconnect the battery first.
Remove the center bezel from the instrument panel. Locate the heater and air conditioner control in the instrument panel. Unscrew the four screws holding it into place.
Listen for the blower motor to make sure it is working. With the engine on, turn on the air and adjust the pressure. The normal accompanying sound indicates the blower motor is working properly.
Find the blower motor in an Intrepid in the instrument panel. It is black and cylindrical and has a plastic fan attached. Unscrew it and remove it, unplugging the electricity.
Change the fuse if the controls are not working properly. The fuse box in a Dodge Intrepid is on the driver side of the dashboard underneath the panel. Remove a blown fuse with pliers and replace with a 10-amp fuse. Newer models should have replacement fuses.
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