How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Air-conditioning is something that almost all of us use regularly in our cars and trucks. It is a highly valued feature Ford car many car owners, and Ford car those who live in particularly hot climates, it is an absolute necessity. The Ford car comes standard with a powerful air-conditioning system designed to run in any condition. Losing the functionality of this system could be very bothersome Ford car owners, but with a few simple steps they can learn what is causing the problem and begin on the pathway toward fixing it.

Under The Hood:

 How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Ford Focus

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 trim panels on the passenger side, unscrew the four panel screws, and detach the cables from the controls. Unplug the electrical connector and remove the control panel.

Listen for the blower motor to make sure that it is running, but not overly loud. Step into the car and play with the air controls on the dashboard to make sure the blower motor is making the appropriate increases and decreases in volume.

Start the engine of the car and allow it to run while looking at the compressor. Look for obvious signs of malfunction. Touch both of the hoses attached to the compressor. The larger one should be cool, and the smaller hose should be warm but not painfully hot.

Make sure the pilot lights inside the vehicle are working and the graphics display is lit. If these are not working correctly it might be the control panel or control cables. Find the control panel in a Ford Focus by removing the trim panel surrounding the air controls.

Bring the three small control cables out from underneath the instrument panel. Unplug the cables from the back of the control panel, and unplug the electrical cable before removing it.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

 How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a 2004 Ford Freestar

Deselect the "Re-circulated Air" button if cooled air smells musty or stale. The re-circulated air position closes the main air intake vent. It provides for more efficient cooling, but doesn't allow new air to be introduced into the cabin. The button is on the dash and isn't found in the rear controls. The button shows a depiction of a car shell with an arrow going through it, and illuminates when on.

Place the airflow knob into the "Defrost" position on the Freestar if the windscreen becomes misted while running the air conditioning. It's the icon with the image of a windscreen with arrows waving through it.

Drive with the windows open slightly for two or three minutes after setting off if the cabin is exceptionally hot. The Freestar will expel its hot air, and the air conditioning will run more efficiently.

Check for objects under the seats if airflow is poor in the rear. Ducts under the seats provide air throughput. Check for obstructions like leaves at the bottom of the exterior of the wind shield if air flow is poor throughout the minivan. Leaves can block the main incoming air vent that's there.

 How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Ford F-Series

See if the problem is as simple as a blown fuse. If the temperature controls on the dashboard seem to work correctly but have no effect on the air temperature, then this is likely the problem. The fuse box in a Ford F-series truck is located below and to the left of the steering wheel by the brake. Remove the fuse panel cover by turning the fasteners counter clockwise. The fuse that needs replacing is the red number 10 fuse.

Have a look at the control panel if the temperature controls on the dashboard are not working and do not feel right. First pry off the instrument panel that surrounds the radio, clock, CD player and temperature controls. Unscrew the four screws holding the climate controls assembly. Remove the entire assembly.

Listen for the blower motor while the engine is running. Adjust the air from low to high and listen for the accompanying increase in noise from the blower fan. If you cannot hear it, you may need to replace the blower motor or just the blower motor fuse. This fuse is green number 107.

Find the blower motor in an F-series truck by propping up the hood of the truck. The blower motor will be toward the front of the vehicle. It is easily accessible, as it is near the top. It had a belt attached and is cylindrical in shape with a fan attached. Make sure the belt is intact and not damaged, which is a result of common wear and tear in a vehicle.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

 How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Ford Explorer

Start the car and turn the air conditioning on. Allow the engine to run a few minutes so the air can cool. Check to make sure you have the proper buttons selected. This simple step may uncover the root of the problem.

Adjust the air controls on the dashboard to see how they are working. If the controls move the way they should with the proper amount of resistance and stopping in the right places but have effect on the air, then the problem may as simple as a blown fuse. If the controls are not working at all, then the problem is in the control panel.

Get to the fuse box in a Ford Explorer by removing the instrument panel to the left and slightly below the steering wheel. There is a fuse remover provided in the fuse box. A blown fuse will have a broken wire in it. In a Ford Explorer, this fuse is red number 10.

Find the control panel by prying off the top instrument panel around the air conditioning temperature controls. Unscrew four screws, one in each corner, and remove the temperature control panel. Unplug four electrical connectors and one vacuum hose to the control panel.

Listen for the blower motor to be properly working while the engine is running and the air conditioning controls are turned to high. Adjust them from low to high to make sure the blower motor noise increases and decrease accordingly.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver

 How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning in a Ford Taurus

Adjust the air controls on the dashboard. If they seem to work properly, but have no effect on the air at all then a fuse will need to be replaced. In a Ford Taurus, the fuse box is located near the brakes below the steering wheel. Pry off the panel and replace fuse number 12 with a replacement fuse.

Check the control panel next if the air conditioning controls do not work as they should. They should offer the right amount of resistance and click into place in the right spots.

Find the control panel in a Ford Taurus by prying off the instrument trim panel on the front of the dash and find the control panel directly underneath it.

Turn the air conditioning on full blast. Listen for the accompanying sound of the blower motor. If the sound does not increase with increased air or there is no sound at all then the blower motor will need to be replaced. It can be found under the trim panel of the dashboard on the passenger side if the car. Unscrew three retaining screws and pull the blower motor off the of its mount.

Start the engine of the car and allow it to run while looking at the compressor. Look for obvious signs of malfunction. Touch both of the hoses attached to the compressor. The larger one should be cool, and the smaller hose should be warm but not painfully hot.

Items you will need

  • Fuse

  • Screwdriver

 How to Troubleshoot an Air Conditioner in a 2002 Ford F-150

Open the hood of your F-150 and turn on the engine. Let the A/C run at idle for 10 minutes.

Look at the fan behind the radiator that is in front of your truck's A/C condenser. This fan should be on when your air conditioner is running at idle; if not, the A/C may not cool very well. If this is the case, you may need to replace this fan or the fan fuses.

Have someone sit in the truck and turn off the A/C, then have them turn it back on after about 10 seconds. Stand over the engine and listen for a click; if you can hear it, the condenser is turning on and working properly. If not, the condenser is not working properly and will cause your air conditioner to blow hot air.

Turn off the engine and touch the thicker of the two pipes that exits your condenser. This is the low pressure side of your air-conditioning system and should be very cold after your A/C has been on for a few minutes. If it is not, it is likely that there is not enough refrigerant in your system.

Connect a set of A/C pressure gauges to the low and high sides (the large tube and the small tube leading out of the condenser, respectively) of the air-conditioning system. On an 80-degree F day, the Ford F-150 low side A/C pressure should be at 56 PSI; anything under this could be causing reduced cooling power.

Items you will need

  • A/C pressure gauges

About the Author

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