How to Troubleshoot a Dodge Van Air Conditioner

by Ross Glyn

You switch on your Dodge Caravan's air conditioning in the middle of a heat wave and receive a blast of hot air in the face, or worse, no air at all. Your air conditioner can blow warm air for many reasons. Instead of an expensive visit to a mechanic, first try a few simple troubleshooting steps. You'll need an A/C gauge to help diagnose the problem.

Check all air conditioning switches and controls on the dashboard with the engine running. Feel for resistance or switches that are too loose. Make sure the air conditioning is switched on and not just the electric blower fan.

Check the fuses. Consult the schematic on the fuse box flap. Replace broken or burned out fuses.

Set the controls to the coldest setting and start the engine. Open the hood and wait for the compressor's magnetic clutch to engage and begin to turn. If it does not engage, the system could be low on refrigerant. Or there may be a leak in the compressor. Look for any refrigerant residue on the hoses and compressor.

Locate the heater hoses at the firewall and check if they are hot. One should be cooler than the other. If they are both warm to the touch, you could have a problem with the valve control.

Turn the engine off and attach an A/C gauge to check if the system has enough pressure. It should be between 50 pounds per square inch (psi) and 80 psi.

Tips

  • check Service your A/C system every two years. Periodically activate the A/C to keep components lubricated.
  • check To access the fuse box in a Dodge Caravan, open the driver's side door and remove the side panel next to the steering wheel.
  • check Make sure the drive belt to the compressor is connected.
  • check Oil on any A/C component indicates refrigerant leakage at those points. It may be necessary to replace those parts.
  • check Noise from the compressor could mean it is time to replace it.
  • check If the air blowing from the air conditioner smells rancid, it could mean that mold is growing within the system.

Warning

  • close A/C systems contain high pressure gas that can cause injury when released.

About the Author

Ross Glyn began writing for film and television in 1986. He wrote and directed the film “After The Rain” as well as the play “Soweto's Burning.” He is a member of the Writers Guild Of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Ross holds a performer's degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera A View of an Air Vent on a Car. image by daseaford from Fotolia.com