Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube)

expansion valve

Bad or Failing Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube) Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

An expansion valve is an AC component that is commonly found on many road going vehicles. It is usually installed at the evaporator inlet and works together with the orifice tube to regulate the flow of refrigerant through the vehicle’s AC system. Too much refrigerant flow and the evaporator core will freeze over; too little and the evaporator core will overheat and compromise the efficiency of the AC system. The expansion valve meters refrigerant flow according to evaporator temperature and the load and cooling demand of the AC system. When the expansion valve fails or has any issues, it can cause problems with the functionality and performance of the AC system. Usually a bad or failing AC expansion valve or orifice tube will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. AC system performing worse than usual and blowing warm air

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the AC expansion valve or orifice tube is an underperforming AC system. The AC expansion valve and orifice tube work together to regulate the flow of the AC system. If either component fails or has an issue, it can disturb the performance of the AC system, which can cause it to underperform. The AC system may begin to blow noticeably less cold than before and may even begin to blow warm air depending on the severity of the problem.

2. Frost on AC evaporator or coming from the vents

Another symptom of a potential problem with the vehicle’s AC expansion valve or orifice tube is frost coming from the vehicle’s vents. If the AC evaporator or orifice tube malfunctions, it can cause refrigerant to flow unmetered through the vehicle’s AC system. This can cause the evaporator to freeze over, or frost to form or come from the vehicle’s AC vents. Either symptom is a sign that the system is getting too much refrigerant, which will actually hinder its efficiency and performance.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. AC compressor constantly running

A constantly running compressor is another symptom of a possible problem with the AC expansion valve. If the AC expansion valve fails or sticks open, it will cause the compressor to pump refrigerant through the vehicle’s AC system, even when it may be undesirable for it to do so. This will put an additional strain on the compressor and associated AC components, making them more susceptible to premature failure.

The AC expansion valve and orifice tube are important components to the proper operation of the AC system and any issues with them can lead to AC system problems and malfunctions. If you suspect that your expansion valve or orifice tube may be having an issue, have the vehicle’s air conditioning inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the car will need an AC expansion valve replacement or another repair.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....
How to Get a Louisiana Driver's Permit
s licensing program. The first step in this program is to obtain...


Related questions

Q: My car's air smog pump check valve went out.

If the pipe check valve broke on the air smog pump on your vehicle, then the issue could be that the valve has had many hours of use and gave out, or the valve could have gotten water inside the...

Q: Can a bad canister purge valve cause my car to shake/vibrate under the hood when i brake or make constant stops?

First thing to check is the problem codes that are setting your Check Engine light on. While it is true that fumes from the vapor canister are pulled into the engine during "coast down" when there is high vacuum in...

Q: The car cuts off when it stops in traffic

If the engine stalls at a light then you may lose the throttle and power steering assist. The stalling may be caused by several different things on a high mileage vehicle. The idle control system should be looked at...