Q: A/C not cold, diagnostics unclear

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I have had my 2005 Kia Rio since 2014. The A/C was cold for a short amount of time but has since then been difficult. I've had 3 separate diagnostics on it and so far I haven't gotten any answers. Last summer, I went to the dealership for a diagnosis and they said everything was working "fine", that the A/C was "cold", and that they put in a dye and wanted me to come back in a few days to check for a leak with the dye in place. The A/C never felt cold to me, in fact it was about as warm as the outside temperature, but I did not return to the dealership and spent the summer in the heat. Yesterday, I took my car to another shop for an A/C diagnosis and to have belts replaced (but not the timing belt). The shop said the A/C is blowing "cold" and did not find a leak as well but put in some Freon-- it is not cold, it's just not hot. What could be causing the issue that cannot be seen with diagnostics?

My car has 139000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The first thing that needs to be done is to...

The first thing that needs to be done is to see if the compressor is engaging and if the fans are turning on when the a/c is turned on. The a/c pressures also need to be checked to see if they are where they should be. If there isn't enough of a pressure differential, the a/c can turn on and operate, but won't actually blow cold air. This could be caused by a low refrigerant charge, a failing compressor, or a failing expansion valve. I would suggest having a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, diagnose your A/C concern for you.

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