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Q: A/C only works sometimes - when ambient temperature is cooler.

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When. I turn my A/C on, most of the time, only hot air blows no matter whathe setting I put it on. When the ambient temperature is cooler, somehow the A/C starts working again. I got it checked out by a lube express place while the AC wasn't working and he said that everything was working EXCEPT the clutch wasn't turning on the fan belt. But it obviously does it sometimes bc sometimes the A/C works really well. Also, this problem started 3 years ago while I lived in MI. I'm wondering if all the salt and stuff up there during the winter messed up the clutch relay and that it's an easy fix. Bc right now, I'm a student and the mechanics are quoting prices in the range of $1000...

My car has 116607 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

If your AC system is low on refrigerant from a leak, then you should have a proper diagnosis by a qualified AC mechanic. The diagnosis you get will determine if it is a simple relay or a major failure of a component like a condenser or compressor. You may be able to just get a refrigerant recharge if no leaks are found, and everything should be okay till it leaks out again. Sometimes during the winter a compressor front seal will leak refrigerant when it is very cold outside and then stops leaking when the weather warms. A leak detection dye can be added to use a black light to find a leak later on if an electronic type cannot find it.

I suggest you have the system checked and recharged by a qualified mechanic. A certified mobile mechanic from YourMechanic can inspect your vehicle’s AC system and provide a refrigerant recharge if necessary.

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