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Q: AC problems - 2010 Honda CR-V

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The air conditioning is working intermittently. Generally, it tends to not work on hotter days or when we are stuck in traffic. It may stop working for tens of minutes or hours, but not days. Originally, we thought the refrigerant was low so we had it replaced at Jiffy Lube. Afterward, the AC had the same symptoms so we took the car to our mechanic two days later. They could not find a leak; they drained and replaced the refrigerant again. The AC worked consistently for a few days and then the problem returned. We then took it a Honda dealer and they could not find a problem - it worked while in their shop. Both our mechanic and dealer said they can't diagnose a problem they can't see and have not offered any other suggestions.

My car has 90000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Unfortunately, since many hands have been on the car opening and closing a sealed system, it is hard to say what your starting point is "now". That is, if in the course of discharging and charging the system, moisture was introduced into the system and/or the system was not properly evacuated (purged of ALL air and moisture), those deficiencies alone will cause the "type" of symptom that you are describing. Let us assume the problem is not moisture or air in the system (the problem with moisture is it will periodically freeze and thaw at the expansion valve CAUSING intermittent cooling).

The first order of business is to confirm system pressures, high and low, while the compressor is on to get an overall indication of the system operation. Certain variances and patterns, in these pressures will give the technician clues as to abnormalities, such as blockages or compressor faults.

If system pressures check out and no unusual patterns emerge, you then have the possibility of an electrical fault - one that is possibly intermittent. These types of faults could involve the electrically operated compressor clutch, the high and low pressure system cut off switches, the wiring and on-off switch that connects all of this, and the condenser cooling fan.

With regard to that fan, if it is not cycling on and off as intended, that alone will greatly degrade the cooling effect you feel in the passenger compartment because the condenser is the part of the system that rejects the accumulated heat to the atmosphere. The bottom line is you need a specialized, certified competent, and most importantly an interested technician to "take it from the top" and get to the bottom of this issue. For further help with this issue, consider having a certified professional from YourMechanic diagnose the AC problem in order to have this corrected properly.

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