Q: AC stops working when idling

asked by on February 05, 2016

The AC stops working while I am idling. Then the car feels like it is going to stall. The AC is fine when the car is moving.

It is possible that your compressor clutch is producing more drag than usual, causing the near stall at idle. When the engine RPM is raised, the belt rotates faster, forcing the compressor to spin.

It is also possible that you are not getting enough air flow through your condenser on the front of your vehicle. When driving at higher speeds the air is forced through the condenser naturally. At idle, there is far less air going through the condenser and if it is clogged, the air the cooling fan produces may not be enough to cool down the refrigerant, although this would not explain the near stall.

A final possible cause of this issue would be that your cooling fan or A/C fan is not working. This would cause the engine to possibly stall if overheated and would certanly cause a lack of air conditioning at idle.

I would suggest having your air conditioning system inspected by a professional mobile mechanic to diagnose the issue, and recommend the best solution.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Gas filler door stuck, almost ran out of fuel

The fuel door on the Santa Fe has an electrical actuator to open the door and a back up release cable inside the vehicle near the door. The two main causes for the fuel door to not open are either...

Air conditioning blowing hot. 2006 Scion tC

If your A/C compressor clutch isn't engaging, the most common cause is low refrigerant in the system. The only way to check this is to connect an expensive machine to your car, remove the refrigerant and weigh it. Doing other...

AC taking too long to cool. 2010 Honda Crosstour

Hello. It is possible that the air conditioning system needs a recharge. There could also be a problem with the air conditioning compressor in that it needs to be replaced or that it is clogged. If you'd like to have...

Related articles

What Sensors in the AC Tell the Car If the System Is Working or Not?
The The average car today contains a bewildering range of sensors that feed information to various computers to monitor everything from air intake to emissions and engine timing. Your car’s air conditioning system also contains a couple of sensors that...
How to Replace an AC Condenser Fan
AC condenser fans need to be replaced when the air conditioning stops running. If the AC fans don't work when the car is on, the fan relay may be bad.
What Is the Difference Between Climate Control and Air Conditioning
It’s It’s important to be able to control the temperature inside your car’s cabin. During the summer, you need air conditioning to ensure comfort and safety, and during the winter, you’ll need heat for the same reason. However, different cars...