Q: Cracking/popping sound in driver dashboard area - 2013 Jeep Compass

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There's a cracking/popping sound coming from my driver side dashboard/front end area. It started about 2 months ago, but only happened intermittently then. Now, (as of a few weeks ago) I hear the noise every time I drive, every 20 Seconds or so, no matter if I'm parked with engine running or if I'm driving around. It happens in every type of driving: when I turn, brake, etc ....all types of driving. Not only has it increased in frequency, but it has also gotten increasingly louder over time. The only other issue I notice with the car is that the a/c is sluggish to start sometimes. I'll be driving for maybe 2 minutes (which seems like foreve in 90 degrees weather) before cold air actually starts blowing out.
The noise is so annoying that I avoid driving anywhere at all costs. I hope you can help.

My car has 65000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. The noise heard and the sluggish A/C may be related. It is fairly common for an air distribution actuator to fail. These actuators change positions of doors in the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) distribution housing. Typically, a "thump, thump, thump" noise is heard. Then, diagnosing which actuator has failed and what control function is not properly working is next. It may be that the temperature blend actuator is the culprit.

I recommend having your vehicle’s air conditioning system inspected by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic.

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