What are the signs of a failing or malfunctioning AC condenser fan?

Article by Christian A., on September 3, 2018

The air conditioning in your car employs four basic principles -- Evaporation, Condensation, Compression and Expansion – to work. To act on these principles are a number of important components like the compressor, condenser, expansion valve and receiver drier as well as evaporator. When one of these components fails, the air conditioning system would faile or malfunction.

As it names implies, the condenser fulfills the principle of condensation in an AC system. It essentially converts the high-pressure gas (refrigerant) into high-pressure liquid. The condenser packs the molecules in the vapor to transform the refrigerant into its liquid state. Since this process generates a lot of heat, air is made to flow through the condenser to cool it down. To ensure that the condenser is kept cool during the entire air conditioning cycle, an AC condenser fan is employed to channel the needed cooling air.

However, the AC condenser fan might fail or stop from functioning. If this happens, the condenser might become too hot, and in turn becomes ineffective in converting the refrigerant from its gas to cooled liquid form. In addition, this overheating could cause more issues or problems within the entire AC system.

There are some signs that may manifest if the AC condenser fan fails or malfunctions. Taking note of these signs should prompt you to take your car to a specialist and have it checked.

1. Warm air

If the air coming out from the AC vents in your car is warm, this could be caused by a failed or malfunctioning AC condenser fan. As mentioned, a failed AC condenser fan could result to a very hot condenser, making it not effective in convert the refrigerant gas into cooled liquid form. As a result, the AC system channels warm air.

2. Burning smell

Sometimes, you may smell that something is burning and this odor is coming off from the AC vents. This could be assign the AC condenser has failed or malfunctioned. This is because as the condenser gets too hot, other parts and components of the AC system may overheat too.

When this happens, the AC system would emit a burning smell. Be warned that these AC components would suffer from greater damage when they get too hot for a longer time. This should you to take action as soon as the AC system emits a burning odor.

3. Engine overheats even when the car is idle

Because the condenser could overheat when its AC condenser fan is failing or malfunctioning, it may also affect the temperature of neighboring components. Temperature may rise not just on the other components of the AC system but also of the engine.

At idle, the amount of cooling that flows is limited, and the heat would just continue to get intense, causing the engine to overheat. But when the car starts moving, especially at higher speeds, the amount of cool air that flows is greater, thereby lowering the temperature of heat-affected components.

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