Mechanics

AC NOT COOLING WHEN IDLE

2009 Honda Civic • 24,000 miles

My 2009 Honda Civic (24,000 miles) has been blowing hot & humid air for the past few weeks, when idle - at a stop sign or red light, or parked. The air also has a musty odor, and the problem seems a lot worse the hotter the temperature outside. When it's cooler outside(below 90's), it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue (if at all). When driving, it works fine. I went to a mechanic who did a 22-point inspection and topped it with Freon and put a dye through the system to detect any leaks. It worked for a day or two, then same problem occurred. When I took it back they found no leak, but determined that it was a problem with the compressor. They tested it with some gauge and said something about the needle vibrating at idle that indicated it was the compressor. (They didn't offer to show me, but showed my husband instead, who doesn't know any more than I do.) They also said the compressor would be around $1,000. I discovered that it should still be covered under the manufacturer's warranty and made an appointment with the dealership. They checked it out today and said it was just the air filter that was dirty and needed to be replaced. It ended up costing me over $80 for a new air filter, but I'm not even sure now if that was the actual issue or if I got ripped off by the dealership. I had last replaced my air filter at 12,579 miles (August of 2010). The previous mechanic had checked the air filter, and didn't determine that it needed to be replaced immediately. Also, if it was only an air filter, would it cause the AC to blow hot, smelly & humid air only when idle and when it's hot outside, but work fine when I'm driving or it's not as hot outside?

Is it possible that the Honda dealership tried to blame it on a dirty air filter just so they could get some money out of me, when the actual problem may have been covered under warranty and I might not have had to pay anything?

I've only driven it today and it seemed like it was working better, but could still tell the AC was a lot more powerful and cooler when I was driving. I just moved to Houston, TX a few weeks ago and it seemed like that's when the problem started. It's extremely hot & humid outside and I live in an area with a lot of stop & go traffic. My 2 yr old and I are miserable and I don't want to leave the house to go anywhere during the day b/c of this! Please let me know if you have any advice.

Thanks!
Avatar
Mshaikh81
July 22, 2011.




I s no connection at all between the air filter and the A/C cooling properly. You might want to try either a different dealer or escalate the complaint to the district level.

Wrenchtech
Jul 22, 2011.
I am a technician at a dealership. I have been for 17 years. I want to inform you thast the repair of your air filter was absolutely needed. The problem is yourunderstanding that the vehicle has two air filter one for the engine that you are thinking of and one for the cabin/ A/C. Called a Cabin Air Filter. The Cabin Air Filter filters all the inside air that passes over the evaporator coils. Please be informed be bashing the technician. The dealer wants your buisness. They could have replaced the compressor under warranty and made you angry because it didnt fix your problem. Had you went to them to begin with you would not have ad to pay for the freon to be supposedly topped off. In my opinion the mechanic you paid to put freon in your car should have referred you to the dealer knowing you where under warranty he took advantage of you.
AD

Tiny
Joe auto
Feb 15, 2012.
The Cabin air filter is going to make the A/C blow hot, huh?

Yep, typical dealer.

Wrenchtech
Feb 15, 2012.
Ok let's think about it together if the filter is restricted so is the air flow of the air flow is restricted then there is not enough air crossing the evaporator coil to cool the air going into the cabin and the evap gets so cold it nears or actually freezes causing the compressor to cycle. I also noticed you didn't mention how the first "mechanic " ripped them off. Amazing only take it to the dealer " technician "when you actually want it fixed and after you let someone else try first. My question is did it fix it or is she still having the same problem. Yea a dealer charges more but done right the first time is priceless. : ) : )

Tiny
Joe auto
Feb 15, 2012.
Thanks for still responding to this thread, although it has been almost 7 months. I went to the original mechanic with a Groupon deal and had paid under $20 for the 22 point inspection. They didn't charge me anything extra to check for the leak and top off with freon. They actually suggested for me to check if the compressor was still covered under warranty, since it would be over a grand to get a new one through them. So I don't believe they were being dishonest As for the Honda dealership, I spoke to the manager and did more investigation through the Honda bulletins online and discovered that this is a pretty common complaint with the 2009 Honda Civic. It seems like that's just how it was designed for fuel efficiency, when in idle. Mine just seemed especially unbearable in the middle of Houston's summer heat, so my husband graciously offered to swap cars with me so my preschooler and I wouldn't have to suffer. I'm now driving his 2011 Honda Accord, which has tinted windows and no issues with AC not cooling properly even when idle. He drives to work in the morning before it gets too hot and back home in the evening, so luckily he doesn't have to put up with midday heat and we resolved the issue for now. Our lease will end in a few months, and needless to say we will not be getting another Honda Civic.

Tiny
Mshaikh81
Feb 15, 2012.
One of the biggest problems here is the humidity level. The clogged cabin air filter restricted air flow across the evaporator to the extent that the refrigerant was able to get cold enough to cause the condensation to freeze. When the condensation from the humidity freezes, it stops the flow of air across the evaporator coil and forces it around the coil.

Rivermikerat
Feb 19, 2012.
There is still some serious question as to whether that was the problem at all. The cooling is still not satisfactory to the poster and that is not the norm for a Civic. It sounds like the problem has still not been resolved.

Wrenchtech
Feb 19, 2012.

AD