2002 VW GTI Air Conditioning Problem

On 90-degree days, my air conditioning seems to work fine. I come out of work, turn on the AC, set it for recirculating, and the car cools down nicely. The AC seems to weaken when I’m stopped for a traffic light, but it picks up again as soon as I resume moving.

BUT, when I’m out for a long drive on the turnpike, the car won’t get cool enough, even if the temperature is only in the low 80s. I close the sunroof shade, set the AC for recirculating, and put the fan on its highest speed. But the car stays uncomfortably warm. It gets cooler - just not cool enough.

Am I nuts? Am I just imagining that the AC works fine on my way home from work? Or is there actually some AC problem that could cause symptoms like these?

You’re not crazy. Well, you might still be crazy, just not because of this. I think you should make an appointment with an AC shop to have it looked at. Take a long drive before you get to the shop and try to recreate the circumstance where the AC feels weakest, and hopefully they’ll be able to give you some insight.