2011 Toyota Camry Strange AC Failing Symptoms

Hello All!

I have a 2011 Toyota Camry LE 2.5L 4Cyl. 2ARFE Engine.

My AC seems to be failing. It wont blow cool air even if the ambient temperature is 82F even if I drive the car for like 45 minutes.

But I stumbled on a strange solution if I leave the climate control AC turned ON, i shut off the car and then start the car so that the AC is on as the car is starting up while holding the key in the ignition position for like 3 seconds after the engine has already started. The starter doesn’t grind. Then i let the key go. It takes a couple of tries but it works. The AC then works as it should. This is probably going to cause more damage. I already changed the steering and serpentine belts. Any clues as to whats failing the AC? Thanks.

The first thing that needs to be done is connect a set of manifold gauges to the system to determine the state of charge of refrigerant.

Without knowing that is like throwing darts with a blindfold on.




Tester beat me to it…

It was charged last week to the proper levels, high side and low side. I had a mechanic friend on the phone earlier. Told him the symptoms. We think its something electrical because he charged it. When it works it gets pretty cold. Pressure switch is still good. Just cant find the compressor relay. Nobody has an answer on where it is. if the car even has one. Some models dont have a compressor relay and are driven by some kind of amplifier. (Way beyond my comprehension) so i was fiddling around with the switch harness and the engine room relay box. measured for continuity, ohm meter on the coils. nothing looked abnormal. Except for the EFI relay it was really warm. but car runs fine.

When the system is malfunctioning, is the light on the A/C button flashing?


Just trying to get the complete story…


No. The AC does work. When it works it works well. The problem has been getting it to activate.

Because the mechanic wanted to check the levels and saw that “it was a can low” which in his profession isnt totally bad. So he decided to put in a can. So its not like the AC is leaking. The compressor is bone dry with a very small bit of some seepage residue which is normal. So we cant say the low levels are causing the problem. they are not low enough the keep the compressor off. So we think its electrical.

When the A/C won’t activate, take a close look at the light on the A/C button. If the A/C amplifier detects a compressor lock condition, (or belt slip) the A/C amplifier will disengage the clutch and flash the light as a warning of a fault detected.

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Yes it is.


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I havent noticed that light blinking. Been watching everything like a hawk. We recently changed the two belts. (power steering and serpentine) serpentine had cracks down to nylon. Today i pulled out some relays. checked them. pulled the pressure switch harness. nothing seems broken or cracked. I turned the car on and the AC started working without me doing my little key trick described in the 1st post.

It’s clear you have absolutely no idea if the refrigerant charge is correct or not


Nevada and Tester are more up to date on this stuff, but I am showing a 2011 Toyota Camry LE 2.5L non Hybrid freon capacity being 19Oz, a “can” is 12Oz, that means your vehicle lost what 63% of it’s freon and your mechanic thinks that is normal?? If true then you have a leak… Or he just added a can cause he really has no idea how much, if any, it was low, over filling the system can/will cause damage…

I assume your mechanic add freon because of this problem??

Sounds like you need to find a pro auto repair shop…

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True. im not mechanic. the guy that charged it is. He filled it to the proper level

He filled it to the proper level. The guy knows what he’s doing. I simply dont want to surrender my car for a couple days for somebody to figure out what the problem is. So i came here to pick your brains. But that is my failure. Not the mechanic. He can build his own cars. a real genius. I guess ill just have to surrender the damn car so it can be diagnosed. All the shops have too much work and a waiting period. Thanks anyway…

I can’t figure it out. That is my failure. Not the mechanic? Oh, I blame the mechanic. He charged system. He said pressures are good. But ac works/does not work. He cannot figure it out. Time for shop #2.

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A mechanic can do things like build a car and still not be an expert on a/c diagnosis and repair.


Are you able to tell by visual inspection whether or not the compressor clutch is activating & causing the compressor to spin?

I think the OP got his/her feelings hurt when we basically called his/her mechanic “two can Sam”…

If the system was a can (12Oz) low on freon, then a real AC mechanic would have either found the leak and or at least added die to the system and rechecked for leaks, yes there is a good chance there is an electrical issue, but if it is leaking then that needs to be properly repaired also…

I don’t know of a single AC tech that uses the dye anymore. We all use sniffers.


First, it locates leaks immediately You don’t need to have the customer come back to do a visual inspection.

Second, it locates leaks where it can be difficult to visually inspect. Like at the evaporator.