CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

AC quirk - 05 Caravan

I have 05 Caravan, 4 cyl, 115k. Runs fine (just got back from a 2000 mile trip) that seems to have a quirk or something with the AC.

When I have the AC on and stop at a light, it feels like it hesitates several times. I almost think it’ll stall (never has). I usually end up turning off the AC while we’re at the light, and start it back up when I accelerate. When the AC is off, there is no hesitation. Also, If I put it in park, and we have the AC on, no problem. I rarely, if ever, have the recirculation going.

One thing of note: I usually wait until I’m out of our neighborhood and on the main street before turning it on. That means the windows are down until I turn it on. When I do, occasionally I hear a sound that best can be described as similar to the sound of loosening a tight lug nut. Still, as long as I’m driving, there is no hesitation and it cools fine.

"When I do, occasionally I hear a sound that best can be described as similar to the sound of loosening a tight lug nut."
Could this be a squealing belt? When was the last time the serpentine belt was replaced?

I don’t think it’s the belt. Granted, it’s probably close to the time to change it, but I don’t have any other belt issues. No squealing, chirping, etc. at all.

The sound is very brief, just the time it takes me to turn the AC on.

To me, not an A/C guy, it sounds like the compressor clutch is on it’s way out and/or the compressor is binding, but I’d have to have someone more familiar with this than me verify it. There could also be a problem with the idle air control, causing it to almost die at low RPM’s.

Thanks! I was thinking it may be the clutch. It doesn’t have any other idle issues. There is no problem at all when the AC is off.

Have the plugs been changed. I had a guy bring me a Honda that would not idle with the AC on. His plugs were very worn. Replaced them and the wires and it ran like a top.

Plugs and wires are sitting in a bag in the house. Maybe I’ll get a chance this weekend. Thanks.