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Air condition not working

I have a 2006 Saturn Ion 3. The air conditioner had been less cold for about a week and yesterday it stopped working completely. I tried filling the Freon, but it was not low. What are some other causes? Thank you in advance for your help.

“I tried filling the Freon, but it was not low.”

Recharging an AC system isn’t really a DIY job. I know that you can buy those little kits & I have used them, but its very easy to get confused. Its also very easy for something else to be the problem.

In your case, your system is probably so low on R134A refrigerant that the compressor isn’t coming on. If that’s true then the low side gauge on those little auto parts store kits will always be above the “full” level. If you had a full manifold gauge set & could check the high side, you’d probably have about the same pressure there. That just means the compressor isn’t running - and probably b/c the system is low on refrigerant. That means that you have a leak.

In the long run, for the health of you & your AC system and even your wallet a trip to a good AC shop would be your best bet.

In addition to the possibility that you could have a loss of refrigerant (Freon is a brand name trademarked by DuPont for their refrigerant R-12, which is now obsolete because it was found to be damaging the ozone layer), you may also have a switch or relay problem, blockage to your condenser, cooling fans not engaging when they should be, or blend door issues. Another, non-mechanical possibility is that it’s the heat wave many parts of the country are experiencing. I don’t know where you live, but where I am we had temperatures in the mid 90s with a heat index of 115. My vehicles have properly functioning a/c systems, but neither of them seem all that effective because higher air temperatures mean higher vent temperatures and less of a feeling of cooling effectiveness.

There are a couple simple tests you can do to verify your a/c system is working or not working. After driving the car for a while with the air conditioning on, park it and look underneath. There should be water dripping onto the ground underneath the firewall from moisture condensing onto the evaporator core. No water dripping means either no drainage or no refrigeration. If it’s no drainage, your carpets are probably wet. Another test is to open your hood while the engine is running and the a/c is on. Look at your refrigerant lines and receiver drier (service ports, like the one you attach the DIY charging can, are normally mounted to the lines. The receiver drier is the cylindrical shaped part of the system and may or may not be visible under the hood. Models vary, and I haven’t seen an Ion for a long time). The larger line should be cold and “sweaty”, as should the receiver drier. You should also hear a fan running near the radiator. If the cooling fan is not running, the system will not work well.

Make mine another vote for taking it to a professional. Diagnosing and repairing AC systems requires special equipment and training. It’s not a DIY weekend project.

First, you need to determine if the compressor clutch engages when you ask for air conditioning…

Locate the compressor, have someone watch it while you move the heater controls to the A/C position. Does the compressor respond?