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Air conditioning and heat will not come on

I have a 2004 Kia Spectra (it is actually a 04/05 split year that generally takes the 05 parts) and when we turn on the car, sometimes the air conditioning/heat doesn’t work. I can feel a little cold/warm coming out, but when I turn it higher nothing blows out at all. I can sometimes get it to work properly after driving for like 5 minutes on the highway with the radio off. Other times it turns on right away, but if I stop at the store and turn off the car, the next time it will stop working. Can anyone tell me what could be causing this?

You have a defective blower motor. It could be a number of things in the motor causing the problem, worn brushes, contamination on the armature. It doesn’t matter as the things are riveted together and internal parts are not available. You have to replace the whole blower motor.

Those are symptoms of a bad blower motor. But before going straight to that, it can also just be the symptoms of a bad connection - e.g. a corroded or loose electrical plug to the blower - or even just a failing switch. I would just inspect and clean the connections first. If that doesn’t help you’ll want someone with a voltmeter who knows what to do with it.

Thank you both for your help.

When the air flow isn’t working, with the airconditioning or heat turned on, rap on the blower motor with a screwdriver or a stick. If it comes on, this almost guarantees the problem is with the motor. I had a Ford Aerostar with that problem. The motor was under the hood, and I could get the motor going by slamming the hood.

You guys are incredibly sophisticated in your diagnostic techniques,and so sure of yourselves. Using these techniques you would all be out of work quickly.Check TSB’s and follow the flow chart is the FSM you may even be able to get some data from a scanner that looks at what KIA uses for a body control module.

Yes. Wouldn’t it be nice for us all to have a full database of TSBs, factory service manuals and $5000 scanners in our garages (or under that shade tree or whatever). Because, you know, those blower problems can be really tricky. I mean what - there are all of two wires, a plug, resistor & switch. Its all too much. So maybe the OP should just go to the dealer. I mean, you know, the 5 minute free fix might not work so why waste the 5 free minutes when you can pay a dealer $100 for a very fancy diagnosis of a loose connection or failing switch.

Don’t forget the blower relay Cigroller (lol). It gets complicated alright.

I get it,when you cannot or will not perform proper diagnostics, just replace something that you know you can do.

I didn’t tell anyone to replace anything. I just don’t respond with “oh you need the TSBs, FSM & scanner before you do anything.”

Sorry oldschool, but a malfunctioning blower motor doesn’t call for pulling out the entire arsenal of professional tools and diagnostic aids.

Quite an arsenal you describe,a computer,the manual,and a scanner. I can buy you books,send you to school but you still see everything as a nail because all you know how to use is a hammer.

Ok - are you drunk or something? Because you are making absolutely no sense whatsoever. You are saying nothing while referring to nothing. So go ahead and insult people if you wish while you make comments that contribute nothing to helping the OP. I have given my $.02 to try to help them out, and there wasn’t a thing wrong with it. So I am over and out on this thread and your cryptic and meaningless comments.

I have been thinking a little more on this, and I’m pretty confident that it is the blower motor based on you description. I probably should have asked one question though, does it work reliably if you put the fan switch all the way to high? I assumed by you comment :but when I turn it higher" that you have tried this.

If perchance it works reliably in the high position but not in the others, then you would have a bad resistor pack and not a bad blower motor.

The problem is an intermittent condition. Tapping on the blower then on the high speed relay with the handle of a screwdriver may point out the defective component. Shaking wires to see if the blower goes on and off may pinpoint the problem. Finally, unplugging and plugging in the connectors may give a hint as to what is happening. IF these methods don’t pinpoint the problem, then it is time to get out the voltmeter.

I am saying that,I can train you,give you the manual,show you how to preform diagnostics and you still want to do things the way you did them in 1960. The manufacture has both constructed diagnostic procedures and installed diagnostic systems in the car but I can’t get you to use them or at least tell others to use them.You will not drop your old habits and pick up a new tool,you still want to use that hammer for any and every problem (the hammer is replacing a part on a guess).

Asking a mechanic (or someone who is impersonating a mechanic on the internet) to tell people to 1.check for TSB’s, as the cause for this trouble may already be knowm 2. follow any troubleshooting chart in the FSM 3. Make use of any diagnostics built in the car, are not the rantings of a drunk. Make poor choices in the garage when it comes to fixing people cars and you will get called out,and very quickly.What I have been taught is called Stratagey Based Diagnostics, this is in contrast to throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks (you have heard that one before I hope).

“I am saying that,I can train you,give you the manual,show you how to preform diagnostics and you still want to do things the way you did them in 1960”.

Sometimes all the instruments and diagnostic charts in the world can’t compete with thinking through a problem. I had a 1990 Ford Aerostar minivan that was missing out every so often and barely got us home from an out of town trip. The Ford was under warranty, so I took it to the dealer. I got back to my office and the service manager called me and said, “There is something wrong with your vehicle”. “Yes”, I replied. “I brought it in because it isn’t running correctly. I didn’t bring it in for a social call”. The service manager responded, “We don’t know what to do because our computer can’t tell us what is wrong”.
I pondered the situation and said, “What am I supposed to do? You are the dealer for Ford product?” The service manager then asked “Do you have any ideas?” “Yes, I have one. Short out each of the spark plugs and when you find one that doesn’t make a difference, check the compresssion on that cylinder”. The service manager then said, “We can only do what the computer tells us to do on warranty work”.
“Let’s make a deal”, I said. “You do what I requested. If this doesn’t pinpoint the problem, I’ll pay for an hour’s labor. If it does lead you to the problem, you fix it with no charge”.
An hour later, the service manager called back and told me my Aerostar was fixed and ready to go. The ceramic insulator around the firing electrode of the spark plug had broken away. This was one condition that couldn’t be detected by the diagnostic computer in use in those days. (The problem reoccured and eventually it was traced to a crack in the cylinder head. The entire engine was replaced under warranty at that point).
Even as an old geezer, I think diagonostic computers are great. However, as good as these diagnostic computers are, they don’t think. I think in this case you can check for a defective blower motor by rapping on the motor with the handle of a screwdriver to see if it comes back on.

You are showing ignorance for just what can be offered with the diagnostics available through many car’s BCM’s. You are not looking for “the computer to tell you what the problem is” you are looking to see if you can manually command(through a scanner) these systems to operate. You will also be looking for what the indicated status for say the AC clutch is. You also want to see if all the various systems can still talk to eachother.

I am all for stubbing in a know good part (I think this came up in another thread) but this technique should be used with moderation. In regards to a “gut feeling” based on the very few number of Spectra blower moters I have replaced that fit the OP’s description, this number is “zero” (and blower motors in general) I feel the OP’s problem is more in the control circuit of the blower motor rather than the motor itself. I have replaced dozens of blower motors and the overwhelming reason was that they were noisy,not inoperative. Rapping on the motor does have its place. It is common for window motors and starter motors to respond to the rapping technique, it is just not a failure mode I have seen with blower motors. Now there is a 1960’s based conclusion, it is based totally on personal experience, nothing technical about it.

oldschool, rather than being obnoxious and belligerent toward other members of the boards (for example, calling them ignorant when it is clearly you who are in left field) why don’t you just post your best advice for the OP and move on. Sometimes I do think that I have a better idea than someone else. Sometimes others have better ideas than me. It is a simple matter to say what you think the OP ought to do and move on without directing your comments as insults at others. As it stands nothing that you are doing is helping anyone at all. It is just obnoxious and belligerent.

I am here to help and if that involves educating others that are giving advice will help them also.

What you are saying is far from education. You seem to think that people don’t know about stuff like scanners, B codes, FSMs and TSBs. But most people here do know all about it. A problem with a blower motor does not necessitate anything special. It might eventually if something really strange were going on. But it is completely ridiculous faced with a blower problem to, for instance, not simply check the connection to the blower before anything else.

You started off by saying people would lose their jobs quickly by doing simple things like checking connections. Instead you went on about TSBs, FSMs, and scanners. I’ll lay odds that you’re much more likely to lose a job in auto repair if you need a scanner and FSM to solve a simple blower problem. I have solved multiple blower system problems without any guessing or blind parts replacement at all, and with what you seem to call “1960s” techniques. These things are very easy to figure out. Your logic leaves only one answer to every repair and maintenance question: take it to the dealer service department so they can check for TSBs, put it on a scanner and look up what to do in the FSM. Maybe you should write the manufacturer’s owner manuals since they are also fond of saying “take it to your nearest dealer location.”

I would also lay odds that 9/10 dealer service workers are not starting out by putting a car on scanner for a blower problem. Its a simple 12V electric fan.

So anyway, climb down off of your high horse. What you have offered here does not count - even a little bit - as education. You are not some automotive guru at whose feet all others ought to sit. If you want to help posters with their car questions then have it. But you have nothing special to offer the regulars here. Or if, on occasion you think that you do, a small does of manners would go a long way.