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Air conditioning works briefly

I am having a frustrating air conditioning issue I hope I can get help with. My 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid has 120,000 miles.

For the last month or two, when the air conditioning is in use, it initially blows cold air at me, but after some time, generally 5-30 minutes of driving, the air gets warmer until it’s uncomfortable in my car. If I turn off the fan for a while, then turn it back on, it will again initially blow cold, then go warm again.

I have brought it to the dealer multiple times, and it always seems to work when they are running it, or briefly driving it.

They have checked the coolant level and have checked for leaks, nothing found. The cooling system was flushed, no help. They replaced a mix mode motor (?), no help. They replaced a relay, no help.

Any ideas of what this could be? I’m not handy myself, but I’d love to get this fixed, either by my dealer or someone else.



Coolant has nothing to do with AC. Coolant cools your engine, an entirely seperate system with pressurized refrigerant cools your tootsies.

Take it to a shop that specializes in automotive AC, They’ll assess the system for leaks, fix them, recharge the system, and you’ll be on your way with cool tootsies again.

Hmmm… my invoice says “cooling system fluid exchange (2gal)” and “Coolant (typ2 blue)”. I told them this was an A/C issue. Did they do the wrong thing, or did I explain myself poorly before?

And do you believe this is a leakage issue then? They claim I have 1.20 lbs of refrigerant. That is normal or not?

Thanks again,

two gallons mixed is what I’d expect a normal cooling system to take. Someone may have made a boo-boo. But if it’s been a long time since yo had your coolant drained and refilled it may have been a good idea anyway.

Yeah, I suspect a leakage issue, but of the AC refrigerant and not the coolant. Assuming my guess is right, an AC shop will probably put a UV flourescing dye in the AC system, identify the leak((s), and fix them. Hopefully they won’t be internal to a component that’ll need replacing.

The dealer has done the fluorescent dye thing, and found no leak. Is it more likely they missed a leak, or that I have a different problem?

I really appreciate your help so far, btw.

It could be either. An AC shop would be your next step.

OK, last stupid question (so I hope). How do I know if a car shop is an AC specialist?

A Google search of my town (Freehold, NJ) for auto or car air conditioning specialists does not turn up anything at all nearby. My local Yellow Pages lists, under Automobile Air Conditioning - Sales & Service, one local shop I’d not heard of and isn’t in the mechanics files here, as well as a Meineke. Should I pick one of those, then?

Thanks once again.

I’d avoid the Meineke. I’d try the other shop.

:slight_smile: OK, thanks.


This does sound like a evaporator freeze-up.A check of pressures (when does the compressor cut out?) or perhaps just replace the low pressure cut-off switch.

Should I tell the repair shop to look into that possibility? Would it be easy for them to figure it out?


Your description led me to that conclusion,just describe the situation the same way. Present the evaporator freeze up in a way that makes them think they thought of it,have you ever heard of the “not invented here mentality”? some shops resist any idea they did not come up with. Keep the idea in your pocket,until it is time.


My schedule finally allowed me to drop off the car for a couple of days. There were two guys at the desk. The one I was talking to seemed fine to check out the car. The guy next to him said “if the dealer couldn’t figure it out, we’re not going to find anything.” I’m not sure if I should be amused or depressed.

I’ll let you all know if they find anything.


Well, they said the Freon (I know, not really Freon) was low, and was replaced, although they couldn’t find a leak. They did replace a couple of valves (?), and said it was working fine for them. I guess I’ll find out next time I’m on the highway if they actually fixed anything.