Chevy Equinox A/C has a mind of its own

Hello all, I really hope someone out there can help me, since I can’t seem to get anywhere with local repair people…

I have a 2008 Chevrolet Equinox, and for a long time the air conditioner has had a mind of its own. The main problem is that it will switch back and forth between recycle mode and intake mode randomly. It has been doing this for years, but the problem has gotten considerably worse this summer. Often times when I’m driving home from work (about a 10 minute trip), it will do this 15-20 times.

Here are the main symptoms of the problem:
-switches between recycle and intake randomly
-turns a/c light (compressor) off and on when switching
-sometimes, when in recycle mode, it will not allow me to put it back to intake mode
-the problem seems to be worse when it is hotter, and when I am driving below 35 mph or so (especially bad when stopped)
-when stopped, the air being blown out is not very cold, and sometimes downright hot

About a month or so ago, I added refrigerant to the system because the air wasn’t always getting cold. This seemed to help the temperature of the air - when the system is pushing out cold air - but didn’t solve the problems listed above…

I had the A/C tested by the dealership when it was still under warranty (a few years ago), and they couldn’t find anything wrong. I also had it tested weeks ago by Firestone, who told me the same thing.

Recently I learned that my mother’s former car, a Chevy Malibu, had the same symptoms (we also shared another problem: when our windshield wipers are in delay mode, the time between wipes will often randomly be longer or shorter…if anyone has any info on this, I would also appreciate it, but it’s not as big of a problem). I don’t know if this is a systemic problem with the electrical systems in Chevrolets or what, but I can tell you in the heat of the summer it’s very annoying to constantly have the speed and temperature of your A/C changing on you. If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Attached are two videos: one showing the switching problem, and another showing me trying to put the A/C in intake mode. Please let me know if you need any more information from me, and thanks!

We had a Malibu that had the same problem… It was the HEATER CONTROL MODULE for the HVAC system. Basically this is the computer that conrols the HVAC… Its kind of a common problem from what I have been told, I think it was a $300 repair if I recall.

Thanks for the info - do you know if this is a repair I could do myself?

Also, what are the chances Chevy would fix it for me since I had them try to figure this out while my warranty was still good?

I am sure you can, I think its a plug and play device once you get the new one and find the old one.

As for Chevy covering it from a few years ago?? Slim to none… Forget the slim… None

If you have an problem with a car in warranty, you have to keep saying something and documenting it untill they fix it… One time is not going to cut it

Engine Controls - A/C Not Cold Enough/Int. Operation


Bulletin No.: 08-01-38-003

Date: June 23, 2008

Air Conditioning Not Cold Enough, Intermittent A/C Operation Or Occasional Warm Air From Instrument Panel Air Outlets (Reprogram ECM)

2008 Chevrolet Equinox
2008 Pontiac Torrent

with 3.4L Engine (VIN F - RPO LNJ)

Built Prior to VIN Breakpoint 86075512


Some customers may comment that the air conditioning (A/C) is not cold enough. Others may comment on intermittent A/C operation or occasional warm air from the instrument panel air outlets.


This condition may be caused by a software anomaly that causes the compressor to stay off for too long.


A revised calibration has been developed to address this condition. Technicians are to reprogram the Engine Control Module (ECM) using SPS with the latest software available on TIS2WEB. Refer to the Engine Control Module Programming and Setup (LNJ) procedure in SI for more information. As always, make sure your Tech 2® is updated with the latest software version.

Warranty Information

For vehicles repaired under warranty, use the table.

Thanks for that TSB! I’ll see if my local Chevy dealership can help me out with that.