There are few things that scare Florida drivers more than a malfunctioning vehicle air conditioner. For all but the toughest drivers, driving in Florida without air conditioning is simply not an option. Often the symptoms you see are evidence of a more serious and costly problem inside the AC system.
Adding more freon is just a temporary fix, and modern emissions standards require addressing the leak problem rather than just adding more coolant to a leaky system. Fortunately, it is not always a problem with the compressor. There are a number of less serious problems that can affect the performance of your air conditioning system, and these can be identified with a routine system check.
Because very few cars have warning lights for malfunctioning air conditioner systems, it is important to consider the symptom and report it accurately to your mechanic. Future posts will consider temperature issues, but the symptom for today is weak airflow.
If your problem is weak airflow from the air conditioning vents, the cause might be a minor problem that is relatively easy to fix if addressed early. Air conditioning systems rely heavily on several seals, at the evaporator, the core case and the blower hose. If the seals open at any of these spots, the airflow to the vents is diluted, and the entire AC system is weakened.
Because of all the moisture involved in the cooling process, it is common for mold or mildew to accumulate in the evaporator core. This can disrupt the airflow, but it is easy to address and much less expensive than some of the possible alternatives. A broken fan is another AC problem that would seriously disrupt your airflow, but would be easy to fix.
If you notice that your airflow is weak, pray that it is simply a hose that has come loose. This is most likely with the blower hose that supplies air to the blower unit. This would be the easiest repair, not even requiring any replacement parts.