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Low Air Flow From AC Vents – Auto Repair Tips/Tools

9:52 am Air Conditioning, DIY, How To Auto Repair

Leaves accumulated near the fresh air intake can enter the car’s evaporator case.

© DenLorsTools.com Summary: Article on low flow from air conditioning vents in cars. Neglected cabin air filters are the leading cause of this issue. Although, there are several things that can cause low airflow from a vehicle’s air conditioning system. The strongest blowing vents are the middle ones with the setting adjusted to maximum or recirculate. On the max setting, the air is recirculated in the passenger compartment. Obstructions can include leaves, loose articles from the glove-box, a broken or out of position door in the Heating Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) case.

Most people don’t realize that many vehicles come with a cabin air filter. One of the first things to check for when experiencing low airflow is to see if the car has a cabin air filter and if it does, check to see if it’s dirty. The cabin air filter is very similar to a home air-conditioning filter just on a smaller scale. Like the home air-conditioning filter, the cabin air filter for a car can become dirty and restrict air flow. In addition to the dirt and pollen, a car’s air-conditioning filter can also be obstructed by leaves. This is especially true if the car is regularly parked under trees. A quick check in the vehicles owner’s manual should reveal if the car has one and where it is located.

Usually cabin air filters are found in the following locations

  1. Many BMW car’s and some others are located under the hood just below the windshield.
  2. Numerous autos have the filter located behind the glove box.
  3. On many Chrysler vehicles there’s a thin removable panel on the passenger side, lower portion of the evaporator case (behind dash panel) to access the filter. This is a good place since debris like leaves will settle in the bottom and can be easily cleaned out when the filter is being changed.

Glove compartments usually aren’t sealed off, this can allow items to fall out the back. 

Overflowing glove compartments – noisy blower motor

The air return is usually located behind the glove box. Sometimes with an “over full” glove box; contents like napkins, vehicle registration or anything else can fall out of the back of the compartment when it is closed and can be drawn into the air return. If this happens, the air flowing into the return can be restricted causing less air to blow out of the vents. If debris ends up traveling all the way to the blower fan, vibration and a low flow will be the result. Just one leaf in a blower motor fan can cause noise and vibration. On some cars the glove box door can be unhooked and swung down to check for articles that may have fallen out of the glove compartment; with some luck the obstruction could be on the outside of the air return. Other times the blower motor may need to be removed and any foreign debris removed. The fan attached to the blower motor is round and sometimes called a squirrel cage, due to it looking a lot like a hamster exercise wheel. On numerous vehicles the blower motor is fairly simple to remove, with others it can be quite a task. If it can’t be determined how big of a job it is to remove the blower motor by just looking at it, a service manual can be checked to see how involved it is on the particular model. Even the labor time can indicate if it’s an easy job or more involved. A lot of times a noisy or vibrating blower motor is remedied simply by removing it, cleaning it and reinstalling it.

More serious problems

It’s good to start with the basics but if the cabin air filter and the blower are not the cause of low airflow, then an actuator or HVAC door could be the problem. Sometimes an actuator which is a small electric motor or vacuum operated device for moving the doors within the case can fail. Without the actuators working properly the air isn’t directed the way it’s supposed to go causing low airflow or incorrect airflow. Other times the door itself can break causing similar problems. If the fresh air/recirculate door breaks, it can sometimes fall down over the blower fan almost restricting the airflow completely.

 

Question – I have no airflow. Someone told me the resistor might have gone out. The blower motor does not run at all, can you help?

Answer – Usually with a bad blower resistor, the high speed would still work; so I wouldn’t suspect that is your problem. The most common causes would either be a bad blower motor or a poor connection at the electrical plug (that goes to the blower motor).

Question - I have a 2006 Pontiac GTP, I can’t see any screws holding the blower motor – how do I change it?

Answer - The blower motor plastic housing has to be cut to remove it. There is a thin groove to guide the cut, use a hot knife to easily cut it. Be careful and stay within the groove though because the plastic housing will be re-used with the replacement motor.

Question - I have plenty of airflow, but the air is not cold – any suggestions?

Answer  -Start with checking the pressure readings for the AC system. Most of the time if the air conditioning is not cold, it’s because of low refrigerant.

Question – I have a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee with dual zone AC. Why would the passenger side AC be hot and the driver’s side is cold?

Answer - Sounds like there is either a bad actuator or a faulty blend door, see our auto repair tech article covering this common problem with Grand Cherokee broken blend doors.

If there are questions related to “Low Air Flow From AC Vents – Auto Repair Tips and Tools” that weren’t covered, feel free to ask your question below – only truly relevant questions will be published. Thanks.

Related Car Repair Articles and Products

Adding Freon to Car AC – Gauge Readings Explained

Car AC Not Blowing Cold Air – Charging Tips and FAQ’s

Other AC Articles


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97 Responses
  1. Heather :

    Date: September 2, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    I have a 1995 subaru legacy l and now when I try to use the air/heat options, I hear it blowing but it does not come out of the two center vents. It only comes out of the vents used for defrosting the windshield. What has happened and how can I fix it?

  2. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 2, 2009 @ 8:48 pm

    Heather, there could be a door actuator issue or possibly a vacuum leak. Repair manual information would need to be checked to delve deeper if the problem is more than just vacuum leak.

  3. Sally :

    Date: October 16, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    I have a 1999 Toyota Camry and I’m noticing that the air flow for the two driver-side vents is less forceful than the air flow coming from the two passenger-side vents. What would cause this differentiation?

  4. Michelle Walker :

    Date: December 3, 2009 @ 12:58 am

    I have a 2007 chevy Suburban. Air flow only goes to defrost vents except when it is placed to be going out the front vents! Where should I start?

  5. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 3, 2009 @ 7:18 am

    Michelle, Your problem isn’t really low flow, rather incorrect airflow. The first thing I would do is check an on-line auto repair manual for your specific vehicle and get an idea of how the system works on your Suburban and also check for TSB’s. It may be a calibration issue or a control head problem. Another idea would be to ask a GM dealership technician using our questions/answers page – dealing with specific models many times the dealer tech may know exactly what the problem is if it is a common problem.

  6. Gerald :

    Date: July 7, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

    I have a 2001 jeep grand cherokee, it blows cold air out, but even at high it barely blows any air. I’ve noticed lately that when the ac is running the passenger side hums. It seems to be getting louder. I know the motor is on that side and my main question is what’s the best way to get to it so I can figure out what is wrong. Thanks.

  7. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 7, 2010 @ 8:12 pm

    Gerald, you’re in luck. We have a recent article on a Jeep Grand Cherokee low airflow problem like yours. It most likely has to do with a broken door that is above the blower. To see the article click the following link.

    Jeep Grand Cherokee Low Flow from blower.

  8. Derek :

    Date: August 18, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    Have a 2004 acura tl. The air seems to be blowing with less force and not quite as cool. My car takes forever to cool off. Sometimes the air starts blowing what feels like outside air and I have to turn the air off and wait a couple minutes and turn it back on and it will work again. Kind of like I’m resetting it. Also the air seems to blow a little harder when I’m accelerating or driving compared to when I stopped at a light. Any ideas? Sounds almost like multiple problems.

  9. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 19, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    Derek, Yes, it does sound like different issues. Gauge readings would need to be checked to see what’s going on with the AC system.

    See this article for more info:

    AC Gauge Readings Explained

    The blower may fluctuate a little normally depending on the RPM’s. It is also possible it is starting to fail.

  10. Andy Watson :

    Date: September 5, 2010 @ 1:49 am

    I have a 1999 Jeep Cherokee, it blows cold air fine and the power is good but it blows only onto the windscreen no matter what I set the air direction knob to?

  11. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 5, 2010 @ 8:46 am

    Andy, Sounds like a vacuum leak. Check the vacuum line that goes through the firewall near the heater hoses. Sometimes the vacuum line can leak due to the plastic line getting brittle and breaking. If there’s a vacuum leak the air mode selection usually defaults to defrost.

  12. ashley :

    Date: August 19, 2011 @ 1:07 am

    I have a mazda 3 my ac does not blow out cold it blows its just not cold do u think it could be my cabin air filter I have not changed it in 2 years

  13. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 19, 2011 @ 6:20 am

    Ashley, the cabin air filter would reduce the amount of flow if it was too dirty – it would not make the air not blow cold. You may want to see some of our other AC articles (particularly on low refrigerant, adding freon and leak detection), the most common cause of the A/C not blowing cold is low refrigerant. Good Luck.

  14. Mariposa :

    Date: October 3, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    I need help, big time. I have a a 2002 Honda Odyssey Van. The front air-conditioning was not blowing any air at all last Thursday. It was dead. On Friday, the auto-shop told me that I need a new blower. It is replaced today. There is air blowing from the side vents but not the center vents. The mechanics told that it is probably not strong, that’s it. I was like no way, before it was broken, it blows strong till it died totally on Thursday. The rear air vents are working fine. The only way for the center vents to work is to press the button to blow to the “face/upper” vents. I wonder if the mechanic screwed up something like accidentally misplaced something or while replacing the blower, something came loose and the they are not aware of it. Please help.

  15. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 3, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

    Mariposa, seems like too much of a coincidence. The mechanic should retrace his steps to verify that nothing was accidentally disconnected or hooked up incorrectly. It’s important to know that some aftermarket blowers come without the pigtail (electrical connector) so they can be accidentally hooked up backwards resulting in a normal sounding fan but very little airflow. I installed an aftermarket blower one time that had an electrical plug but it was wired backwards from the remanufacturing plant. It was strange that the blower sounded normal but had very little air coming out of the vents. After flip flopping the wires in the plug,and plugging it back in, the blower worked great.
    If I were checking your vehicle, I would study the system. You have to understand the system before beginning to trouble shoot any problems – otherwise you are depending totally on random luck. I wish I could be of more help. Good Luck.

  16. Ashley :

    Date: October 7, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

    Can a punctured air conditioner condenser cause air from the two middle vents to be blocked? It comes out of the two side vents just fine, as well as from the floor, and also the defrost vents… Please help!

  17. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 7, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

    Ashley, A punctured condenser would cause low freon and no cooling but would have no affect on airflow through vents. Good Luck.

  18. Michael :

    Date: July 13, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

    My daughter has a 99 Sunfire that wasn’t cooling. We just replaced the compressor, but the air flow isn’t powerful at all – barely anything. Suggestions? I really want to get this taken care of for her. Thank you!

  19. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 13, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    Michael, no common problems come to mind for the Pontiac Sunfire, besides the blower resistor for certain fan speeds. Since that’s not what you’re describing, could just be dirt accumulation on the evaporator fins (there’s no cabin air filter). Imagine a home AC system with no air filter since 1999? Could also be leaves in the blower motor area. I would remove the blower motor and clean out debris that I could reach. Maybe that will be enough to get some air flowing. Good Luck.

  20. Temperance :

    Date: August 6, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    I have a 2004 Isuzu Ascender. My ac worked just fine then it quit blowing out of the face setting. Anytime you switch it to that setting it blows out of the feet.. its still strong and good and cold and when you switch it to vent it blows to vent and when you switch it to feet it blows there too like its supposed to. The middle ones are not working. I can put my hand up to the vents and feel very small amout of air not even noticeable unless you are completley still. Any advice?

  21. Temperance :

    Date: August 6, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    we had just put a brand new battery on it 2days before it quit blowing outta the middle vents.

  22. Jorge Arbona :

    Date: August 14, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    I have exactly the same situation as Temperance. I parked the Ascender one night. The next day in the morning I disconected the battery to clean the base. When I installed the system back,the air condition only blows thru the feet vents.
    Any suggestios ?

  23. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 14, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Other than trying disconnecting the battery again to reset – I would check for climate control trouble codes with a scan tool. Good Luck.

  24. Kyle :

    Date: September 2, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

    Just replaced ac motor but it is not blowing out the vents what can I do to fix it

  25. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 3, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    Kyle, Since there isn’t really a part called an “AC Motor” I don’t have enough information to help. Not aware of what year or model you are working on – you may have replaced one of the actuators, the blower/fan motor or the compressor. Perhaps a repair manual is a good place to start. Good Luck.

  26. Manpreet :

    Date: September 7, 2012 @ 3:16 am

    Hi
    In my Mazda 6 2005, air flow from the driver side vents is much less as compared to the co-passenger side vents. The cooling is reletively fine, only the air flow is very less.
    can you please advise as what could be the reason and how it can be rectified.

    Thanks

  27. Mike :

    Date: October 19, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    I have a 2009 Ford Escape. The cabin air flow now only works on setting #4. It previously completely worked. Then only on 2-4 then 3-4 and now only 4. I went to replace the cabin air filter and it had none. I did put one in. What would be my next step?

  28. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 19, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Mike, the blower or fan not blowing on certain speeds is usually a bad “blower resistor”. Sometimes it could also be because of the switch itself, but much less often. The cabin filter would not complete stop particular speeds – a dirty filter might slow down over-all flow. Good Luck.

  29. Q :

    Date: October 26, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    My heat and air conditioner stopped working. After replacing the blower motor the heat and air conditioner is working but it seems as if air is barely blowing out. My coolant level is fine and I changed my cabin air filter what can be the problem?

  30. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 27, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    If airflow was good before the old blower stopped working, I would check the wiring on the replacement blower motor. On aftermarket blower motors, I’ve seen the two wires reversed making the blower turn backwards. Good Luck.

  31. Katie :

    Date: February 6, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    I have a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee – The airflow on the driver side (especially through the ground vents) is extremely low compared to the passenger side. It’s most notable on the ground vents but all vents on the passenger side have more airflow. Any ideas?

  32. Katie :

    Date: February 6, 2013 @ 10:56 am

    side note to my above comment. Heating and cooling do not seem to be an issue, it’s just the airflow on the driver side is super low. Thanks.

  33. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 6, 2013 @ 11:06 am

    Katie, dual zone Jeep Grand Cherokees have a common problem with the doors breaking. See our article on a DIY type fix if this is the problem by clicking the following – Grand Cherokee Blend Door Fix.

  34. YolandaT :

    Date: March 19, 2013 @ 1:59 am

    I had my waterpump and transmission changed back-to-back on my 2002 Chevy Suburban in February. I picked up my suburban and the next day it was cold in the morning so I turned the heater on and noticed that it was stuck on defrost. I called the maintenance place and told them but they made me seem like an idiot and said they had nothing to do with it. It is now March (happy cuz my defrost won’t warm the cabin faster than the dash vent)and here in Cali I am now using the a/c through the defrost. And I just noticed after using the a/c that there is a huge leak coming from underneath my ride. I don’t know what to do.

  35. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 19, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    It’s common in many situations in life for people to snap back and be very defensive when they are accused of being at fault for something (if they really are at fault or not). Not saying that the shop was at fault, but a better way of handling this would have been to have the shop look at the problem as soon as the problem was discovered. Asking them if it’s possible that something was inadvertently disturbed when work was being done, causing the issue. When I worked at repair shops in the past, I was much more accommodating when customers were reasonable and well… nice. Their tone would many times dictate how I responded.

    Sounds like there could be a vacuum leak going to the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning) system. Since the controls use vacuum motors to control the mode, a vacuum leak (lack of vacuum) can cause the system to default to the defrost vents. The huge leak underneath the vehicle after running the AC is most likely just water from normal condensation draining off the evaporator. Just like the house AC drips while it’s operating normally. Good Luck.

  36. AnthonyD :

    Date: April 10, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

    2003 chevy express van 1500 4.3 v6

    A/C blows cold. All fan speeds work fine, or appear to work fine, meaning the motor does change speeds when a selection is made, and there are 4 speeds. In the past when A/C was selected on the dial it blew cold air, but not nearly as much air as the max A/C setting. I know that is because Max means recirculate. The doors all seem to work fine when whichever one is selected. I’ve had vacuum lines separate in the past, and I could hear them pulling in air. Once put back together things went back to normal. Lately the Max setting doesn’t blow any harder than the outside A/C setting, but the fan door opens inside so it gets louder, and the outer door closes. I used a tissue to verify it wasn’t blowing out the cowl intake entrance. I can’t figure it out. I took the blower motor housing apart and found lots of leaves and dirt, and the coil in there was pretty filthy but still no improvement after all of that. I have even tried using a blower while i had the system opened up to blast out anything that might be lodged in the duct work. No luck. What the heck is wrong? 120K miles, could the motor just be too weak at this point to blow harder? It seems like it is pulling in a massive amount of air so where is all of it going??? Can’t find a separation in the dash, and there is no cabin air filter, as that was my first guess since the airflow doesn’t increase beyond a certain point. This thing would literally blow you out of the seat when it was newer, so much so it was difficult to find a happy medium temperature so it was high and low high and low and everything in between. Never a problem and then I noticed there was not much air coming out. What is coming out is very cold so I am assuming that the levels are ok. I would be very grateful for any ideas in troubleshooting this. I notice that when the engine is under more extreme conditions like pulling a trailer on the highway that the blower actually almost stops. Not sure why that is either, but it usually comes right back on once I back off the gas and reduce the load.

  37. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 11, 2013 @ 7:45 am

    Anthony, Unfortunately on vehicles that are not equipped with cabin air filters, all the pollen and leaves could end up further in the evap case blocking the flow on the evaporator and/or heater core themselves. This would require more work to access with a shop vacuum and compressed air to clean. The other thing I wanted to point out is that the AC compressor will turn off while the engine is under load, making any air that is still making it’s way through the vents not very cold. This is normal. As far as the blower motor slowing down, it is also normal for the speed to vary a little when other electrical demands change. Good Luck.

    For other readers; in case they do have a cabin air filter (or “filters” plural-because there could be two side by side) they could be dirty and restrict a lot of air flow. See the video for instructions on how to change the cabin air filters on a pick-up trucks and possible Chevrolet vans too between 1999-2002.

  38. Joey :

    Date: April 20, 2013 @ 9:48 am

    I have a 1993 C1500 Pickup. AC works fine when driving, but fan has no-to-low air flow at a full stop. Any suggestion as to the cause?

  39. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: April 20, 2013 @ 10:09 am

    Although it’s common for the speed to slow down a little when the idle is low and the alternator is putting out less voltage; 1. I would test the battery and charging system. A marginal battery or charging system could cause this. 2. The blower motor could be failing. I would tap lightly on the motor to see if it speeds up temporarily. If it speeds up plan on replacing the blower motor soon.

  40. Gilbert :

    Date: May 12, 2013 @ 12:08 am

    I have a 94 Camry the ac air will blow from the defrost and the floor and the side vents but not from the middle vents. Any idea on how I can fix it?

  41. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 12, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    Gilbert, sounds like the linkage for changing the vent direction may have broken and disengaged. I would operate the controls changing where the air should go and look for movement from the actuator (door motor). I would look up from the driver’s side with a flash light towards the center. Some plastic trim may need to be removed to gain access. Years ago I worked on a car that had a similar problem. I found where the cams and linkage had came apart. Good Luck.

  42. mike :

    Date: May 27, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

    Dennis i have a 1996 mercury grand marquis with low air flow from the driver side vents. There is no cabin air filter in this car. You mention the the evap case above.
    Thanks You Sir for any help.
    Mike

  43. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: May 28, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

    Mike, the case could be full of leaves/trash. I would remove the blower for access and check. Good Luck.

  44. rickl :

    Date: June 8, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    Dennis, I have 2003 Chrysler Town and Country with Auto Temp Control. When I drive at speed (say over 50 mph) for 40 minutes or more the air in the vents goes down to near if not nothing and most of the air comes through the floor. Moving the mode switch does nothing. The actuator door motors and the ATC control have been replaced. I’ve ran the calibration. No fault sets. I’ve watched the actuator to the mode door (the gears rather)when it was failing and the motor seems to follow the mode switch fine but the air flow doesn’t change. Everyone wants to replace the new (1 year old) ATC control. Could something weird be happening mechanically with the door inside? Also when messing around under the dash I notice that air is always blowing out of the intake filter. Even when recirc is on. Any hints?

  45. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 8, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    Rick, since there are no fault codes and the problem does not occur until after you’ve driven quite awhile, I suspect that the evaporator is freezing up. Normally the water that collects on the evaporator drains off and drips under the vehicle. If the evaporator reaches 32 degrees for an extended period of time the water freezes. The ice will form a shield not allowing the air to be forced through, which could be the reason the air is blowing out the intake. The temp sensor probe (called a thermistor) is supposed to signal the controller an accurate temp reading so the compressor will cycle, preventing freezing up. I’ve replaced those sensors before for this reason. I’ve also just re-positioned the probe to get the compressor to cycle and not cause evaporator freeze up.

    Example of a thermistor or temp sensor in an evaporator.

  46. Amanda :

    Date: June 13, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

    I have an 01 Dodge Caravan Sport. When I turn my ac or heater on it makes an weird humming noise as if I can hear the fan motor but loud. It still blows cold air and hot heat. And after a few minutes the noise gets a little quieter doesn’t go away but gets quieter. What could this be?

  47. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 13, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    Amanda, could just be the blower motor bearings wearing out or leaves and debris obstructing the fan blade. Good Luck.

  48. Amanda :

    Date: June 14, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    If its the blower motor is this something located under the glove box or under the hood? If the bearing is going out would the whole blower motor have to be replaced?

  49. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 14, 2013 @ 11:25 am

    Amanda, blower motors on most vehicles are behind the dash on the passenger side. There are a few that are accessed from the engine compartment under the hood. I would look up repair manual instructions to R&R (remove and replace) the blower motor for your specific model. Use a manual like Alldata, that can be accessed online.

    Like I mentioned there may have leaves inside the case touching the spining fan causing the noise. If the blower motor bearings are faulty the whole motor would be replaced not just the bearings.

  50. matthew :

    Date: June 19, 2013 @ 9:01 am

    2005 Chrysler Town & Country
    Air stopped blowing this morning. Turned blower up to highest setting, and it started coming out slow, but still cold. Uncle thinks it might be compressor freezing up.

  51. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 19, 2013 @ 9:23 am

    Matthew, the compressor freezing up is not a common issue and would not restrict airflow. The compressor just pumps refrigerant and does not directly have anything to do with airflow.

    Problems with the Blower

    1. Occurs at all times; The blower is not making any noise at all except for on high speed, indicates a faulty blower resistor.
    2. Occurs after the vehicle has been ran with the AC on for awhile; The blower continues to make it’s normal sound but is not moving air, may indicate an iced up evaporator blocking all or most of the airflow.
    3. No sound on any speed obviously indicates a bad blower motor. Double check by making sure power and ground are supplied to the motor.

  52. Rebecca :

    Date: June 28, 2013 @ 12:04 am

    Hey, Dennis- Of the countless websites I’ve searched, I’m going to give commenting on this one a shot.

    I have a 2010 Toyota Yaris. No previous issues. I noticed what I later decided was the AC fan making a strange sound; like a bag stuck on a fan or something- Every time I make left turns. Then, came the mildewy, old wet bathing suit smell in my car. I finally realized the passenger seat floor was soaked.

    The condensation water drips from the AC when it’s on, and mostly when I make left turns (at least it seems more so when taking lefts.)…

    The hose attached to the upper left corner of the floor under the carpeted area is not clogged, it looks just perfect. The water is dripping from beneath the glove compartment which on further inspection appears to be coming from what I now know is the blower motor… Somewhere there.

    A possible important fact: When I went to take a good look by removing the slightly hanging paneling beneath the glove compartment, my long-lost hair brush fell out. It had been in the glove compartment and obviously fell behind it, and through where the AC is. It didn’t look like anything was broken or “undone” up inside there, though. I am wondering if something else may have fallen into the blower, is causing a blockage THERE, and that is why it’s leaking from there.

    If you can, please help a girl out- I am trying to learn more about cars, and unfortunately I don’t have very much money so I am REALLY hoping this is something I can pinpoint and fix on my own. I’d appreciate any feedback… !

    Thank you so much in advance..!

    -Rebecca

  53. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 28, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    Rebecca, thanks for commenting and providing as much info as you could. It is true that sometimes items from the glove box can get drawn into the evaporator case through the air return. Fast food napkins stored in the glove compartment are light enough to get sucked in, if the air return is situated close enough and the back of the glove box is an open design. Most likely though, there is some build up from leaves/dirt blocking the drain. Even-though it is draining it may not be draining fast enough to prevent water from building up in the evaporator case. In conditions of high humidity this problem is much more prevalent. That’s why no one in dry climates like in Arizona for example, usually have to worry about this problem. Just a side note; As I’m writing this, Arizona is expecting a near record high temperature of a 130 degrees. The only temp hotter there was back a hundred years ago reaching 134! And I though mid 90′s in Florida was hot.

    How to Clear the Drain
    If the hose cannot be removed completely I would try cleaning the drain out with a metal hanger when I knew there was enough water inside to be sloshing around. It could be stopped up just inside the case where the hose attaches to. If the drain is cleared, water will come gushing out. If that doesn’t do the trick, the blower motor could be removed and debris removed with a wet shop vacuum. Further flushing can be done with a water hose, being careful not to drench electrical components. Read more on this in our article on AC Water Leaking Inside the Car. Good Luck.

  54. mkaram :

    Date: June 29, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

    I have a 1998 S320 .Ac is working except that the air is cooler on the right middle vent than the left one

  55. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 29, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    Most likely cause is low refrigerant. See our ac gauge readings explained article for more information. Good Luck.

  56. louis H :

    Date: June 29, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

    I have a 1999 jeep Cherokee 2wd 4cyl 2.5l . My blower doesn’t come on sometime when I start my car up. I tap under the dash by the glove box with the back end of a screwdriver a few times it will come on. it doesn’t blow as hard as it should. but when I make a left turn it blows harder. can u tell me what the cause is????

  57. louis H :

    Date: June 30, 2013 @ 12:27 am

    I also noticed when I first start my jeep after its been sitting still (cold) the blower blows strong although I still have to hit it sometimes to get the fan to come on. Im a pizza delivery driver and I drive my jeep about 4 to six hours per shift and near the end of my shift is when the blower gets weaker and does what I said in the first comment above

  58. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: June 30, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

    Most likely the motor failing. I would also inspect the connectors and resistor when replacing the motor. Good Luck.

  59. mkaram :

    Date: July 1, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    HIGH
    2004 QX56
    I have removed the AC filters located behind the glove box and cleaned them and before I put them back I switched the car and the AC on to the maximum for about one minute .Does this cause any problems as I have noticed that the AC is cooler on the left vents than the other right ones.Should the arrows on the filters be heading downwards or upwards?
    THANK YOU

  60. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 1, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    The most common cause of a difference in temperatures from side to side is low refrigerant. Check out our AC gauge readings explained article. The arrows should face down on the 2004 to 2010 QX56. Good Luck.

  61. RVK :

    Date: July 3, 2013 @ 4:05 am

    My 2000 Toyota Camry LE delivers air only when set to the max flow. At lower settings it gives little or no air. It heats or cools only when set to max position. How do i fix it? Or do I need to take it to a shop?

  62. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 3, 2013 @ 6:35 am

    The blower not working except for on high is usually the blower resistor. Good Luck.

  63. darlene :

    Date: July 15, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    I have a 1998 Toyota Camry. The blower was plugged with pine needles so I had it replaced. The side vents have air flow restriction. I believe the ducts may be full of pine needles. How can I access to clean them out? Thank you

  64. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: July 16, 2013 @ 7:54 am

    Darlene, unfortunately there is no cabin air filter for the 1998 Toyota Camry. But except for a very small amount, usually debris will not make it past the blower motor, evaporator and heater core. Some people may suggest removing the blower motor and to use of a leaf blower or compressed air from an air compressor to blow the pine needles out of the ducts and through the opening where the blower mounts. I do not recommend this because the fins for the vents could be broken and it’s possible that the HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) doors could be broken as well with too much force of air. Besides like I said previously, it’s not common for leaves and debris to make it that far into the duct work. A more common issue is having a blockage of air flow that affects all the vents, usually at the evaporator core or heater core. I would have a knowledgeable mechanic in your area check the ducts with an inspection scope. If the ducts are clear he can then check actuators, cams and doors that divert the air to the outer vents. It could be just a control issue and not plugged ducts after-all. Be sure when calling to set up an appointment with a local shop that they have either a video inspection scope or a bore-scope and have experience working on HVAC systems. Good Luck.

  65. norma :

    Date: August 3, 2013 @ 8:01 pm

    My ac knobs seems stuck on the front and feet vents i cant get it back to just the fron vents so now the pressure is divided between the 2positions. Any advice on how to fix that?

  66. Ryan :

    Date: August 19, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    I have a 09 Dodge Journey and no matter what position I put the mode to: defrost, vent or floor it hardly blows any air. I can hear the blower motor running and hear it change speeds with the switch but low or high it seems like it’s stuck in low.

  67. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 19, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

    The first thing I would check is the cabin air filter.

  68. Santos :

    Date: August 22, 2013 @ 4:06 am

    2008 ford fusion.

    I’m on a road trip to Texas from Chicago. Air was working great. I stopped to get some food hopped back in and the air flow from my vents were very poor. 1/2 hour later there is no air flow at all. I can hear the blower motor running. Any suggestions?

  69. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: August 22, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    Santos, the only thing I can think of (without being there to inspect the car) is that perhaps a napkin from the food stop has gotten drawn into the fresh air return from the glove box. I would check the cabin air filter (behind the glove box) to see if a paper, a napkin or something like that is blocking the airflow. It wouldn’t just be a dirty cabin air filter because that would start to restrict flow over time as it became dirty. Something large like paper could block flow drastically all at once. Good Luck.

  70. Desh :

    Date: September 16, 2013 @ 11:01 am

    Hi Dennis,

    I have a 1999 Toyota Corolla VE. It’s air flow and AC were running great until they stopped suddenly while I was on the road. There is no air flow. And if I turn on the AC, I can hear a change in engine sound and feel a bit of cold if I put my hand near to the vent. Any suggestion? Thank you very much in advance.

  71. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: September 16, 2013 @ 11:33 am

    Desh, sounds like the blower motor may have failed. I would try all speeds to see if any work. Usually if the motor is bad none of the speeds will work. If the blower resistor is bad the blower might work on the high speed only. If it doesn’t work at all, the next step is to test for power and ground at the blower motor electrical connection. Good luck.

  72. carol :

    Date: October 8, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

    hi. I have a 2012 chevy impala ltz…everything worked before I had a new cabin air filter put in…now the front vents dont blow air and I can hear the struggle of comprimised air..I went back to the place and had him check to make sure it was in correctly…anything else? what can it be? thank you

  73. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 9, 2013 @ 7:58 am

    Carol, since the car’s ventilation system blew air out the front vents previous to the cabin air filter change, it stands to reason that something was most likely disturbed. I would look at the area to see if there are any loose connections to the actuators. Besides that; if the place where you had the cabin air filter installed does not have a qualified technician to diagnose the issue, I would take it to a repair shop that does. Keep your receipt if it’s determined that incorrect cabin air filter instillation was the cause of the issue.

  74. karl :

    Date: October 16, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    I have a 2012 chevy impala. sometimes, when you turn on the air for the feet, it will blow out the dash vents, and vise versa. however, sometimes it works just fine. What is wrong?

  75. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: October 16, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

    Karl, could be the actuator starting to fail. Good Luck.

  76. linda :

    Date: December 12, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    I have a 2006 grand caravan with dual blowers. The front is blowing very little air back is working fine. I’ve noticed that when I drive at a faster speed the blower does have more air force. Won’t change speed when you move knob. Was just driving and noticed the change. Could you help me?

  77. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: December 13, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Linda, I would check power (and ground) at the blower to make sure it’s getting the power it needs to run. The air you get may not be from the blower, it may be just from air entering the fresh air inlet forced in while the vehicle is moving. Also on some Grand Caravans there’s a cabin air filter which could be very dirty and restricting flow. You should still hear a change in the blower motor sound when the blower speed has been changed. Good Luck.

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  78. johnny :

    Date: January 1, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    On a 98 Jeep Grand Cherokee my ac only blows on defrost I think I have a vacuum problem I’m not sure. But now its blowing very low cold air. I’m not sure where the problem could be. Any suggestions?

  79. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 2, 2014 @ 6:41 am

    I would look and listen for vacuum leaks under the hood and dash. Also a hand pumped vacuum gauge is sometimes helpful to check vacuum lines and vacuum controlled motors. If I was working on this in a shop, I’d use a smoke machine if needed. Most vacuum leaks are under the hood though because of the more harsh conditions. Battery acid, heat etc. can all cause problems. The main vacuum line for the HVAC should be near where the AC lines go through the firewall. Good Luck.

  80. Lowflowchevy :

    Date: January 2, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

    I have a 2004 silverado 2500hd and I’m stumped… The blower motor is working on all settings. The mode actuator is switching correctly from defrost to floor to vent but when I slide the two temperature selectors to hot I loose significant air flow on all mode settings. I bring them back to cold/blue and my air flow volume comes right back to normal. Any thoughts?

  81. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 3, 2014 @ 8:30 am

    Something restricting airflow only when heat is selected. Possibly the heater core blocked with debris restricting airflow or a napkin that got sucked into the system from glove box etc… Good Luck.

  82. Alex O :

    Date: January 20, 2014 @ 8:21 pm

    So my 1993 Grand Caravan LE 3.3L all of a sudden started to not blow air (warm or cold) through the face vents when on any setting past 1. The speed settings go all way to 4 and so if you push the selector switch to face and speed to 1 the air will blow through the face vents, but if you go past 1 then there is a bang sound from to the right of the gas pedal (in the cabin) and the air defaults to the defrost position and no amount of pushing the face or feet/face button does anything. Also if the speed selector is a 2,3, or 4 and you select face the air stays at defrost. The only way to get it to go to face mode is to turn it OFF and then back on to speed 1.

    I’ve looked and blew through the check valve under the hood by the brake booster and it functions as it should. The vacuum cables behind the controller are connected at the junction and the three metal ball things to the right of the gas pedal all have vac. lines connected to them. I’m at my wits end!!!

  83. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 21, 2014 @ 10:11 am

    Alex sounds like a broken door. The faster speed and increased airflow is probably enough to move the door changing the direction of the air. This most likely would only happen if the door is broken. If I could gain access to the mode actuator I would remove it and turn the shaft for the door by hand to see if it is broke. If it is broken I would be able to spin it 360 degrees. Replacing the door would require dis-assembly of the dash and HVAC case. Good Luck.

  84. Alex O :

    Date: January 22, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    Dennis,

    Would it be by my gas pedal where I hear the banging??

  85. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: January 22, 2014 @ 10:29 am

    Most likely up from the gas pedal and towards the center of the dash.

  86. tibor kertesz :

    Date: February 17, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

    hello Dennis,
    The a/c temperature of my 1990 toyota corolla doesn`t work, the a/c is always full cold. My toyota hasn´t got a hot refrigerant hose going in to the cockpit, so I assume that what heat the a/c air is a resistor. Also my corolla hasn`t got a heater, it just blows cold, mid cold, and normal air. So what can it be? why my a/c is always cold?

  87. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 17, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    Not sure there’s enough to go on. A repair shop should be able to help by looking at the car only a few minutes. With outside temperatures as low as they are in some places this time of year; it may feel like the AC is on all the time. You could also see car heater blowing cold article which may help. Good Luck.

  88. Cory :

    Date: February 20, 2014 @ 12:50 pm

    I have a 04 impala and while I was driving with me heat on it stopped working all of a sudden. Iwas wondering if you had any idea what it would be, it’s not a fuse and there’s nothing leaking. Need any more info feel free to ask

  89. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 20, 2014 @ 1:00 pm

    Cory, not enough to go on. Heat stopped working; Meaning it’s blowing cold air… If that’s the case, could be low coolant or air trapped in cooling system. But since you commented on our low airflow article instead of the Car Heater article maybe the blower is not working at all… This would most likely mean the blower motor failed. If this is what’s happening I would check for power at the blower motor. Good Luck.

  90. Dawn :

    Date: February 25, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    I have a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee and my issue is it takes a while for the hot air to start coming out through the center vents…but it comes out with almost no force…but if i put my hand over the vent it is hot. But I can hear a clicking underneath the glove box when i turn my climate control knob from hi to low setting.

  91. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: February 25, 2014 @ 11:58 am

    Dawn, clicking is usually an indication of an actuator that has failed. The actuator is like a little electric motor that opens and closes the doors that direct the airflow inside the plastic HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) case. It’s also possible that there’s a broken door. See our article that covers more on these doors for the Grand Cherokee in particular since that’s what you have.

    Jeep Grand Cherokee HVAC Door Problem

  92. ali :

    Date: March 12, 2014 @ 4:27 am

    I have Toyota Mark 2 2003 and my problem is that when I turn on temperature control sometimes air flows from vents and I can also control the air speed but sometimes no air at all comes from vents. I have checked blower its working fine. I can also hear a ticking sound from dashboard. I have noticed one more thing that sometimes little air comes out from vents and stops while air conditioning is off.

  93. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 12, 2014 @ 7:17 am

    As far as some air flowing with the AC off, there’s probably just a little air getting past the closed airflow door. The doors in the case are never 100% air tight. The ticking is most likely a faulty door actuator/motor that controls the airflow direction to the different vents. Sometimes little plastic gears can get stripped inside the actuator, which results in the ticking noise and the inability of the actuator to move the door properly. I would follow the ticking noise to the bad actuator. Once it’s removed I would manually move the door it controls to make sure there’s no issues with the door itself. Then take the actuator to the dealer to get it matched up so the correct replacement can be purchased. Once the new actuator is installed the problem will most likely be solved. Good Luck.

  94. amanda :

    Date: March 16, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

    I have a 2009 Camry, and the ac only blows cold on the passenger side.

  95. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 16, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    Amanda, if you have a dual zone system, there could be a bad door acuator/motor . Good Luck.

  96. Matt B. :

    Date: March 30, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

    I have a 01 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport in which the passenger side blows cold, but as you move to the driver side you get warmer air. From what I have read it sounds like a blend door problem. The AC also only seems to blow fresh air, as nothing changes when you push the button for recirculating air. What would be the cause for that? Thanks for your help.

  97. dennisb - Auto Tool Sales :

    Date: March 31, 2014 @ 7:14 am

    Matt, it’s possible to have a blend door issue with any vehicle, but with the Grand Caravan it’s NOT common. The most common cause of the problem you are describing is low refrigerant. Evaporators are the most common leak in your particular vehicle. So I would check the refrigerant reading first. When the system is fully charged you will likely have more consistent temperatures blowing out the vents on both sides. I would check the MAX/Recirculate door by accessing it behind the glove-box. See our AC gauge readings explained article for more information on readings and our AC Leak article on finding refrigerant leaks.

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