The average automotive heating and cooling system (HVAC) is actually very complex, and they’re not connected to one another outside the cabin. Yes, your HVAC controls allow you to switch from warm air to cold, adjust the fan speed and more, but these are actually two completely separate systems and they operate independently of one another. As such, there are several components in both the heating and AC system that are prone to wear and tear and can fail over time.

Heating components

The most likely components of the heating system to fail are as follows:

  • Thermostat
  • Low Coolant
  • Heater Core
  • Radiator Cap (pressurized system)

AC components

The most likely components to fail in your car’s AC system are very different, and include the following:

  • Compressor and/or clutch (many cars use a combo unit that must be replaced if the clutch fails)
  • Low Refrigerant (caused by leaks in the high or low pressure side)
  • Serpentine Belt (drives the compressor and clutch)
  • Compressor Switch (controls compressor and clutch cycling)

While these are some of the most common parts of the heating and AC system to fail, they are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Your car’s HVAC system is complex, and requires a significant number of components in order to operate correctly. Professional diagnosis and repair is vital if you’re experiencing problems.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as What Components of the Heating and AC System Are Most Likely to Fail? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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