How to Troubleshoot the Air Conditioning on a 2001 Jeep Cherokee

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Depending on what kind of climate you live in, driving a car without air conditioning can be almost impossible. However, over years of use, many Jeep Cherokee air conditioning systems begin to work less effectively, making summer drives very hot and uncomfortable. Before repairing this problem, assess what is causing it by troubleshooting the system to see why the ice-cold air that was once blowing out of the air vents is now warm.

Things You'll Need

  • A/C pressure gauges
  • Turn on your Jeep's engine and turn on the air conditioning. Let it idle and check to make sure that the electric fan in front of the air conditioning compressor is on. If it is not, then this could cause your air conditioning system to perform badly at idle.

  • Touch the low-pressure pipe (of the two pipes leading out of your Jeep's air conditioning compressor, it will be the larger one) to see if it is running cold. If this pipe is not cold to the touch, then your compressor is not working properly or your system needs more refrigerant.

  • Turn off your car and hook up an air conditioning pressure gauge to the high and low pressure sides of your air conditioning system. On an 80 degrees F day, the low side for your Jeep should be between 32 and 41 psi and the high side should be between 200 and 260 psi. If your Jeep's psi is under this, recharge the system with more refrigerant. Refer to your owner's manual for further psi numbers.

  • Have someone else go inside your car and turn on the engine. Then have them turn on the air conditioner as you watch to see if the compressor turns on. If it does not, the compressor is faulty and may need to be replaced. This is most likely the problem if you air conditioner blows warm air all the time.

  • Use soapy water on the rubber hoses of your air conditioning system. If the water begins to bubble up, then air is escaping from the system and the air conditioning is losing refrigerant. This will cause your air conditioner to gradually lose cooling power. If this is the case, the faulty hose will need to be replaced or patched.

  • Check to see if the air conditioner runs cool then suddenly stops working after a number of minutes. If this happens, turn off the air conditioning for a while, then try again. If the same thing happens, there may be too much air in the system, which causes the moisture in the pipes to freeze and eventually block off refrigerant circulation. If this is the case, vacuum pump the system and replace it with new refrigerant.

Tips & Warnings

  • When checking for leaks, start with the hose connections. You can also buy a leak-finding kit which includes a dye you add to your system and a special light that easily shows where dyed refrigerant is leaking out.
  • The air conditioning system is under extreme pressure and can become dangerous to work with for those who are inexperienced. Be careful when connecting new refrigerant tubes to fill the system or connecting gauges to measure the pressure.

References

  • Photo Credit by SwL_maverick
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