Tip & How-To about Toyota Corolla

Toyota Air Conditioners

This tip pertains to maximizing the cooling efficiency from your Toyota's Air Conditioning system.

(The info that follows is for vehicles that are not equipped with "Auto" AC.)

On really warm days, nothing is better than getting in a hot vehicle, and turning on the AC for a nice comfortable driving experience.

In our service facility, we continually see customers who are not totally satisfied with their AC output. Hopefully, this tip will address those issues, and just might be useful to you.

The number one reason for poor cooling with the AC on, is neglecting to select the "Recirculate" function on the heater/AC control panel.

What is Recirculate?
That mode is where the AC system 'recirculates' the air contained in the car, thru the AC box, over and over, until the desired temperature is reached. The Recirculate button, knob, lever or slide is easily identified by seeing a picture of a little car, with an arrow doing a 'U-Turn" inside the car. This is the opposite of the "Fresh" mode, which is an arrow going 'straight through' the little car icon.

If you are using the "Fresh" mode, you are actually admitting ambient air into the car. Ambient air is much warmer, and makes the AC work harder, and you will see a 10 degree rise in the air temperature from the dash vents. Also, some vehicles admit the 'Fresh' air from under the hood, so, leaving the 'Fresh' mode selected could actually draw in the much hotter underhood air into the AC system.

So, what to do? Anytime you use the AC, please verify that the Recirculate function has been selected. As stated above, this uses the air in the car over and over, and your cooling efficiency will be 10 degrees colder. You can easily check and verify this with an 'instant-read' thermometer. Put the thermometer in the center dash vent, start up the car, turn on the AC, select Recirculate, and watch the temperature drop. It should stop dropping around 34-36 degrees F (depending on humidity, sun load, and a few other things). Now, when the temperature is as low as it will reach, turn off the Recirculate device. You will see the temperature actually rise, maybe 10-12 degrees.

Some additional info: As long as the car is in Recirculate mode, the AC compressor will eventually turn off, when the interior makes the selected temperature. This saves you gas. If you run the AC with the fresh mode selected, the AC compressor runs all of the time. This wastes gas, and costs you more money.

The best way I can easily sum up Fresh versus Recirculate is this:

Running the car with 'Fresh' selected is like running your refrigerator with the door open. It works, but it does not work good. Choosing 'Recirculate' is like running the fridge with the door closed.
If this tip helps you, please leave a positive helpful rating. Thanks!

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1 Answer

Air conditioner blows cool not cold air


- Keep the knob on RECIR and not FRESH.
- Put the air con ON, blower on max speed.
- Open the hood, inspect the inspection window glass located on the liquid line.
- If foam like bubbles are seen, charge the refrigerant gas, till the glass window is seen clear. Never overcharge the system.
- If the problem persists, check the following:
Refrigerant volume
Refrigerant pressure
Heater control base (for Hatchback)
Heater control base (for Sedan)
Air conditioning pressure sensor
Compressor and pulley
Expansion valve -
Air conditioning amplifier
ECM
CAN communication
The following diagram may help you identify the components.


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Feb 18, 2014 | 2000 Toyota ECHO

1 Answer

Toyota AC Light flashing


Great tip! Thanks. I inspected my relay and the contacts definitely showed signs of arching. Another cause of a flashing AC button light is a loose connection (male to female plug) at the compressor. I had my timing belt replaced and the Toyota mechanic failed to plug it back in... the light would be on for about 5 seconds then start to flash for this as well.

Jan 02, 2010 | Toyota Camry Cars & Trucks

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the check engine light goes on and then off. Had Autozone scan code and it read P0420 and P0128. Any ideas what this means?


You don't mention any vehicle specific info, but the codes read as follows:

P0420 - "Catalyst Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)"

P0128 - "Coolant Temp Below Thermostat Regulating Temp"

I'd guess you basic problem is the engine isn't getting hot enough in normal operation.

Try replacing the thermostat. Do be aware that you have to purge the cooling system of any trapped air for proper cooling system function. Some vehicles have 1 or more air bleed screws in the system to aid in this process.

I suspect that if you resolve the P0128 DTC, the other will go away (might have to clear the code and go thru requisite drive cycle.

Jan 02, 2011 | Chevrolet TrailBlazer Cars & Trucks

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air conditioning not too cold ??


Hello,
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Let me explain in layman's terms how the air conditioning (AC) system works and what could be happening to your car.

Like your body, the air conditioning compressor is the heart of the AC system, and Freon is the blood. The compressor pumps Freon throughout the AC system, either the older type R12 which costs as much as gold it seems these days, or the new environmentally-friendly R134A Freon. This Freon is a gas and liquid combination that is compressed and circulated throughout the air conditioning system. The compressed Freon is pushed through the system under pressure and is passed through different sized metal and rubber hoses and a special valve called an expansion valve that cause the gas to expand and contract.

This expansion and contraction makes the Freon gas very cold. This cold gas makes its way via metal lines into the dash area of your vehicle to the evaporator core. This evaporator core is like a small radiator, except it has cold Freon circulating inside and not hot antifreeze. A small fan (the AC blower fan which you control from the control panel on the dash) sits in front of the evaporator core and blows air across this cold evaporator and then through the vents inside your vehicle.

The other objective of the air conditioning system is to remove the heat from inside the cab of the vehicle. This heat is removed by the Freon with the help of the AC condenser located at the front of the car (usually in front of the radiator). The Freon coming back from the evaporator carries the heat from the cab to the condenser via rubber and metal hoses. Just like your radiator, the condenser is lightweight aluminum with many internal winding coils.
The Freon travels through these coils, and in between these coils are small slits or fins that the Freon is forced through. The condenser will have an electric cooling fan mounted in front or behind it to push or pull air through these fins to remove the heat from the Freon. Some vehicles still use the old fashioned fan blade driven by the engine to pull air across the radiator and the condenser.
Now I know that is just a tidbit of information on how the air conditioning system works, and it is very general, but I wanted you to know what to look for to give you insight as to what might be happening with your vehicle.
A few causes of low cooling efficiency or no cooling at all at idle are:

Lack of air flow across the condenser. Make sure the electric cooling fan motor near the condenser is coming on, or in models that are equipped with a fan blade make sure this fan is turning and is turning very fast.

Low Freon levels. Freon level and pressure should be checked by your certified air conditioning mechanic.

Overheating. If the engine is running hot or overheating, it can have a noticeable negative affect on the air conditioning system. Some cars have two electric cooling fans, one for the air conditioning condenser and the other for the radiator. Make sure they are both working properly. Usually at idle on a hot day with the AC on both fans will be on.

When the vehicle is traveling at freeway speeds, the compressor is pumping the Freon throughout the system much faster and harder than at idle. There is a dramatic increase in air flow across the condenser due to 55 mph winds, and the engine is usually operating at a cooler, more efficient temperature as well, thus allowing the air conditioning system to operate efficiently.
Note: An air conditioning system that is somewhat low on Freon can still feel comfortable at freeway speeds due to the added air flow across the condenser which can overcome the ill effects of slightly low Freon. Periodic air conditioning performance checks by your mechanic are the best way to keep the system in great shape.

Hope this helps.

Goodluck

Oct 08, 2010 | 1998 Cadillac DeVille

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