Get the Ideal Temperature in Your Car Interior: Fixing an A/C Actuator
The A/C actuator in your vehicle controls the air flow into your car's passenger area. You need to keep it in good condition; otherwise, this can make your car interior very hot, or the air conditioning won't be able to reach the passenger area. A damaged A/C actuator will cause the A/C to produce either hot air but no cool air, or cool air but no hot air. These actuators are like little electric motors responsible for moving the vent doors, which in turn, mix hot air with cool air to give out the temperature you want to have.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools you will need:
- Screwdriver set
- Socket wrench
- Needle-nose pliers
- Interior panel toolkit
- Safety gloves
Step 1: Identify which A/C actuator has gone bad by running your car's heater and air conditioning. Usually, the broken actuator will make one side operate properly, while the other side will fail.
Step 2: Locate the driver side actuator, which is usually situated in the foot well at the back of the driver side lower floor panel. Use a 7mm socket wrench to undo the bolts that secure the floor panel in place. If you have a different setup, use a pair of needle nose pliers to take out the plastic pins.
Step 3: Locate the passenger side actuator, which is commonly installed behind the glove box. Open the glove box and reach inside to remove the bolts or plastic pins that hold the box in place. Secure the glove box as it falls open so that the hinges won't break. You should now see the passenger side actuator.
Step 4: Uninstall the A/C actuator using an 8mm socket wrench. You'll notice that the actuator is attached to the assembly using two, three, or four bolts. Lower the actuator and test it by turning the car on. Adjust the temperature for the ventilation system, and observe if the motor inside the actuator is turning. If it's not, then you need to turn off the car in order to completely remove it from the system.
Step 5: Once the vehicle is turned off, remove the electrical connector from the actuator by squeezing the clamps that hold it in place. You may also need to tug it gently to loosen the connection. Use a flat-head pocket screwdriver to unlock the cable. Take note that in some cars, you may need to detach the actuator rod.
Step 6: If you are familiar with repair tools and tiny car parts, then you can open the case and change any damaged or cracked nylon gears inside the actuator.
Step 7: When you find out that the actuator can't be repaired, then replace it with a new one. Plug the detached electrical connector into the replacement A/C actuator. Install it in the old one's place and attach it using the stock bolts.
Step 8: Begin turning the bolts by hand, then finish tightening them using a socket wrench. Be careful not to tighten them too much, as the bolt pressure can break plastic parts that hold them into place.