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Toyota Corolla AC Not Working/Cold/Turning On/Off

Corollas are normally reliable cars for people who simply need to get from A to B, but like with any car, something can go wrong; after all, these are complex machines with many moving parts. In this case, we refer to the AC, which is pretty important if you live in a warm area. So why does the Corolla AC stop working for some people?

A Toyota Corolla’s AC may not work if the cabin air filter is clogged, restricting airflow and cooling efficiency. Replacing the cabin air filter with a new one can improve air circulation and restore AC function.

Another cause could be a blown fuse. If the AC system’s electrical circuit is overloaded, it may blow a fuse, leading to a non-functional AC. Checking the fuse box and replacing any blown fuses dedicated to the AC system can often fix the problem.

Car AC controls

In this article, we will be going over the many AC-related problems that a Toyota Corolla can have and how you can potentially solve them. Remember, going to a mechanic doesn’t mean defeat if you genuinely don’t know what is happening and/or aren’t experienced in repairing the more complex problems.

How Does a Car AC Work?

Female finger push AC button

It’s useful to understand how AC in a car works in the first place, so you have a grasp on the systems.

Every car’s AC will compose of these components.

  • The compressor is designed to convert the refrigerant into a thin liquid used to cool the incoming air supply.
  • The condenser is used to remove heat from the equation, ensuring the air conditioner stays cool through the compression process.
  • The expansion valve turns the refrigerant into a gas, allowing it to mix with the air as you turn on the air conditioner.
  • The receiver transfers the newly-formed gas to the evaporator while removing moisture from it.
  • The evaporator removes heat from the moisture-free gas and sends it back to the refrigerant to repeat the cooling process.

Essentially, the refrigerant is what is responsible for the “coldness” in an AC. The rest of the components will compress it into a fluid, remove the heat, be returned to its original gaseous state, and be pushed through the vents.

One thing to keep in mind is that refrigerant is not a fuel; it can’t be used up or run out. There are instances where the refrigerant can’t be utilized which is one of the issues we will go over when discussing troubleshooting tips.

Toyota Corolla AC Not Cold

Car AC vent

Considering that the entire point of an AC is to blow cold air, this is quite a big problem!

Refrigerant Leak

The most common reason for a car’s AC not blowing cold is an AC refrigerant leak caused by cracks or holes in the coils that normally circulate the refrigerant.

Some people are tempted to simply brute force this issue by adding more refrigerant since it is much cheaper than repairing the AC system. However, this is a temporary solution, and it might not even work. If your AC unit has a refrigerant leak, take your car to the shop if you want the issue resolved. If money is tight, many mechanics these days offer a financing plan.

But how much should you expect to get charged to have your AC repaired? Luckily, Corollas are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to repair costs since the parts are relatively cheap and abundant. You can expect to be charged around $489 – $524 for a refrigerant line replacement.

Climate Control Electrical Issue

Modern cars have very much become computerized. It is one reason why repairing a car yourself has gotten increasingly difficult, and being a mechanic requires understanding how this tech works. The number of sensors and gadgets in cars nowadays has provided drivers with plenty of conveniences, certainly, but when things go wrong, it can be a huge hassle.

One of these computers is responsible for regulating the functions of the AC system, including how cold you want the air that is blowing out to be.

Sometimes the issue could be as simple as a software bug (as we said, cars have become very computerized), and a patch needs to be pushed out to fix it. But more often than not, the control module itself has gone bad.

The repair cost for this can be anywhere from $351 – $369, depending on your Corolla model and where you go to get it fixed.

AC Compressor May Have Gone Bad

If you are finding that the AC isn’t blowing out air as cold as before, it may be due to compressor issues. The compressor is a component majorly responsible for the cool, crisp air that you expect out of the AC.

It’s not as common of a problem as the other two mentions, but it does happen. The cost of repair can be anywhere from $573 – $807, depending on your Corolla model and where you go.

Toyota Corolla AC Blower Not Working

Car AC vent blowing cold air

Even though the complex system responsible for producing cool air is vital for a functioning AC, it’s the fans (blowers) responsible for delivering that air to you.

A blower that stops working can be caused by several things, from a faulty thermostat, tripped circuit breakers, or simply the blower motor stopped working, which is an abnormal issue since blower motors are usually reliable and have a long shelf life even after heavy use. Still, if you bought a used Corolla that has a history of issues with the AC or you simply got unlucky, it does happen. The cost to replace the blower motor in a Corolla is between $220 – $230.

Toyota Corolla AC Button Flashing

Car AC knob control

A flashing AC light is typically indicative of an AC compressor clutch failure. The Corolla’s AC compressor clutch uses a sensor to ensure the clutch is tied with the compressor when the air conditioner is activated. The lock sensor will generate a voltage spike when the clutch turns, which then sends the signal to the ECM or AC amplifier, which depends on your Toyota Corolla’s manufactured year.

That said signal is then compared to the engine’s RPM, which allows the system to know that the air conditioner clutch is failing.

If you don’t mind diagnosing the issue yourself, you can check the belt tension. Follow these steps:

Start by checking the belt’s tension to see if it’s too loose. A loose belt can cause severe damage to the AC, so it’s crucial to start at the top. If your Corolla has an automatic belt tensioner, you should inspect its condition before proceeding. Those with a manual belt tensioner should tug it lightly to ensure it’s not more than half an inch loose.

Inspect for poly-rib belt wear with a tool since manual inspections always fail. It’s nearly impossible to check it visually, so use a tool to ensure it’s in good condition.

Copyright protected article by Know My Auto and was first published on Mar 23, 2021. .

Once you’re done inspecting the belt, head onto the air conditioner clutch.

If you are not familiar with these components, don’t be afraid to take the car to an honest shop. However, at least diagnosing a manual belt tensioner isn’t too difficult. If you are unsure where it is located, turn to the car’s official manual (once again, you can find this online).

Furthermore, the air conditioner’s clutch coil can become weak or burn out. You can try to jump the battery by using another car’s battery. Manually engage the air conditioner’s clutch by hot wiring it, then start the ignition. Figuring out the issue next is going to be based on whether the flashing light disappears or not.

If the flashing light disappears, the clutch relay will need to be replaced. If it’s still there, the magnetic pickup might have fallen out, or the sensor may need to be replaced.

The cost to repair an AC compressor clutch can be anywhere between $610 and $664 at the shop.

Toyota Corolla AC Light Blinking

Car AC knob control

As stated above, a blinking AC light indicated a clutch relay failure. If you find that the light is flashing, you may notice that warm air is being blown out. This is because the AC system shuts off to avoid further damages.

You might be able to shut off the circuit breaker of your AC, wait 5 seconds, and switch it back on. In some Corollas, this may be enough to allow the AC unit to function normally again. However, there is a good chance you’ll experience further issues down the road with your AC unit if gone unchecked, even if the circuit breaker method works.

Toyota Corolla AC Fan Not Working

Car AC control buttons

Although it is frustrating when your car’s AC suddenly stops working, having the fan stop working is one of the easiest and cheapest repairs you can have with your AC.

More correctly, an AC fan that stops working means that there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the AC system itself; rather, the fan itself isn’t functioning. You can diagnose this by accessing if you aren’t getting any air, hot or cold. If you don’t feel anything at all, the problem is likely with the fan itself.

The fan is controlled by a set of resistors and/or a small computer module controlled by the fan switch, but the motor powering the fan can get hot and end up blowing out. A blown fan motor can either cause the fan to get stuck at high speeds, only work on certain settings, or simply not work at all.

In addition, the fan may stop working if the AC filter hasn’t been changed in a while, which we will teach you how to do in the next section.

How To Change AC Filter in Toyota Corolla

Car air filter

Changing the cabin air filter in a Toyota Corolla is extremely easy for anyone to do; thus, don’t let yourself get ripped off with insane labor markup prices for this. We will go over the step-by-step process as well as link a video for you below. If you ever needed to learn at least one thing on how to fix something related to your car’s AC, this is it.

Before you start, make sure you are buying the right air filter size for your specific Corolla. These cars have been around for a long time, and older models will have different parts and vice versa.

Once you have the correct cabin air filter, follow these steps to install it.

  1. Locate the cabin air filter, which is behind the glove box and is usually inserted vertically.
  2. Locate the plastic tabs that are along the edges of the glove box, and depress these to loosen the glove box.
  3. Locate a rectangular, long plastic strip and the two tabs on each side. Squeeze these tabs to expose the air filter.
  4. Swap out the old air filter for the new one.
  5. Put the plastic strip back on and reassemble the glove box by reversing the above instructions.

And you are done! As we said, this is a simple thing that you can do yourself. A car shop will charge you anywhere between $44 – $56 just for the “labor” alone. We use the term labor loosely since this is 1-2 minutes of swapping out a basic part. The air filter itself can cost anywhere between $29 – $48, depending on the model of Corolla that you have.

Toyota Corolla AC Leak

Car mechanic fixing bottom of car

AC systems in cars can develop a leaky seal where components connect to each other over time. An AC leak can make the system blow air that isn’t as cool as you’d like, and depending on the severity of the said leak, you may not get little to no cool air at all.

When taken to a shop, a technician will connect the AC system to either a recovery and vacuum machine or AC test gauges. The readings will determine whether there is a leak at all and how severe it is.

If you are reading this, the leak is probably severe enough for you to notice. We highly suggest getting this repaired when you can, preferably sooner rather than later, as driving around with a refrigerant leak can end up becoming more expensive repairs as the seals in the system dry out from the lack of lubrication from oil and refrigerant.

How much does it cost to repair an AC leak? The inspection alone costs anywhere between $53 – $67, and if you need any repairs, another $150 – $750 will be tacked on depending on the severity of the issue. If you do the repairs ASAP, you will be paying less money than if you wait for a while.

Toyota Corolla AC Making Noise

Two car mechanics working on engine

If you hear unsettling noise from your AC unit, the cause is likely a bad AC compressor rattling around or making a loud, distinct humming noise that gets worse as you accelerate. The cost of repair can be anywhere from $573 – $807, depending on your Corolla model and where you go.

Toyota Corolla AC Not Turning On

Hand adjusting AC knob

If the AC in your Toyota Corolla is not turning on, this can indicate a malfunctioning switch or the AC circuit is not getting enough power. To test if the AC is not running at all, put your hand on the vent to see if you can feel anything. In addition, you might want to put your ear close to the vent to evaluate if any sound is coming through.

If the AC is truly dead, then either of the two scenarios mentioned above could be the case. The cost of repair can be anywhere from $135 – $148 for a new switch, and $573 – $807 for a power circuit, depending on your Corolla model and what shop you go to.

Toyota Corolla AC Won’t Turn Off

Hand testing car AC vent

Having the exact opposite problem from the above section is also frustrating. Even if you don’t mind the noise, having the AC turned on constantly will wear it out faster. An AC that is not turning off is a sign of a shorted AC blower resistor, which always has power supplied to it. Only the switch can control the motor speed. Sometimes the resistor terminals and resistors themselves can touch, which will cause the AC to keep going even if the switch is turned off.

The cost to get a new blower resistor for a Toyota Corolla is anywhere between $79 – $107.

Toyota Corolla Relay Problem

Car AC control knob

The symptom of a bad AC relay is the compressor not receiving power which, in turn, causes the AC to not function properly. You’ll notice that the AC isn’t blowing as hard as before and/or has a weakened cooling performance. This can be somewhat common in older cars, and the cost to have this fixed is between $573 – $807.

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Toyota Corolla AC Smell

Guy holding nose because of bad smell coming from car AC vent

If the AC has a foul smell, you will probably want to do more than just use a Little Trees Air Freshener in the cabin. First consider how long it’s been since the AC filter has been changed, and follow the guide we gave to replace it if it’s been a while.

Toyota Corolla AC Switch Not Working

Car AC control knob

If you are trying to turn your AC on, but nothing is happening, test to see if the AC is completely off by putting your hand on the vents or listen for noise. If the AC in your Toyota Corolla is not turning on, this can indicate a malfunctioning switch or the AC circuit is not getting enough power. The repair cost can be anywhere from $135 – $148 for a new switch and $573 – $807 for a power circuit.

Toyota Corolla AC Stopped Working

Car mechanic repair AC leak

If your AC has suddenly stopped working, was it giving you problems before it died, or was it a sudden stop? There are multiple factors to consider, such as refrigerant leakage or a dead power circuit. As we mentioned above, test to see if the AC is actually dead or just not producing any air through the vents, and have the issue evaluated by a mechanic.

Toyota Corolla AC Works Sometimes

Guy changing AC temperature in Car

An AC that only works sometimes is known as an intermittent AC. Some people just opt to keep switching it on and off until it starts to work, but you would like to solve this for good.

This issue is usually caused by the components in the AC system freezing – usually an iced-over evaporator. The AC only works sometimes because the ice needs to melt for the AC to begin working again. This issue can be solved by either a dirty AC cabin air filter, an overcharged system, or a blocked evaporator drain. If you see puddles of water under your car, this can indicate a freezing problem.

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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on Mar 23, 2021 and last updated on .