Air Conditioning Woes – The Auto Version

My 13 year old Pathfinder’s air conditioning has been on the fritz. Reading this post over at The Grass is Greener reminded me about it. I mean… I’ve been so overworked at work and my brain is so fried lately that I forgot it’s a personal finance worthy topic! I mean really! It can be so expensive getting air conditioning issues resolved.  I have heard more than once people talking about it costing upwards of $2000 to get their air conditioner fixed.  It is really, really difficult to go without air conditioning in most of Arizona, due to our high temperatures. Today I heard it was supposed to get up to 113°F but then later in the day heard it got up to 115°F.

So my vehicle has been doing this really weird thing where it blows cold air, but only while the vehicle is moving, sometimes I can jump start the air conditioner by rolling the passenger window down, then up, then down. It’s like the air blowing through the system (the circulator button has to be disengaged) caused something to start (the fan?) and then it comes on and blows like it’s supposed to.

Last week my magic trick stopped working.  No matter how many times I rolled the window up and down, I couldn’t persuade the thing to start blowing. So I spend 60 to 90 minutes on the way home in the heat of the afternoon, each day, with the passenger window about halfway down, just so a little gust of cold air would pass through the vents. It was tolerable, but just barely. Hey, I didn’t pass out from heat exhaustion so that’s a good thing.

Mr. A’s truck’s air conditioning stopped working a few weeks back, too. Now that was one of the main reasons he wanted to upgrade from his older truck – air conditioning. It’s hard enough to be out there working in the heat, then have to get into an oven to drive home, while hot blasting air is pouring over your body all the way home.  Mr. A takes work up to 100 miles away, so that’s a long, hot drive when you’re already sunburnt from an entire day in it. And now his “new” truck’s air conditioning decides to stop working.

We’ve had enough expensive repairs in the last few months, we weren’t at all prepared for two vehicles to need their air conditioners worked on. Plus, it seemed to get real hot real fast.

Well, as it turns out, the problem could be resolved, in both vehicles, with a $4 switch.  Mr. A was able to wire the blower to a switch inside the vehicle and now both air conditioners work.  It’s a little annoying since full blast air is the only option. No low or medium, just high, full blast high. It actually gets a little chilly early in the morning, and it’s obnoxiously loud.  But I tell you what, driving home yesterday afternoon in 115°F weather I was very happy for the obnoxiously loud cold air coming through those vents.

Hopefully we’ll get them both fixed soon, but in the meantime, they’re working and I’m grateful that Mr. A is so resourceful.

In the hot desert,

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3 thoughts on “Air Conditioning Woes – The Auto Version

  1. That’s awesome that you got it working again! I wish we could find a simple, inexpensive solution like that. Luckily I’m in Minnesota and only have to worry about 6 more weeks of hot, hot temps!


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