My Car AC Takes Too Long To Get Cold – Why?

A car trip on a hot sweltering summer day is never something we look forward to.

But finding out that your 30-minute commute to work will not be air-conditioned will add to your suffering.

It will take longer for a properly performing air conditioner to cool down a car on a hot summer day than a warm day.

Car AC takes long to get cold causes

However, cooling a car should not take 15 to 20 minutes. If you notice it takes a while for your car to cool, there is an issue with your AC.

Here are several reasons why a car’s AC would take too long to get cold.

What Would Cause A Car’s AC To Take A Long Time To Get Cold?

In the summertime, especially during heat waves, your vehicle’s AC is like a gift sent from the heavens.

Some car and truck owners will turn their vehicle’s engine on and blast the AC.

Then they will go back inside the house and wait until the cabin is cold before they step inside.

Most people would not purchase a vehicle that did not have an air conditioner unless they were highly desperate.

An air conditioner that is not working will severely impact the quality of life of the drivers and passengers.

So what is a vehicle owner supposed to do when they notice their car’s AC taking a long time to get cold?

A car’s AC takes a long time to get cold could be due to several issues.

Most of the issues that would cause a car AC to take a long to get the cold need to be examined by a mechanic or an air-conditioning expert.

Depending on your car’s ac system knowledge, you probably fix some of these causes. But a few issues will require the expertise of a mechanic.

Six Common Reasons Why A Car’s AC Takes Too Long To Get Cold

1. There Could Be A Coolant Leak Coming From The Air Conditioning Unit Of Your Vehicle

Coolant leaks are perhaps the most common issue that will cause a car AC to take a long time to get cold or stop working correctly.

Not enough coolant running through the air conditioning system could ruin the system. The AC will not work correctly in the short term.

In the long-term, if the issue is not discovered, you could ruin your vehicle’s entire air conditioning system.

Look underneath your vehicle to test if the AC is being affected by a coolant leak. Coolant is a colorless liquid, so it may be hard to see.

Be sure to grab a flashlight.

If you see that your vehicle’s underside is coated in a colorless and greasy liquid, that is the coolant—your AC leak somewhere, usually in the coolant tank.

A coolant leak could be why a car’s AC takes a long to get cold.

2. It Could Be An Issue With The Heat Coolant Valve

When a vehicle’s AC system is not working as fast as it should, it may be because the heat coolant valve is not closing.

It could be that there is hot coolant trapped inside of the valve, and it is not allowing the valve temperature door to close correctly.

Hot coolant can become trapped inside the valve.

Turn on the vehicle’s heater to test if the issue is with the heat coolant valve. If it doesn’t work as fast as it should or not, you have your answer.

3. The Compressor That Pressurizes The Refrigerant Could Be Malfunctioning

The compressor is perhaps an essential part of the entire AC system.

When the driver turns on their vehicle’s AC system, the first part of the air conditioning system starts working.

When your car takes a long while to get cold, the compressor is not pressurizing the gas refrigerant.

It is not transforming it into a high-pressure gas that will become fluid and remove heat from the system.

My Car AC takes long to get cold

To test if the issue is with the AC compressor, try to listen for strange or grinding sounds coming from the AC when it is on.

When the bearings or the clutch inside the compressor is not working as it should, they may produce clicking or grinding sounds.

A coolant leak can also affect a malfunctioning compressor since coolant flows through the compressor.

Without a working compressor, your car’s ac can take too long to get cold.

4. There Is An Issue With The Electrical Climate Control System

The climate control system is different from the car’s air conditioning system.

It monitors the environment inside the vehicle cabin and adjusts the temperature automatically.

When the sensors are not working correctly, they will not be able to sense the correct temperature in the cabin accurately.

So the climate control system will falsely sense that the cabin is colder than it is. Poor sensors are one reason why a car’s AC takes a long time to get cold.

One way to tell if the issue is with the climate control system is if the computer system needs an update.

Also, the AC system shows that one side of the car is receiving cold air, but the other side is receiving hot air.

A faulty climate system may be a relatively easy issue to solve. Locate the driver’s manual that came with the vehicle or download a manual from the manufacturer.

It should have instructions on how to reset the climate control system. You may need to reset it one or two times.

5. The Air Cabin Filter Needs To Be Cleaned Or Needs A Brand New Filter

The air filter cleans the air before it goes through the vehicle’s vents. Depending on the conditions outside, the filter can capture a lot of grime and dust.

It will eventually need to be cleaned. A dirty filter can cause a car’s AC to take a long to get cold.

A vehicle’s air filter you should replace every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

6. Check On The Air Flaps

The air flaps should be closed whenever the car’s AC unit operates. If the flap is not closing or not at all, warm air will slip through and enter the car’s cabin.

Open-air flaps can cause a car’s ac to take a long while to get cold.

A small device, known as a flap actuator, opens and closes the air flap.

When the flap actuator needs to be repaired, you may hear squeaking noises when the AC is on. You may also notice poor airflow, even when the AC isn’t on.

Important Note: Don’t Just Sit In The Car And Turn On The AC

Air out your vehicle for a minute or two before you sit down. The temperature inside your car build-up and makes all the surfaces and seats hot.

You may also want to leave the window slightly open whenever you get out of your vehicle. Open windows will not allow the temperature to build up inside the cabin.

It is also a good idea to buy a windshield sunshade. A high-quality sunshade will not allow the light from the sun to heat the car.

Relying solely on your AC will strain the engine, causing the car’s AC to take a long to get cold.


There are six main reasons why a car’s ac would take a long time to get cold.

There could be an issue with the control system, the air cabin filter needs to be cleaned or replaced, or the heat coolant valve is clogged.

Also, the AC compressor cannot compress the refrigerant, there is a coolant leak, or the outside air flaps are not closing when the AC is on.

If you notice that your car’s AC takes too long to get cold, take it to a mechanic. They’ll be able to find the issue and fix it in no time.