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How Long Should It Take For Car Ac To Get Cold?

How Long Should It Take For Car Ac To Get Cold?

In summers, the best thing about cars is their air conditioning system. To beat the scorching heat outside, you have to turn on the AC to get relief within no time.

And it would help if you said it’s one of the best inventions from the car’s standpoint. Just a single push gets your car’s inside temperature to fall like the pyramid of cards.

Now, what would you expect to happen? Cold air, right? However, you must have noticed that the AC takes a little time to blow cold air. Why? To know the reason or mechanism behind this, read further.

How long should it take for the car AC to get cold?

In general, it should take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes for your car ac to get cold. But it might take sooner for some cars depending on the models.

To understand this, you’ll have first to understand how a car AC works. So, the car AC unit comprises five major components, and these are:

  • Compressor: A compressor compresses the AC gas, converts it into liquid, and passes the liquid through the refrigerant line.
  • Condenser: During the above compression cycle, the refrigerant heats up. So, the condenser’s job is to cool down the heated refrigerant line through the cool air gushing through it.
  • Expansion Valve: This expansion valve acts as a barrier between the AC’s low and high-pressure areas. Therefore, when the liquid refrigerant passes through the valve, it gets converted to gas.
  • Receiver/Drier/Accumulator: As the gas has some moisture proportion, the gas then passes through the drier that eliminates any moisture left in the gas.
  • Evaporator: Installed under your car’s dashboard, the dried gas (i.e., hot gas) from the drier then passes through the evaporator. Now, the AC’s fan blows air through this evaporator to cool down the drier’s hot air.

The chilled air from the evaporator is what comes out through the AC vents. Now, this entire process will take a few seconds or a few minutes, depending upon your car’s air conditioning unit.

If it’s too old, don’t expect the flow of cold air before at least 3-5 minutes, while cold air production can start quickly if the unit is new.

As a thumb rule, remember that the engine has to reach 1600 RPMs to generate cold air through the AC, which usually takes 3-5 minutes.

Why does my car AC take so long to get cold?

If your AC is taking longer to get cold, there are chances of the following problems w.r.t to the AC unit.

There is a slow leak in the system.

Your car AC unit uses freon as the chemical refrigerant to cool the hot air before blowing it through the AC vents.

Remember, for the proper functioning of your car AC; the freon should not leak from the air conditioning unit.

However, due to a damaged hose, loose gasket, or loose connection, freon leak can lead to poor air conditioning or slower pace. In this case, you’ll have to get the leaks fixed.

The refrigerant charge is low

If the air conditioning unit is functioning well with air coming out from the vents, it’s hot as hell; the refrigerant charge is low.

If this is the problem, take your car to a qualified mechanic for a quick repair. Every time the blower throws out warmer air, you should first check the refrigerant charge levels even after a few minutes.

Clogged evaporator

The evaporator unit is prone to frequent clogging when you drive your car in cities where the air is not that clean.

Hence, if you’re a frequent city driver, the evaporator can clog over time, and as a result, the air conditioning unit won’t work effectively. As a remedy, get your car to any nearby mechanic and get the evaporator cleaned up.

The drive belt is loose

If you’re hearing a loud and scratching sound coming out from the car’s AC unit, it indicates that the drive belt is loose.

A loose drive belt is a common issue behind the AC throwing warm air. Again, it’s mechanical work, and you can’t do anything. So, get yourself a mechanic.

These are the common reasons behind the air conditioning unit not working correctly or throwing warmer air.

How can I get my car AC to cool better?

If you want your car AC to cool better without taking much time and effort, you can resort to the tactics every car expert follows.

Always start the air conditioner after driving for a few distances

It’s a common observation that most people turn on their AC without driving which puts an extra burden on the engine and consumes more fuel.

However, if you start the AC after driving a few miles, the AC unit will perhaps work efficiently as, in this case, the compressor will work faster and let the AC produce cooler air at a great rate.

If the interior is too hot, turn on the blower fan, pull down the rear windows for a few seconds to provide passage for the hot air to pass out.

Set the temperature to low

For your information, a typical air conditioner cools down air at 38-degrees. Now, if you are habitual to keeping the temperature high, you’re forcing the unit to re-heat the air that consumes more fuel and time.

However, if you keep the temperature too low and adjust the fan speed to manage the intensity of cold air, you’ll get more cool air at minimum fuel and in less time. Ideally, experts suggest any temperature between 16-degrees to 20-degrees.

Turn off the recirculation mode

If there are passengers at the rear seat, you should turn off the recirculation mode. The recirculation mode only takes the cool air from the front cabin and pulls it back into the system.

That is, it recirculates the air. Although the air in the front cabin will feel fantastic, the air at the rear end will still feel warmer.

If you have to make the entire car cabin space cool, keep the temperatures low, increase the fan speed to its highest level, and wait for some time.

Keep the air filters clean

Behind the glove box, you can access your car’s air filter. In cars, the air filter is also a common reason why the air inflow is not optimal or air coming out is not cool.

If the air filter is not clean and clogged up, you should clean it by yourself, or if it’s too worn-out, you may even think of replacing it with a new one.

Use automatic temperature control if available

If you have a modern car, your car may have an automatic temperature control system. This system adjusts the temperature and fan speed automatically as cabin temperature gets to the value you’ll set.

Not only does this feature save your efforts in manually adjusting everything, but it is also friendly on fuel.

So, the next time you make your mind to buying a car, check if it has an automatic temperature control system or not.


After spending even a few minutes outside under scorching heat and bracing hot waves, the moment you’ll enter your car, you’ll probably turn the AC on right away.

It’s understandable! However, the air conditioning unit won’t start blowing out cold air right away. As you’ll drive your car for a few miles, the compressor and other air conditioner components will heat up, and then only cold air will come out.

Plus, it’s always a good habit to keep an eye on the condition of your air conditioning system from both inside (like a hose, filter, compressor, etc.) and outside (air vents). If there is any problem, get yourself a mechanic for a quick look around.