No one likes to see things dripping from their car, even if it’s just water. Therefore, you might get a little worried if you see your vehicle leaking water from the AC system. Maybe you want to know if you should relax or schedule an automotive repair appointment ASAP. Here are the answers.
Why do cars leak water from the air conditioning system?
Your car is dripping water from the air conditioning system because it’s designed to drain the water. You are more likely to see that happen on a hot day. However, excessive leakage and discolored puddles can indicate an entirely different issue you will need to address.
Is it normal to have water dripping from the car AC?
It’s normal for water to drip from a vehicle’s AC system under certain conditions. This process usually happens when the air conditioning turns up to its highest setting, and it’s hot outside.
The water you see dripping from your AC unit is only condensation from the evaporator drain tube.
The evaporator system lets the ice-cold refrigerant absorb the heat, which often causes condensation.
Thus, you’ll often see it drip down on your vehicle’s passenger side after you park. Don’t be alarmed if you notice this condensate dripping down because it’s well within the normal scope of events.
However, check this article if your car is losing water without visible leaking.
How much is too much water running from the AC?
A car’s AC system can drain quite a bit of water, especially if the air is humid. It’s not unusual for a vehicle to drain as many as five to 12 gallons of water in a day during the muggy summer months.
However, something may be amiss if the water seems to be pouring out profusely or it seems to take on a non-clear color. Normal condensate is light and clear.
You will be able to tell it’s just water by looking at it or touching it with your hands.
8 Reasons Your AC Is Leaking TOO Much Water
Some situations might cause your vehicle to leak excessive water, and this incident might happen on the inside or outside of the car.
These are some of the reasons your AC unit might be leaking too much water, and they are all conditions you should address immediately:
1. Your drain pipe is blocked.
Manufacturers design vehicles with drainage systems that are supposed to expel excess condensation from the AC system. Sometimes, the drain pipes get clogged, and the condensate doesn’t have anywhere to go.
This issue is problematic because it often causes water to drain inside the cabin. Thus, you will notice water on your floor instead of outside the car where it belongs.
The same issue can happen if the drain pipe isn’t installed very well or isn’t the correct size for the car.
Another issue that may cause you to see water in your cabin is if your condensate pan is broken because of wear, rust, or an accident.
You may be able to unclog the drain line yourself. The hardest part of the process will be finding the drain line, as there may be different placements for each vehicle.
You will need to grab an air compressor to blow out the clog once you find the line. Try moving the battery and its mounting plate to search for it. Sometimes, you can find the line somewhere by the rear motor mount.
Once you find the line, you can connect the air compressor and blow out the clog. If you dislodge the clog appropriately, you should see a lovely waterfall pour onto the ground.
2. Your AC’s seals have failed.
Air conditioning units have a number of seals and gaskets in them to keep refrigerant and water from leaking inappropriately. These seals wear over time and can become vulnerable enough to allow moisture to escape. You will likely see leaks inside your cabin if your seals have worn in this manner.
You have a few options to resolve this issue. One solution is to take your car to a reputable automotive repair shop and have someone with training in HVAC repair perform some work on your system.
You can use the DIY option and purchase a can of AC Stop Leak and see if that works, too.
Please read the instructions on the can and follow them to the letter to avoid harming your system.
Typically, you’ll need to shake the can, turn the AC on, and unscrew the AC system’s low side. You will then attach the sealing agent to the low side of the system and then activate it to inject it into the system.
The positive of using these chemicals is that they can effectively stop pinhole leaks. The downside is that the wrong components can cause problems with the expansion valve or condenser, causing your AC system to stop working altogether. Consider the benefits and risks before attacking this problem alone.
3. Your refrigerant is low.
Your AC system needs a specific amount of refrigerant in it to operate properly. Several things happen if the system leaks to a point where it has low refrigerant. Firstly, your AC system may stop providing you with cold air.
Another problem that occurs is that the condenser coils freeze. If this happens, your condensate drain pan can overflow and then leak, causing water to fall onto undesirable locations.
The fix for this problem is to get your refrigerant refilled.
Stores sell AC refrigerant refills that provide instructions on how to use them. However, it may be more beneficial for you to take your vehicle to a reputable automotive shop.
The technician can recharge your system and examine it for leaks. If you refill a leaky system, you’ll have to do the procedure repeatedly. But if you take it to a shop, a technician can stop the leak for you permanently so that you can enjoy a working AC system for many years.
4. Your air filter is blocked.
The air filters in your vehicle are constantly gathering and accumulating dirt in them. Therefore, they should be replaced at regular intervals. They can cause severe issues with your air conditioning system if you do not perform these tasks.
One common issue that often occurs is that the filters get a layer of dirt on them and freeze the evaporator coils.
Anytime the evaporator coils get frozen, they can cause the drain pain to fill and overflow, causing a leak to come from your air conditioning system.
First, you’ll need to allow the evaporator coils to thaw. Thus, you’ll want to sit in the car somewhere hot. You may even want to take a garden hose and spray lukewarm water on the system to help it along.
Changing the car’s AC filter is the second step you should take toward solving this problem. Visit an automotive or variety shop to find the right part for your vehicle. Find the housing on your car, remove the old filter, and install a brand-new product.
You may be able to recover some AC functionality and stop excessive leaks with these processes.
5. Your evaporator is broken.
You might notice some unusual water leaks coming from your car’s vent.
This problem is a reason for concern because it can mean that the evaporator itself is faulty. If the drain gets blocked, the water from it may travel back up to the evaporator core and come through your vents. Fun times!
The core itself can then rust and cause additional problems, and you’ll need to have it replaced. Evaporator core replacement is usually a complex job better performed by a trained and experienced automotive technician.
6. Your water pump is broken.
Your water pump is part of our engine’s cooling system, not a part of the air conditioning system. However, a problem with this unit can cause an excessive coolant leak that you may believe is water coming from the air conditioning.
Some of the most common issues that can cause such a leak are broken water pump propellers and failing accessory belts.
There are two ways you can tell antifreeze or coolant from AC water.
The coolant will be greenish, or in some cases, it will have an orangish or yellow tinge to it. Coolant also has a sweet or strange smell to it. Thus, the puddle of “water” will smell and feel differently from water that has spilled.
You may also see a little bit of smoke coming from under your hood. In that case, you’ll need to raise the hood and examine the area to see if you can locate the leak. You’ll most likely see coolant from the side where your accessory belt wraps around the water pump.
7. You have a hole in your coolant reservoir.
A hole in your coolant reservoir or windshield cleaning solution can also mimic an AC water leak. The first step in determining what’s leaking is to investigate the puddle on the ground.
Again, coolant has a different color and texture from water, although it consists of part water, and the other color will be more dominant than the clearness of the water.
The windshield wiper solution has a blue tinge to it and can be bubbly as well.
If either of these issues causes a leak, you will need to have someone replace the reservoir for you.
8. A hose has a hole in it.
One more issue that may seem like a water leak from the AC unit is one that comes from a rubber hose in the engine cooling system. You may see a drip that looks like water, but it’s actually antifreeze. This type of wet leak needs to be addressed immediately because it can cause your vehicle to overheat.
Cooling system hoses usually aren’t that costly and can be repaired within only a few minutes. However, be sure to wait until your car cools before touching the cooling system’s components.
Now you know some problems that can cause excessive water leaks on the outside and inside of your car. You even know a few problems that can mimic AC leaks. Look out for those issues, and don’t be afraid to tackle them or take your vehicle to a respectable automotive shop for immediate help.