Car AC Works In Back But Not Front – What To Do?

As a car owner, you may be wondering what to do if your air conditioner works in the back but not in the front. Luckily, we have done some research for you, and here is what we found.

The following are things you can do if your car's AC is not working in the front:

  • Clean your AC vent.
  • Check for low refrigerant.
  • Replace your compressor.
  • Check your cooling fan.

This problem should be tackled as soon as possible to avoid further deterioration. Keep reading to get detailed information on how to fix the problem of an AC not working in the front.


A collaged photo of a rear and front car AC, Car AC Works In Back But Not Front - What To Do?

How Does AC Work In A Car?

A car's air conditioner is made up of components like an engine-powered compressor, an expansion valve that regulates the refrigerant flow, a condenser, and an evaporator.

It works by controlling the states (liquid and gaseous) of the refrigerant. As the refrigerant changes state, the heat and moisture are absorbed from the vehicle. Cool, dry air then flows from the system.

What Should I Do If My Car AC Works In Back But Not Front?

Car air conditioning icon

When you notice that the air conditioner of your car is working in the back area but not in the front, it could be a result of a blocked air vent, faulty compressor, or faulty cooling fan. Follow these steps when the air conditioner of your car is working in the back area, but not in the front. 

Clean Your AC Vent

The AC vent allows the free flow of air in your car. If the vents in the front area are clogged, airflow will be obstructed.

Inspect your AC vents. If you notice that they are clogged, you should carefully clean them with a foam brush, water, and detergent.

Check For Low Refrigerant

Refrigerant is a mixture of liquid that is used in the refrigeration cycle, transforming from liquid to gaseous states and back.

Low refrigerant can cause the car’s air conditioner not to work in the front while it's working in the back. If the diagnosis is a leak in the AC hose, make sure to seal it up.

Replace Your Compressor

The compressor ensures that heat is absorbed and extracted from the area that needs to be cool.

This happens in synergy with the refrigerant by the compressor sucking in the heat that is absorbed from the cabin of the car. If the compressor is faulty due to a long period of inactivity, the refrigerant will not efficiently circulate cool air.

A faulty compressor can cause a car’s air conditioner not to work in the front area while it is working at the back.

To prevent this problem, you should use your car’s air conditioner for a minimum of 15 minutes every three weeks. However, the help of a professional is required to replace a faulty compressor.

Check Your Cooling Fan

The cooling fan is designed to work in synergy with the compressor. Proper functioning of the cooling fan ensures that the high-pressure gas that the condenser receives from the compressor is converted to liquid, resulting in the cool, dry air produced through the vents.

If the cooling fan is damaged, it will affect the condenser and result in a malfunction, where the car’s air conditioner may not work in the front area.

A blown fuse may be responsible for the malfunction. With the assistance of a professional, the fuse can be replaced. If the cooling fan itself requires a replacement, you can contact a professional.

Why Is My Car AC Blowing Hot Air?

Rear car air conditioning fans for the rear car seat

There are several reasons why the air conditioner of your car is blowing hot air. Here are some of them:

  • Malfunctioning electrical system.
  • Blocked or damaged condenser.
  • Low refrigerant level.
  • Damaged compressor due to inactivity over a long period of time.
  • Bad cooling fan.
  • Dirty air filter.

Does Car AC Use Battery?

Yes, an AC makes use of the car's battery, but indirectly. The air conditioning system requires electrical energy to function, but the car battery gives off mechanical energy.

This mechanical energy is then converted to electricity by a component called the alternator, with an attached voltage regulator which ensures that the produced electricity also recharges the car battery with the optimum amount of energy.

What Are The Components Of A Car's AC?

Front air conditioning fans for the front seat

Although you can find different types of cars, the major components of a car's AC are nearly the same.

There are several components with varying functions that make up the air conditioning system of the car. These include the compressor, condenser, evaporator, expansion valve, filter drier, and ventilation blower. Here are their functions:


A condenser ensures that compressed high-pressure gas which was warmed gets cooled. It is a heat exchanger. Additionally, it has fins and is curved so that heat can be released faster. The high-pressure gas is condensed by cooling into a liquid state.

A condenser fan assists in the cooling of the warm refrigerant. It blows air through the condenser, allowing the absorption of heat to take place in the condenser section.


A compressor is responsible for moving heat from the area that needs to be cool in refrigerant cycles.

The compressor warms the cold vapor from the evaporator, and this warmed gas is pushed into the condenser. Then the compressor sucks in the heat absorbed from the passenger area of the car by the refrigerant.

Compressor Clutch

A compressor clutch ensures that the compressor works, through a pulley rotational mechanism. It is connected to the compressor and the engine speed with a V-belt, resulting in a continuous rotation when the car’s air conditioner is turned on.


An evaporator is the component of the car’s air conditioning system that changes the form of a chemical substance from liquid to gas so that it is able to evaporate. When the high-pressure gas passes through the expansion valve, the evaporator absorbs heat.

Expansion Valve

An expansion valve controls the quantity of refrigerant released into the evaporator per time and regulates the temperature of the high-pressure gas that flows out of the evaporator.

Pressure Switch

A pressure switch is used to adjust the pressure of the cooled-down high-pressure gas upon reaching its input, automatically controlling the car’s air conditioning system. It is connected to the compressor.

Filter Drier

A filter drier is responsible for filtering dirt, water, and dust carried by the refrigerant. Water carried by the refrigerant has to be filtered out to avoid it freezing in the expansion pipe. It also dries the high-pressure gas temporarily storing the refrigerant in its liquid form.

Ventilation Blower

A ventilation blower blows high-pressure gas and air into the cabin of the car at an angle to the incoming heat absorbed air.

High-Pressure Service Connection

A high-pressure service connection is a safety tool that works when the pressure of the refrigerant is too high.

Can You Drive With A Bad AC Condenser?

Car air conditioning fan on top of the infotainment

Yes, you can drive a car with a faulty air conditioner condenser. Although a faulty air conditioner condenser will not affect your car or your driving, you will find it uncomfortable if you are driving in unfavorable weather conditions.

A faulty air conditioner condenser will lead to blockage in the air conditioning system, which may incur extra expenses. You should not ignore your faulty condenser. Make sure to fix it as soon as possible.

If your AC condenser is going bad, you will notice strange, loud noises coming from your unit. You may also notice that your AC isn't blowing cool.

Additionally, there might be a high amount of fluid coming out of your unit, which is more than the normal amount of condensation.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace An AC Condenser?

The replacement of an air conditioner condenser currently costs between $400 to $1000.

Labor costs range anywhere from $200 to $400. However, this price may differ based on the type of vehicle and if there are other components of the system that require repair or replacement.

Final Takeaway

A collaged photo of a rear and front car AC


When your car’s AC works in the back area but not in the front, you should check for low refrigerant, clean your AC vent, check your cooling fan, or replace your compressor. Any of these could be the cause of the problem.

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