Car AC Takes a While to Get Cold – Causes and Solution

It is usual for the AC to take a while to produce cold air for the interior cabin. Typically, this should take around 10 minutes to circulate. Yet, some Air-Condition may take too long.

There are a lot of factors that could cause the AC to take a lot of time before releasing cold air. These factors may include damaged compressors, low refrigerant, electrical problems, etc.

This article will discuss why car ac takes a while to get cold. We will also answer some related questions you may have about Ac repairs. Have a great read!

ac takes a while to turn on

Car ac takes a while to get cold – Causes.

You may wonder, “Why does my ac take so long to get a cold car?” It is because there is a problem with the AC system or one or more components.  The major causes include a damaged compressor, which prevents it from building pressure, faulty recirculation door, low refrigerants, electrical issues, dirty cabin air filter etc.

Below is a detailed examination of some causes of an AC that won’t get cold on time:

1. Damaged compressor

A defective compressor could be why the ac takes a while to get cold. The damaged part hinders the compressing of the refrigerant moving through the system, slowing down the refrigerant flow. Due to little or no refrigerant flow through the system will take longer for the AC to cool the vehicle

2. Low refrigerant

Once the AC system is low on refrigerant, it will be difficult for the AC to cool the vehicle interior. In some cases, the AC will take a while to get cold, while in other scenarios, the AC would get cold immediately and then start producing hot air.

3. Electrical problem

Electrical issues can cause the AC system to slow down, causing slower cooling. For instance, if your vehicle has a weak battery, it cannot generate enough current to trigger the AC compressor immediately. It might eventually do so, but it will take a while.

Also, defective electrical components can slow down the flow of electricity into the AC system. It has the same effect as having loose fitting of ac recharge hose.

4. Damaged blend door actuator

A blend door is a part of the car’s heating and cooling system. It controls or regulates the mix of cold and hot air entering the vehicle.

Once the blend door is damaged, it affects the mixture of hot and cold air entering the car. There will be a fluctuation in the air temperature coming from the vent. At first, it could be hot air, then switch to cold air.

5. Faulty radiator fan

The condition of the radiator fan will determine how cool the AC will be. When the fan is damaged, the AC system performance is affected, as the subcooling and condensing process in the condenser is reduced.

Also, the radiator fan will not allow for proper exchange or cooling of heat, which will enable the AC to overheat. 

6. Dirty air cabin filter

When the air cabin filter is clogged or dirty, the air-conditioning has to work twice as hard to cool the cabin. This will put more pressure on the AC system causing it to overheat and consume more energy inefficiently.

How to fix car ac takes long to get cold issue

If your AC takes a while to get cold in the car, you should first have a proper diagnosis. Several factors could cause the AC to delay before cooling the vehicle, and it can be tricky to decide which of the factors the cause without a proper diagnosis is.

Once you can get the exact cause of the problem, you can execute a suitable fix for the AC system.

Below are ways to fix a car ac takes long to get cold issue.

Fixing Car AC Issue YouTube

1. Refill the refrigerant

If the cause of the car taking too long to cool is due to a low refrigerant, then you recharge the ac. below is how to recharge the AC.

a. Assemble the refrigerant dispenser

b. Start the engine and confirm that the compressor is activated. 

c. Test the pressure of the compressor

d. Locate the low-pressure side of the refrigerant fill port

e. Attach the dispenser

f. Recharge the system.

g. Ensure that you do not add too much. Fix it if there is any refrigerant leakage.

2. Replace the damaged compressor

If the AC compressor is bad, you may need to replace it. It is not a hard process; you just need the right steps.

a. First, you need to discharge the AC refrigerant.

b. Remove or detach any parts in the way of the compressor.

c. Remove the lines that run through the part

d. Now, you can take off the compressor.

e. Install the new one.

f. Also, replace the O-ring and install the lines back.

3. Fix an electrical problem  

To fix electrical issues, you need to determine the electrical components which is the source of the case with the AC. The electrical component could be the battery, wires, or fuse.

If the battery is weak, have it charged immediately; the issue with the AC should be resolved. However, if the battery does not retain charge, it is bad and should be replaced.

In addition, if the electrical issue is wiring, you need to get where the AC wires are. You can use the owner’s manual for your vehicle to get the exact wiring access for the AC.

Once the wires are found, examine the wires for any damages like broken connection, corrosion, exposed wires, and any other damage. If any of these damages are found, replace the wires immediately. 

4. Repair blend door actuator

If the blend door actuator is damaged, you may need to replace it. It is best to have this replacement done by a professional. However, you can manually reset the blend by doing the following.

  • Find the blend door actuator; there could be multiple actuator doors.
  • Remove the actuator from the shaft and ensure the blend door moves without obstruction.
  • Finally, turn on the vehicle.

5. Replace the air cabin filter

The air cabin filter should be changed at regular intervals; usually every 12000 to 15,000 miles traveled. This ensures that fresh air flows into the cabin at all times. It is located in the glove box of the car. Ensure the filter housing is also cleaned correctly.

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

The AC should start blowing cold air after 5 minutes of activation. However, the interior of the vehicle will take 5 to 10 minutes to get cool, and it could take a little more time during hot temperatures.

The cooling effect is a gradual process that takes a little time to build up. The process starts from under the vehicle’s hood, and the compressor builds up pressure slowly as the vehicle moves.

Furthermore, when the AC system eventually produces cool air, the vehicle’s interior may still radiate hot air. It will take some time for the interior to become adequately cooled.


Why is my ac taking so long to cool in my car? The answer is simple: one or more AC components are failing. However, you should also know that the AC system will not immediately get cold. There is a waiting period between 5 to 10 minutes, a maximum of 15 minutes if the weather is extremely hot. If the AC goes beyond 15 minutes before getting cold, a problem should be looked into.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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