Check for faulty blend door for air conditioning problem

Ask the Auto Doctor

Dear Doctor: I drive a 2009 Honda CR-V. The passenger-side air conditioning is only blowing cold air when on the lowest settling; otherwise it blows hot air. The driver’s side is fine. The dealership told me the compressor “burned out” and also had a faulty valve. I paid $1,576, but on the way home, the same problem occurred again! If the compressor were “burned out,” then why would any cold air be blowing at all?


Dear Myrna: If the a/c compressor were burned out, then there would be no cold air at all. A blend door fault is the most common cause of the system blowing cold air through one side and hot on the other. A scan of the HVAC system will usually show a fault code — and on some vehicles the scan tool can diagnose the operation of the blend door. To check the compressor, the technician should have started with a system evacuation and refill it with the correct amount of refrigerant. One option is to go to an independent shop with ASE technicians: If the tech finds a faulty blend door problem, then have them correct it. Go back to the dealer for a full refund.

Dear Doctor: I have a low-mileage 2005 Corvette with 15,000 miles. My question regards storage. We live in high-humidity South Florida, and keep the car in a garage that is constantly opened. Should I run a de-humidifier or fan? Anthony

Dear Anthony: It would be great to have air circulating in the garage. A dehumidifier requires continuous draining, unless you are going to remove the drain bucket every day, and the garage door would need to be sealed air tight. A climate-controlled storage unit is a good idea. Check the condition of the frame paint and metal lines under the hood monthly.

Dear Doctor: I have a 1997 Pontiac Firebird Formula WS6 with 136,000 miles. Recently, I was driving with an OBDII scanner attached and noticed that the dash readings (speed, RPM, and coolant temperature) were higher than what the scanner was showing. I tried the scanner on a different car and those numbers were correct. Any ideas what would cause this? The car runs fine, otherwise.


Dear Steve: Your 1997 vehicle was the second year of OBDII. The computer, dash cluster gauges, and sensors are all old and will lose accuracy over time. When you connect to the ALDL connector under the dash, the scan tool is reading the actual information from the computer. The computer information then goes on to the dash gauges. I would not be concerned. Enjoy your Firebird.

Dear Doctor: I’m in the market for a new SUV and am considering the Toyota 4Runner. Do you have an opinion on this vehicle?


Dear John: The Toyota 4Runner has been around for many years and is known as a workhorse with a very hard ride. But the 2019 4Runner was a big surprise to me. The 4Runner does not ride like an SUV; it handles more like a car. The improved ride is smooth; not rough or harsh, like previous years. The engine is also very quiet under all driving conditions. Power is from a 4.0-liter six-cylinder 270-horsepower engine via the automatic transmission. The Toyota 4Runner 2WD starts at $34,910, the AWD is $36,785, and the top-line Nightshade 4×4 is $47,000.

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