I have a 2001 Honda Civic. The A/C works pretty well - it comes on fast and blows cold. However, after 5 - 10 minutes it stops cooling and starts blowing warm air. If I turn the A/C off, after another 5 - 10 minutes I am able to turn it on again and I can feel the compressor engage and it cools again.

Could this be due to low freon? Can I fix this myself?

  • 1
    I'm not sure, but if your A/C system looks like this, it could very well be that the A/C Accumulator is bad (partially plugged) and not letting the R134a get through like it's supposed to. This is not something the average mechanic can fix. The other type of auto A/C system looks like this. Jul 23, 2014 at 23:32

4 Answers 4


Normally the cause of this is an expansion valve that will not open up fully because it is stuck. Your system looks like the second link that Paulster2 linked. The valve is way under the passenger dash and really painful to mess with.

If you can't live with it as is, I would ensure there is sufficient freon in your system (probably is based on blowing cold initially). Then assuming good freon level, discharge the system, replace the accumulator/drier cheap 20-30 bucks, possibly clogged, and easy to replace. It's just behind the driver side headlight, swap old for new and then vacuum the system and refill with freon; cross fingers that it works now. If not, the next step would be replacing the expansion valve, which is a pain and not likely something you want to attempt yourself.

  • 1
    Thanks for this - I did end up adding a full can of freon - I got one with a built-in pressure gauge. This did seem to decrease the temperature of the air. However it did not remedy the intermittent symptoms.
    – ItsJason
    Aug 26, 2014 at 16:10
  • Did you ever end up replacing any components until you figured out where you had a refrigerant restriction? Or, did you get lucky and were just low on freon?
    – zerpsed
    Jun 21, 2018 at 20:37

My 2008 Civic developed same symptoms. I am pretty certain it is the compressor clutch. I examined the compressor and noticed that the clutch on the front was rusty. Not scaley but brown. I downed the clutch assembly with WD 40. Worked. Maybe a short term fix but I'm not hot for the time being. If you try this don't spray on the belt nor the alternator fan.


This could be a case of ice formation near the expansion valve. After the compressor runs for a certain period of time, the freon flow would be choked and would resume after a while when the ice has melted away. Ice formation can occur if somehow moisture got introduced into the system.

As an experiment to pin point the problem, you can have your AC blow hot air and see if that improves the time that the system takes to start cooling again normally.


It's a simple fix. I had the exact same issue with my Honda 2010 Civic. It's the faulty A/c Power Relay Assembly. Autozone have it (or NAPA in Canada) and Cost under $10 bucks for the relay plug and just under 5 minutes of your time to replace it.

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