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I have a 2011 Honda Civic LX with about 70k miles on it. As of a few weeks ago the AC really started having cooling problems; however, this all seemed to happen gradually. It seems to get a bit colder if the engine is revved but at idle on max AC you can barely tell that it's on.

Things I know:

  • I can see the compressor engaging with no hesitation and staying on.
  • The blower fan seems to be normal, putting out the usual amount of air.
  • The condenser fan turns on.
  • If I touch the low pressure AC tubing it seems very cold.
  • It doesn't seem to matter how long the AC is running it usually stays the same temperature unless the RPM increases.

Things I have tried:

  • I have checked the pressure of the refrigerant on the low tubing and it seemed normal.
  • I added a few psi of freon out of desperation with no change.

This does not seem normal for a four year old car. After some research I did see people having similar problems but none as specific as mine. I am not sure where else to start looking. Let me know if more info is needed. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

*Update July 2018

I ended up taking the car to a Honda dealer and $1200 later the AC worked again. They told me there was an issue with the compressor clutch so they ended up replacing both the clutch and compressor all together. I tried to get them to warranty the work at the time with no luck.

AFTER 2.5 YEARS IT BROKE AGAIN! It seem to go out in a similar way as it did last time. It would be cold for the first 5-10 mins of the drive then hot. This time the compressor clutch doesn't engage and condenser fan does not come on. After taking it to my mechanic and watching him diagnose it, we are leaning towards the the compressor being shot. When he put power directly to the clutch bypassing the AC relay (which was the first thing I replaced with no luck) you could see and hear the engine struggle as power was applied and eventually caused it to stall the car.

This might be a different issue then the previous issue where it seems instead of it being the compressor clutch it looks like the compressor itself has seized.

Now time to decide if I want to put a 3rd compressor in a car that's worth $3,500 on a good day. Really disappointed in Honda after all this.

  • I remember my sister-in-law had an 08 or 09 Civic and her AC would also sporadically go out. Her "fix" for it was to pull over, pop the hood, then slam it down real hard, and magically it would blow cold air again :D – Jerreck Aug 11 '15 at 17:54
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    Hmm I will have to try that one. I can't think of a Honda that I have owned that hasn't had AC issues. Aside from that they are wonderful, super reliable cars. Thanks! – ajn Aug 11 '15 at 17:58
  • Ha, I know it's not that useful but you're welcome. Here's another very similar question that may be useful, though: mechanics.stackexchange.com/q/11479/11339 – Jerreck Aug 11 '15 at 18:04
  • What was the low side pressure? How about the high side? What was the ambient temperature when you took those readings? – Zaid Aug 11 '15 at 19:35
  • A few pounds (mass) of Freon is a LOT for almost any car AC system. Please confirm that you meant psi (pounds per square inch) – Zaid Aug 11 '15 at 19:37
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If the ECO mode is engaged on a Honda Civic the A/C won't be seriously cold. The Eco mode adjusts the A/C, the engine and transmission for maximum fuel economy. Disengage the ECO mode and A/C gets nice and chilly even at city speed. I own a 2012 Civic LX with 140,000km (87,000 miles) with no A/C issues whatsoever. The A/C system on a Honda Civic uses only .75Kg(1.65 lbs) of refrigerant. Overcharging the system will damage the compressor. A/C systems specify not only what type of refrigerant and how much.

  • Hmm.. Interesting, I don't have an ECO mode with the 2011 Civic. This must have started with 2012+ models. – ajn Jul 6 '18 at 14:09
  • You can't miss it.... It the green button with word eco on it, – Old_Fossil Jul 6 '18 at 17:15
  • There's no such thing as ECO mode on a 2011 Civic. – pll33 May 29 at 18:10
  • @pll33 must have started that in 2012.... – Old_Fossil May 30 at 2:09
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My brother had the same problem with he's 2012 Nissan sunny (versa) all those you mentioned is been done until I found out that the Temperature selector cable is loose so this means its stocked and its no longer select from heating or cooling so maybe yours is on heating still because the cable is loose it wont go back to cooling, it doesn't matter what's the Temperature selector showing from outside because the cable is loose and always mixing cold and heat at the same time, so see if your is not loose for the sunny air conditioning unit was manual I am not sure if your Auto maybe its different , I hope this helps.

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ironically, they changedmy air filter and bam.... freezing cold again...2011 civic. went through everything you said.... no explanation... I can't find the reason tjis worked???

  • I assume by filter you are referring to the cabin air filter. A dirty cabin air filter restricts the air flow around the evaporator core (the cold part of the A/C system) reducing its effectiveness. In extreme cases it causes the core to freeze up and can actually result in pieces of ice coming out of vents.. – Old_Fossil Jun 30 '17 at 2:14
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Those honda civic 06-11 tend to leave the heat on of the heat system the valve tends to stay a little open and the heat will mix with the cold of the compressor, you just have to disconect the heat systems fuse and manually close the valve that is located behind the radio.

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