Just a guy with an aptitude for many things mechanical, electrical, and electronic who has been building and fixing things for 40+ years.
We live in Arizona and needless to say, during the summer it tends to get a little warm; it's a dry heat they say. Whatever ... it's hot!
My wife had been complaining that the A/C in "her" car, a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe, didn't seem to be working as well as it used to. We didn't have a chance to get it in the shop before we left on our trip to Flagstaff for the Fourth of July weekend, but we figured it'd be okay until we got back. Wouldn't you know it, though; shortly after we started out, we agreed the A/C wasn't working very well at all. It worked reasonably well if we were traveling 40 mph or more, but when we slowed down or stopped, it started blowing warm air.
Since the chances of a traffic jam on I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff on holiday weekend seemed pretty high, we decided to go back home, transfer everything from the Santa Fe to our truck, and use that for the weekend. We'd worry about the A/C when we got back.
The Mechanic Thought the A/C Was Working Well
The weekend went well and we had a lot of fun, but it ended, as usual. So that meant I had to do something about the A/C.
I took it to a shop, and they checked out the A/C and told me everything was working well except that it was half a pound low on refrigerant. Since the system capacity is just 1.3 lbs, half a pound low is significant. For $160 and some pocket change they evacuated the system to get out all the air and water, and refilled it with refrigerant, oil, and a dye to help find future leaks.
It worked better after that but it still wasn't 100%. At stop lights, it would still blow warm air. Once we got moving again, it would blow cool air again after a couple minutes. Apparently, everything was NOT working well.
I'm not a professional mechanic but I'm pretty handy. I do most of the maintenance and repair on our cars, home, appliances, etc. Although I have almost zero experience with A/C, I decided to look at it myself. Five minutes of research on the Internet revealed that the most common reason for A/C blowing warm air at idle is a condenser fan that's not working.
I Looked Under the Hood
It took some looking to find the condenser and condenser fan. The condenser is located in front of the radiator on the driver's side, the fan is located behind the radiator. The condenser looks similar to a small radiator.
I started the car, turned on the A/C and never saw the fan run. That made me wonder why the engine didn't overheat. More research revealed that there is also a fan located in front of the radiator on the passenger side; this is the radiator fan. This one was running.
Both A/C fans are electric. On some cars these fans can start at any time, even when the car is turned off, so keep your fingers and anything else you value away from them. Disconnect the battery or the fan connector if you need to work directly on the fan.
Checking Voltages With a Multimeter
I did more internet research was done to find out what could cause the fan not to run. Most of what I found was related to fuses under the dash, and fuses, fusible links, and relays under the hood.
The first thing I decided to check was voltage at the fan. If there's voltage at the fan that pretty much narrows it down to a bad fan.
I could't get the fan connector apart, so I checked voltage by sticking two pins in the wires of the fan harness. No voltage. I checked all fuses, fusible links, and relays and all tested good. I pulled the connector off of the temperature sensor, which should start the fan if everything else is good. No go: the fan just sat there.
Now I was stumped. There was not much else to look at except wiring and the thought of troubleshooting wiring didn't appeal to me at all.
The Problem Was a Melted Fan Connector
It bothered me that the fan connector wouldn't come apart, so I decided to get that apart even if I broke it in the process. I figured if it broke, I would splice it. I pried one side with a screwdriver and heard a slight snap. Did the same to the other side and also heard a snap. After that, it slid apart easily.
I checked voltage at the supply side of the connector and read 12 volts. Now I was getting somewhere! I had voltage on one side of the connector but not the other! Further inspection revealed that the inside of the plug was melted, possibly due to a bad connection that caused excessive resistance.
Put current through resistance and it creates heat. Put enough current through enough resistance and it creates too much heat. Many plastics don't like heat.
Keep your fingers away from the fans. Disconnect the battery or the fan connector if you need to work directly on the fan.
How I Did My Repair
1. I bought some weatherproof butt connectors from Checker. If you do this repair yourself, you will also want to have on hand a crimping tool and some electrical tape or heat-shrink.
2. I removed the condenser fan relay so that no power would be at the connector.
3. I cut the leads off of both sides of the connector. I spliced the now connector-less wires with the butt connectors.
4. With the power disconnected, I checked the fan to make sure it turned freely. It did!
5. I let it idle for 10 to 15 minutes, and the condenser fan ran continuously and the A/C blew cold the entire time.
6. Satisfied with my repair, I wrapped the spliced wire tight with electrical tape and zip-tied it to the bracket where the connector was located.
I Was Not the First to Find a Melted Connector in a Hyundai A/C
At the time, nowhere on the Internet did I see this connector mentioned as a possible problem. The outside of it had looked fine; it was just the inside that was melted.
But, the Internet is now saying in a number of places that connectors in air conditioners, including in other Hyundai models like the Sonata, melt and cause this problem of no cooling when the car is not running fast.
Justin Peters, who made the video below, had a similar problem on the same car: a failed connector leading to the condenser fan, on his 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. He fixed it by picking apart the interior of the connector. He explains that a loose connection can melt and fail entirely. The loose connection causes higher resistance, and causes more power to be dissipated across the connection, which ends up as heat and melts the wire.
In a Kia Spectra (and the video author says the Hyundai Elantra is similar), a a similar connector in a different place (near the passenger-side foot well) melted and caused the A/C's temperature sensor to fail.
I learned a long time ago that when troubleshooting, you should never say, "That can't be the problem." Entertain all possibilities from the complex to the extremely simple. In this case it was a simple component that nobody told me was prone to fail ... but it did.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Derek L. Smith on August 17, 2020:
I looked at the connector in my wife's 2005 Santa Fe and saw EXACTLY the same thing; even the same side (lower male contact) was burned. I thank you greatly for your insights.
john on August 06, 2020:
the mech replace sa radiator and the ac fan I just drove from shop to house then something burning the sante fe 2005 model hate to go back to the shop its been 2x and still issues not fix!
Bob on July 19, 2020:
I have a 2005 Tucson. When i turn the air condition and 4 wheel drive on i loose power it wont go pass 20 miles an hour. I had it in the shop they put all 3 censor in all 6 sparkplug. Still not working. I need help .
Omer on July 19, 2020:
My Elantra 2013 A/C is going weird, 2 windows give cold air as supposed, but the other 2 doesn't??!!!
What is the cause ??
Thank you very much
Judy Mackinnon on June 21, 2020:
Strange but true, my Ac in my Santa Fe blows cold air on the passengers side and cool but not cold on drivers side I do not have duel control on my car. Can anyone explain that .
Nelson (Philippines) on June 10, 2020:
I have the same issue with the a/c of my Tucson 2010. Having no idea on how a/c works, I immediately plan to buy an auxiliary fan to be installed in the condenser or radiator area. However, your (this) video made me think twice. Thank you for sharing this.
Joe on July 21, 2019:
Started having problems with the ac on my 2007 Hyundai Azera limited.
1. Cooling would come and go while driving and sometimes not cool for a good while.
2. When idling, it may cool only for a little while and that would be while the ac clutch was engaged.
3. Check the low side pressure which was running about 50 lbs. When engine off, the pressure was up to about 120 lbs.
4. Suspected the ac high/low switch but had not purchased on yet.
There were a number of comments about condenser fan not running and connectors melting. Seemed to be a common problem.
Checked the car and found the fan and then noticed that there was no cable plugged into the fan cable. Poked around and found the other end of the cable and plugged it in.
Started the car and it cools like a dream again. From the information in the comments, it appears that without the fan running to cool the refrigerant, this could cause the high/low ac switch to cut off the compressor due to pressures being outside of acceptable limits.
Thanks for the comments, this saved me from going to a dealer for help !
Jenai on July 09, 2019:
I had the same problem and after reading this article 2 yrs ago I told my m chanic before he tries charging me for a whole system repair to read the article and just investigate the chance it was the fan connection being melted just the way it was for so many here in this forum . Sure enough I was correct only being a woman getting anyone to listen to me was next to impossible and even when they did listen they still tried telling me there was going to be issues with getting to the faulty connector finding an aftermarket replacement and blah blah blah bs resulting in the shop still tried charging me 400 to resolve the issue despite everyone commenting here that they were often able to fix it themselves without any more than a few bucks and so I went for fun to get a second opinion and that's when things got absolutely clear that shops I went to all pull the same crap on woman. When they see BOOBS they translate to DOLLAR SIGNS and the second shop even went so far as telling me MY ENTIRE AC SYSTEM WAS ALL BAD AND HAD TO BE TOTALLY REPLACED and even went on to tell me that my VENTS WERE CLOGGED AND HAD TO BE CLEARED OUT . . his written estimate to fix my AC came to a whopping outragiously false $1695. and I just looked at him and smiled and said gee that's terrible well thanks and I'll be back when I find 1700 bucks to give you for absolutely nothing more than a little bit of time and electrical tape
. And then I left and fixed it myself for nothing . Went back to both lying scamming theiving repair shops with my dogs and ice cold AC and pulled in and told em HI COME HERE A SECOND and if you could have seen the look on their faces when I showed them my ice cold AC repaired you would have laughed your butts off I still to this day wonder why I did not report them to the automotive board for lying outright to my face and trying to charge me hundreds to almost 2 thousand after a summer of unbearable heat that nearly killed us for lack of AC over a 15 minute fix . Thank you AXEL ADDICT AND THE PERSONS POSTING THIS THREAD you made an old lady very happy and helped teach a couple crooked shops a lesson. And with that I would add HYUNDAI SHOULD ADDRESS THIS COMMON PROBLEM WITH A RECALL .there is no excuse why so many owners all had to suffer fixing things needlessly over cheap melted plastic connectors. Shame on HUYUNDAI .
Nom on July 08, 2019:
Exact thing happened on my Santa but I found out only during replacement of the fan (didn't need to).
Robert on June 29, 2019:
Thanks for writing this, having a similar issue with my 2006 Elantra. I’ll check this first!
Patrick on June 26, 2019:
I have a 2007 Tuson AC stopped blowing but condenser still working. What could be the problem??? It’s Hot here in central Florida
Carhiranf0@gmail.com on May 13, 2019:
I got a 2014 Sonata and my A/C stop blowing air on the vents on the front I don't know what's going on
Mike on May 11, 2019:
Oh, my dang.. thank you so much, this fixed it right up.. outstanding article, sir.
Danielle on February 27, 2019:
In 2015, I bought my 2004 Santa Fe. Part of the sale was to fix the a/c unit. THey told me they had to redo the entire unit. Threes later, the a/c started not to work 100%. It took a while for the air to really cool off the car. In Sept of that year, it stopped working all together .What could the issue? The condenser?
CM on February 25, 2019:
Hi, I have a 2010 Santa Fe that in the last 2 days has been turning ON the air con by itself so I turn it off and then a few minutes later it will turn On again. In a 20min drive it turned on 3 times. Any ideas??
kim p on October 08, 2018:
my husband put freeon in my daughters car and nothing was wrong but now that he did that no cold air will blow and it was working fine before
Bernadette on September 13, 2018:
Ive changed my motor blower but my air still not working what else could be wrong
Tom on August 21, 2018:
2015santa fe has a leaking AC system in the passenger compartment
Lydia Ling on August 11, 2018:
What is the problem, if the air conditioner dripping water into the room?
Allen white on July 26, 2018:
Air conditioner keep blowing fuses
luiz jose teperino de castro - Brasil - on July 12, 2018:
I have the similar problem in My Sonata GLS 2011. The a/c doesn´t work with car stoped. The A/C come to work good with car running above 30 miles per hour. I will try tomorrow to make it with mechanics / electrician. I will make more comments after try it. Thanks .
Jim on July 08, 2018:
Are the hyundai mechanics so stupid that they can't see the fan isn't turning?
Jamie on July 06, 2018:
Thank you so much for this article! I think I would still be dealing with this issue if it wasn't for this article detailing the issue. It sounds like I got the run around like many Hyundai owners. I have a 2013 Tuscon Hyundai. I was fortunate to have a warranty that covered all the needless stuff they wanted to do. I don't know anything about cars, but you don't have to know a lot about cars to know when your AC stops working at the stop lights!! At one point, they tried to tell me it was fine after running diagnostics. They took me to the shop where they had my vehicle running to show me it was fine. Low and behold, it was still blowing hot air. I'm like, "well, I don't know about you but this sure feels hot to me!!" Long story short, they had my vehicle for about 2 weeks. They replaced the compressor twice in addition to other random parts...yes, twice. Without his blessing, I asked the receptionist for the master mechanics email address. I sent him this article. When everything he did failed, he finally looked at the article. He admitted this article was accurate and said the compressor probably never needed replaced...oh really, who said that from the start?!?
LaDonna McCall on July 05, 2018:
I have a 2008 Tucson. The ac compressor is going off and on but the fan isn’t working after the car has been turned off. If I hit a bump or a few bumps, air will start blowing through the vents. Any ideas? firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim on June 19, 2018:
have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata AC don't work properly when in traffic or at a red light works fine going down the road cooling fan doesn't kick on soon enough doesn't seem light anything on that
Cindy on April 26, 2018:
My son's air conditioning stopped working. We noticed prior to that it was leaking refrigerant. The leak was getting worse and worse as he needed to put it in every week. We did put in the one with the stop leak but that didn't work. Now the air conditioning doesn't work at all. We were told by a mechanic that we needed a new compressor. After reading your article and comments I'm wondering if it's just a connector problem. This has seem to be the problem with a lot of people so this is why I'm questioning a new air compressor. It's a 2004 Hyundai sonata glad. We were quoted $680 to replace the compressor but don't want to replace it if it's only the connector. How would you be able to tell if it's just the connector or not? Since I know nothing about cars how do you suggest I mention this to my mechanic without questioning his ability as a car mechanic?
Butch Mate on April 14, 2018:
Guys can you help me deal with the same AC problem with my 2007 Santa Fe - Diesel. It's AC works really well on City driving, with all the traffic and so. My problem is, when driving in the tollways with no traffic and with speed reaching 80 kms per hour, there is no cold air coming out of the AC. When car slows down back to speeds of 40 up to 60 kms, the AC works perfectly well. PLEASE help! Appreciate response in this thread. Thanks!
Mason on March 30, 2018:
Thanks i just did the same thing and now ac works fine connectors were melted
Short on October 03, 2017:
My fan does run but I after a while the air gets very hot. Do you have any other suggestion for this.
Bey on September 25, 2017:
Unfortunately, for me, i am not as good as you are (two left hands sans degree in Electronics ... :-( ... )
I hope my mechanic will not rip me off...
Flo Mak on July 31, 2017:
I'm having exactly the same problem with my 2015 Hyundai Tucson. It blows hot air on idle. Since I still have the warranty, I brought it to the dealership and suggested to them that maybe it's the connector. They don't want to hear it since I told them that I researched it on the web. So now, they replaced my A/C compressor but I don't think that is it. I shall see tomorrow when I pick it up.
D33jay on July 18, 2017:
Hello I have a major problem with Our air conditioner in Out 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe. It's a 2.7 liter V6 GLS Model. See We Bought this SUV in Alaska and We didn't need at that time and We recently moved to Arizona. Everything works but no cool air coming through the vents. Only hot air coming through. What is my suggestion
Zac on June 27, 2017:
I have a 2007 Huyndia Tuson. I been having problems with my car's air conditioning. The ac was blowing well on all air speeds. Then the problem started, the blower stopped working and no ac. I would drive for 10-12 mins when it sould come on. Now it doesn't come on at all the blower and ac. I took the car to Sears and low and behold it worked when they started, Sears told me that it must be a wire short that I need to take it a Hyundia dealer. As soon as I drove away from Sears the ac stopped working..any suggestions..Yes I have read your column it may help. Thanks for any advice Zac
George walthall on May 29, 2017:
I don't understand all I read. But I seem to have the same simptoms. Thanks for all the help.
KFC1102 on March 27, 2017:
The information here is excellent on the problem, SMART THINKING...Have had my 2005 Hyundai xg350 AC system checked by three separate mechanics. Searched for leak, recharged/refilled, 5 times, and gone by next morning new compressor etc etc etc. Can't find anyone in North Jersey... already out about $1,500... low low mileage on car want to give it my son.....but no AC...dON'T KNOW WHER TO TURN kfc1102
Mark L sutton on February 28, 2017:
Will this problem be in Hyundai IX35 turbo diesel it will blow hot and cold air I have had 5 air conditioning control panels in it already
Mark on February 28, 2017:
Will this problem be in Hyundai IX35 turbo diesel I have the same problem it will blow hot air and then it will blow cold air I have had 5 air conditioned front control panels in it already
Tyisha sheppeard on December 13, 2016:
I have a 2002 hyundai sonata air condition was working and all of a sudden i have no power.changed out all of the fuses and still wont come on .i am lost
Malik on October 02, 2016:
Sir really good advice Thanks for your post
Steve Mark (author) from Arizona on October 01, 2016:
Sorry for the delay. I think you meant the connector to the condensor fan, not the condensor. I don't know what your shop found but if the problem is indeed the connector for the fan, it's very easy to access with no more than opening the hood. It may be that they want to replace part of the wiring harness and install a new connector so that it's OEM or maybe they want to replace the whole fan which might require dropping the condensor. Either option is the "right way" to do it I suppose but given the number of people that have read this article (60,000+), it's a common problem which in my opinion means that it's a design issue with the connector. A new one will eventually burn up again unless Hyundai has redesigned the part. That's why I elected to use butt connectors. It's not pretty but it works.
Keep in mind that I'm not a professional mechanic. I'm just a guy with an aptitude for many things mechanical, electrical, and electronic who has been building and fixing things for 40+ years. But in that 40+ years I've found that just because someone does something for a living, doesn't prove that they're always right or good at it.
Good luck, I hope you get the problem fixed.
Jenai Herod on September 14, 2016:
So if its a bad connector to the condenser as was diagnosed used on my 2005 Santa Fe then how did you get to it without dropping the whole condenser like the shop wants to do for 350 .if you all could do it why can't he ?? Just curious hoping to save a little,money on this connector repair to flush and charge AC refrigerant after the connector is fixed. ( all parts checked out ok after I made my mechanic read this first and he said I was right its just the connector and a second wanted 1400 to replace everything and I just laughed thanks for the article )
Tom on August 25, 2016:
I have a 2008 Hyundai. The a/c does not do anything after sitting in the hot sun for any length of time. Stopped in the bank for 10 minutes in 90 + degrees. Came out. No fan . In the morning it should run. any ideas?
jrusling on August 23, 2016:
I'll be darned!----------your AC Condenser Cooling Fan connector solution did the trick for me----well done! Never would have thought to just eliminate the connector and just Butt Crimp.
Can't believe Hyundai hasn't picked up on this and recalled---or warned us.
Now---- next prob-----my gas cap latch tab not working. Have to use manual wire release in trunk. Any smart fixes----other than ripping out the door panel and replacing the switch?
Danny on August 22, 2016:
Santa Fe 2012. Hyundai said my return line for my a/c has hole I wish I read comments before I bought it to Hyundai lm praying that they are sure Cost 385.00. Get it back 2 days Ps read comments before do anything. Thanks for your comments!!!!
Kurt on August 09, 2016:
This should be a standard first read blog when troubleshoot Hyundai electrical issues. I have a 2006 Santa Fe and 2007 Veracruz and they both have had issues. One was the fan on the radiator...engine came close to overheating. Solution...splice around the original connector. Now our 2007 Veracruz is having issues with the front zone climate control. Back zone is blowing cold air fine...but the front does intermittently. Hope it is just a connector.
Ryan San diego on July 27, 2016:
Just followed your awesome instructions! Fan now works but the air coming out is not getting cold? Can you help??
Joyce on July 26, 2016:
I have a 2012 Hyundai Accent - a/c blows cold air but air comes out on low even when on Max. Shop put in relay - but didn't work - still blows on low. Now telling me I need a fan motor. But fan to me works just doesn't blow out on high to cool car no matter how fast I drive.
Pat on July 22, 2016:
Have a 2006 Sante Fe and it's at the dealer as we speak with the same problem for the third time. First time, new compressor, second time new condenser. Now they're telling me I need another compressor - last one was put in in 12/2014, probably a refurbished one!! Ugh. At their mercy because I'm a widow and don't know of anyone who works on cars.
joe on July 21, 2016:
I want to thank you for the input on the ac unit. I have a 2005 santa fe with the same problems and for 3 $ for couplings my ac now works. Thanks again.
Cody P on June 12, 2016:
I have a 2012 Sonata and had the same problem.
Thanks for the thread it fixed my issue!
nwaves on May 31, 2016:
Replacement Hyundai part number 9120026000FFF, $8.50 at the nearest dealership.
Helena Dee on May 25, 2016:
I love you!!! Your post might just save my 80 yr. old husband alot of grief this weekend when he has to wk on our daughter's Tucson. She has complained of no a/c unless she is going at least 50mph. Even if this doesn't fix the problem, your post is written so plain that I think even I could do the steps. Thank you, Thank you!!!!
Emm on September 08, 2015:
Exact same problem. Works great now. Question, did any of you replace that melted connector or did you just leave it by passed?
James on September 02, 2015:
Thank you! I had the exact same issue!
Gino on August 23, 2015:
You saved me at least the service charge. Found the same problem and repaired myself. THANKS!!!!
Watcho from Houston, Texas on July 10, 2014:
2005 Hyundai Santa Fe, same problems, fix worked like a charm! Thank you so much!
If anyone is wondering, it's a 10-12gauge butt connector. I got a pack of 'em at O'Reilly's for $5.
Jeff on December 05, 2013:
So good to know! It's expensive to get air conditioning fixed here in Edmonton. http://lucedheatingfurnacesairconditioning.ca
mark on September 14, 2013:
Thanks! I just had a shop want to charge me $360 to replace the fan. Don't think so! It was just the connector. :)
Bill Foster from Spring Hill, Florida on August 30, 2013:
I've been living with this issue for 2 years in Florida....what a simple fix. Thank you!!!
Kyle on August 24, 2013:
AZDog: Thanks my friend, that was exactly the problem, got it fixed for 5 bucks.
DB on August 01, 2013:
Same thing here...just pulled it apart and found a burnt connector. We've been getting very hot air in the car during the mid day. Thanks a bunch!
Steve Mark (author) from Arizona on July 24, 2013:
Wow, I never thought that this Hub would help so many people. Thank you for all the kind words.
SteveInDenver on July 21, 2013:
Hello, we have a 2001 Santa Fe and have been having AC -overheating issues for a while now and sure enough our fan wasn't running too. So, I pulled the connector apart and it was melted as well. My wife and I then ran to the auto parts store to get the butt connectors and followed your very thorough step by step instructions and...walla...the fan is back working. The repair cost us less than ten dollars! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Steve Mark (author) from Arizona on July 13, 2013:
Thank you for the compliments, I'm glad that it helped you and saved you big money.
Sally on July 12, 2013:
Great info! I'm a senior tech who works on large office copiers/printers and I am so pleased that I don't have to spend $ on a compressor and I can fix it myself. I just checked and my connector melted as well. Thanks for your thoroughness with the pics and info.
Steve Mark (author) from Arizona on June 30, 2013:
I'm glad that this hub is helping you guys.
Bill on June 29, 2013:
Thanks so much ! Fixed my problem in minutes.
Eric on June 08, 2013:
Thanks for this!!! Just took in our 2004 Santa fe and had $500 worth of work done which corrected the problem for 2 days and bam...same issues...well after I read this I discovered that we had a burnt connector as well! Needless to say we will not be going back to the so called "Repair Shop"
Ccochran on July 05, 2012:
I check all the same things and sure enough the inside of the connector was melted. Spliced the wires together and now she's working great.
Thanks for your post.
Ed miranda on April 10, 2012:
I have the same problem i am going to use your help thank you