Hyundai Air Conditioning Troubleshooting

Updated on July 25, 2013

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. I figured it probably needed a recharge and all would be well again.

Well, we didn't have a chance to get it in the shop before we left on our trip to Flagstaff for the 4th 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, 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.

I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff can be very busy during holiday weekends and the chances of getting stuck in a traffic jam are pretty high. Before we got very far, 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 get back.

Surroundings like this make for a great weekend!
Surroundings like this make for a great weekend!

Everything Works Well?

The weekend went well and we had a lot of fun but the weekend came to an end and as usual the hand of reality slapped us into the first day of the work week. So...that meant I had to do something about the A/C. I took it to a shop, they checked out the A/C and told me everything was working well except that it was .5 lbs low on refrigerant. The system capacity is 1.3 lbs. so .5 lbs low is significant. For $160 and some pocket change they evacuated the system to get out all the air and water and refilled 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. Well, 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.

What Am I Looking For Again?

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.

WARNING: Both 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.

Almost Out Of Options!

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. Checked all fuses, fusible links, and relays and all tested good. Pulled the connector off of the temp sensor which should start the fan if everything else is good. No go, the fan just sat there. Now I was stumped, not much else except wiring and the thought of troubleshooting that didn't appeal to me at all.

Eureka!

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 breaks, I'll 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'm getting somewhere! I have 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. From that mumbo jumbo you'd never know that I have a degree in electronics but I don't want people dozing off before they finish reading.

The relay that you will need to remove is under this cover.
The relay that you will need to remove is under this cover.
The condenser fan relay was removed temporarily to disconnect power to the fan.
The condenser fan relay was removed temporarily to disconnect power to the fan.
The Completed Repair
The Completed Repair

The Solution

I removed the condenser fan relay so that no power would be at the connector. Then I cut the leads off of both sides of the connector and bought some weatherproof crimp butt connectors from Checker. With the power disconnected, it's a good time to check the fan to make sure it turns freely. It did.

I spliced the now connector-less wires with the butt conectors. Bingo! The fan worked. I let it idle for 10 to 15 minutes and the condenser fan ran continuously and the A/C blew cold the entire time. Then I wrapped it tight with electrical tape and zip-tied it to the bracket where the connector was located.

Nowhere on the Internet did I see this connector mentioned as a possible problem. The outside of it looked fine, it was just the inside that was melted.

I learned a long time ago that when troubleshooting, never say, "That can't be the problem." Always entertain all possibilites from the complex to the extremely simple. In this case it was a simple component that is not generally prone to fail but...it did.

Comments

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    • profile image

      luiz jose teperino de castro - Brasil - 

      7 days ago

      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 .

    • profile image

      Jim 

      11 days ago

      Are the hyundai mechanics so stupid that they can't see the fan isn't turning?

    • profile image

      Jamie 

      13 days ago

      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?!?

    • profile image

      LaDonna McCall 

      2 weeks ago

      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? lmccall2013@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      Tim 

      4 weeks ago

      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

    • profile image

      Cindy 

      2 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Butch Mate 

      3 months ago

      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!

    • profile image

      Mason 

      3 months ago

      Thanks i just did the same thing and now ac works fine connectors were melted

    • profile image

      Short 

      9 months ago

      My fan does run but I after a while the air gets very hot. Do you have any other suggestion for this.

    • profile image

      Bey 

      9 months ago

      Great job.

      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...

    • profile image

      Flo Mak 

      11 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      D33jay 

      12 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Zac 

      12 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      George walthall 

      13 months ago

      I don't understand all I read. But I seem to have the same simptoms. Thanks for all the help.

    • profile image

      In-nocent-1 

      15 months ago

      David, I had the same problem with cold a/c in passenger and warm on drivers side. There is a cabin air filter behind the glove compartment, mine was very clogged. Easy fix.

    • profile image

      KFC1102 

      15 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Mark L sutton 

      16 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Mark 

      16 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Tyisha sheppeard 

      19 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      Malik 

      21 months ago

      Sir really good advice Thanks for your post

    • AZDog profile imageAUTHOR

      AZDog 

      21 months ago from Arizona

      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.

    • profile image

      Jenai Herod 

      22 months ago

      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 )

    • profile image

      Tom 

      23 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      jrusling 

      23 months ago

      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?

    • profile image

      Danny 

      23 months ago

      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!!!!

    • profile image

      Kurt 

      23 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Wayne North Idaho 

      23 months ago

      A/C blows air but it's not cold and it's full refrigerant ? Clutch seams to be always engaged ?

    • profile image

      Ryan San diego 

      24 months ago

      Just followed your awesome instructions! Fan now works but the air coming out is not getting cold? Can you help??

      Thanks!!

    • profile image

      Joyce 

      24 months ago

      Joyce

      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.

    • profile image

      Pat 

      24 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      joe 

      24 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Doug J 

      2 years ago

      Cody P commented on his 2012 Sonata that this fixed the problem. I have a 2011 Sonata and have hard time locating fan and connector. Could use help.

    • profile image

      Richard 

      2 years ago

      Always think garages charge tòo much. My problem is the passengers side works great but the drivers side is luke warm

    • profile image

      Cody P 

      2 years ago

      I have a 2012 Sonata and had the same problem.

      Thanks for the thread it fixed my issue!

    • profile image

      Angel 

      2 years ago

      I have a 2007 Hyundai entourage I just bought. I am having the same issue that David is having. Passenger side is cold and driver is hot/warm. Definitely not cold. Freon is full. Going to check your solution first.

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      nwaves 

      2 years ago

      Replacement Hyundai part number 9120026000FFF, $8.50 at the nearest dealership.

    • Helena Dee profile image

      Helena Dee 

      2 years ago

      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!!!!

    • profile image

      david 

      2 years ago

      My 2005 Santa fe is blowing hot air on driver's vents and cold air on passenger's vents. Any ideas what to look for before I take it to the dealership?The dual switch is off.

      thanks

    • profile image

      Emm 

      2 years ago

      Exact same problem. Works great now. Question, did any of you replace that melted connector or did you just leave it by passed?

    • profile image

      James 

      2 years ago

      Thank you! I had the exact same issue!

    • profile image

      Gino 

      2 years ago

      You saved me at least the service charge. Found the same problem and repaired myself. THANKS!!!!

    • Watcho profile image

      Watcho 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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.

    • profile image

      Jeff 

      4 years ago

      So good to know! It's expensive to get air conditioning fixed here in Edmonton. http://lucedheatingfurnacesairconditioning.ca

    • profile image

      mark 

      4 years ago

      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 profile image

      Bill Foster 

      4 years ago from Spring Hill, Florida

      I've been living with this issue for 2 years in Florida....what a simple fix. Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      Kyle 

      4 years ago

      AZDog: Thanks my friend, that was exactly the problem, got it fixed for 5 bucks.

    • profile image

      DB 

      4 years ago

      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!

    • AZDog profile imageAUTHOR

      AZDog 

      4 years ago from Arizona

      Wow, I never thought that this Hub would help so many people. Thank you for all the kind words.

    • profile image

      SteveInDenver 

      4 years ago

      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!

    • AZDog profile imageAUTHOR

      AZDog 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you for the compliments, I'm glad that it helped you and saved you big money.

    • profile image

      Sally 

      5 years ago

      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.

    • AZDog profile imageAUTHOR

      AZDog 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I'm glad that this hub is helping you guys.

    • profile image

      Bill 

      5 years ago

      Thanks so much ! Fixed my problem in minutes.

    • profile image

      Eric 

      5 years ago

      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"

    • profile image

      Ccochran 

      6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Ed miranda 

      6 years ago

      I have the same problem i am going to use your help thank you

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