Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents – Why Is This Happening?

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents – Why Is This Happening?

You may have noticed smoke coming out of car vents and wondered if something was burning. Fog is caused by the cold in the AC coming into contact with moist and warm air.

Assuming that the temperature in the car’s AC is below the dew point, the result is vapor forming in the air which will then condense and form droplets. This results in fog and smoke.

The situation can be aggravated if the air filter or the air conditioner is dirty. This is because in such instances the airflow in the AC will be limited which results in more time for the cold air to be exposed to the moist warm air in the AC and create fog or smoke.

If the humidity in the car’s cabin is high the more there will be frog or smoke.

Let’s find out more. To easily navigate through this post, you can use our table of contents below.

Condensation On Air Vents

Condensation On Air Vents

Perhaps the weather has turned humid and when you turn on the AC you notice fog or smoke coming out of car vents. This is enough to put many drivers on the road wondering if then something has gone wrong.

However, you should not be alarmed.

This could just be water vapor that is coming from the car’s air conditioner.

You may also notice that moisture clings to the internal components of the AC and if it has been sitting here for a while can condense in the AC resulting in mist.

You may also notice such condensation whenever you are exiting the car on the bottom of the car through the drain tube that runs for the evaporator housing.

Furthermore, you may have parked your vehicle for a while only to move the car and notice a small wet surface underneath. This is also condensed water that is coming from the car’s AC.

No Air Coming Out Of Car Vents

The majority of drivers don’t care how the car’s AC works but only care if it works in the first place. What if however, you notice that there isn’t any air that is coming out of the car’s air conditioner?

There could be a variety of reasons which would cause air to fail to come out of the AC. Examples of such reasons could be a clogged air intake, broken belts, the fuse blown, or clogged ducts.

If you are facing such an issue, chances are that you want to have the problem resolved as soon as possible so you could get back to enjoying most of your time driving off-road. Let’s find out about some of the better solutions to the problem.

Why Your AC Isn’t Working And What To Do

By now you are probably wondering why the problems that could cause air from flowing from your car’s AC are so many. The quick answer to that is that the car’s AC is made up of several components that all work simultaneously to provide you with cool or warm air.

If any one of these parts has a problem, you will find that the AC stops working.

The workings of the car’s AC involve using the refrigerant and turning it from a liquid state to a gas state. Whenever the refrigerant turns to gas it will absorb all the heat and moisture allowing the AC to blow out cool and dry air.

This, therefore, means that the temperature and the pressure are highly important to the proper functioning of your car’s AC.

It takes several components for the AC to be up and running and if there is an issue with one, the whole unit will not be working.

For instance, one of the many parts of the AC is the compressor. This part takes in the air and compresses it. Then there is the condenser which manipulates the temperature in the refrigerant and there is also a dryer which takes out the water from the refrigerant.

These are just a couple of the main components and there are of course other components.

How Everything Works

You must understand how your car’s AC works to help you better identify the problem and fix it. That said you should always ensure that you are careful so you don’t interfere with other components and features such as the car’s Bluetooth.

The most common problem that occurs is a low airflow that comes from the vents in the dashboard.

This issue is mostly caused by a clogged air intake. The airflow gets inside the car via two main areas. The first area is close to the lower half of the windshield. The second place is on the dash.

These areas both let air inside the vehicle where it circulates. That said, there will not be any air coming out if there is clogging by dirt or debris.

Whenever the vents are clogged this is very likely the reason that there isn’t any air in the vehicle. That said another cause of the problem could be a blown fuse in the AC.

These however are the easier problems to solve. The more complicated problems include issues with a relay or a faulty and damaged compressor.

Whenever you are driving on a hot day, the last thing that you need is a blown AC.

Most Common Car AC Problems

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons why air isn’t flowing through the vents, let’s now take a look at a few reasons why air isn’t coming for the AC.

If you notice that you have issues with the AC, it is best to contact a technician as the AC comes with many parts and can be a bit tough to fix.

That said some of the things that the technician or the car mechanic will take a look at first include.

1. A Blown Fuse

A bad relay or blow fuse is one reason why the car’s AC isn’t working. There are instances where the ventilation system could cause the AC fuse to blow.

In this case, there will not be any power that gets to the blower motor which then means that the air will fail to come out of the AC.

The other issue is a bad relay. The relay in the vehicle works and an electrical circuit for the car’s electrical system.

Its role is to regulate the car’s larger electrical current that is behind the ventilation. If the relay is malfunctioning there is a need for a replacement.

2. Blower Motor

This is another highly important part of the car’s AC. Its role is to push the air through the car’s vents in a similar way to the fan. If that part is damaged the result is a lack of airflow through the car’s vents.

Other times the blower motor seems to malfunction as a result of regular wear and tear.

3. Clogging Of The Air Ducts

Other times the reason behind the malfunctioning of the blower motor is a simple accumulation of debris and dirt that clog the air intake which is located under the windshield.

Start by checking if the air duct areas are clogged or whether they need cleaning.

4. Damaged Belts

This is another reason behind the AC may fail to work. If this is the case you are likely to hear grinding, cranking, or a squealing sound whenever you turn on the AC.

Several hoses work together to run the AC of your car. If any of these breaks then this will directly affect the airflow.

Smoke Coming Out Of AC Vent In Car

Smoke Coming Out Of AC Vent In Car

Sometimes you may notice smoke that is coming from the AC of the car. Several reasons could cause smoke to come out of the car’s AC.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #1 – Heater Core

Whenever you use the heater, do you often see smoke coming out of car vents? This could be a result of the core which is leaking. This then causes smoke to be produced which then blows out of the car’s AC vents.

Whenever you find that the smoke is odorless and that it seems like an icy fog, this is to show that the coolant level is a bit low. This then means that you will need to check the levels of coolant in your car.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #2 – Issues With The Compressor Clutch

Other times the smoke coming out of car vents could be caused by other problems and is then sucked into the car’s AC.

For instance, this could be a problem whenever you are dealing with a faulty compressor clutch. In that case, the compressor clutch may be overheating which would then cause the smoke.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #3 – Low Oil

Many of us is the AC regularly. Oil is an important part of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. If there is low oil or the oil is depleted, then the AC may end up heating up and causing smoke.

To find out if you have low oil in your vehicle, simply try and recall the last time that you changed your car’s oil. This is a good way to determine if this is the issue.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #4 – Clogged Drain Hole

One thing that you should always keep in mind is that the AC will have some level of condensation. Usually, this condensation is collected which is then sent to keep the various car components cool.

Older car models feature a drain hole which allows for this condensation to pass through. If the drain hole has been clogged the water will then condense and which in turn will come in contact with the hot AC and thus turn into smoke.

The steam goes up into the AC vents and then finds its way into the cabin of the vehicle.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #5 – Humidity

If the humidity that surrounds the AC is much lower than the humidity in the actual air, then this will result in condensation and fog in the AC.

When you turn on the car’s AC this fog is sucked into the vents and released inside the cabin of the car. This is nothing to worry about as it is usually odorless and causes no harm whatsoever.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents #6 – Issues With The AC

The different parts of your car’s AC are prone to wear and tear just like any other part of the vehicle. In case the wear and tear take place rapidly, there is overheating which can result in smoke coming out of the car vents of the AC.

Smoke Coming from Car Vents

This is not an odorless type of smoke and will smell as if something is burning. Furthermore, this smoke will be toxic. In case you see smoke and signs of burning it is best to turn off your AC and have the car checked by a qualified mechanic.

How Can You Fix Smoke From The Car’s AC

There are a couple of feasible solutions if you want to fix the smoke coming out of car vents yourself. Ensuring a properly functioning car will work to your advantage if you are looking to trade in your vehicle or are considering buying a new one.

Let’s have a look at them.

1. Check The Coolant

You may just need to replenish the coolant to get rid of the problem. If you notice that the coolant levels are dropping fast, it is a good idea to take the car to a mechanic and have it checked. You can then proceed to replenish the coolant.

2. Replace The Compressor Clutch

Sometimes it is the compressor clutch that is the issue. You must replace the compressor with a new one. This is because repairing a faulty or problem compressor clutch is hard. You will find that it is far easier to replace the compressor clutch in under thirty minutes.

3. Change The Oil

Sometimes the problem is quite simple. All you will need to do is change the oil. You may be able to tell the oil levels by simply checking the dashboard which also means that detecting as well as fixing the problem is easy.

4. Change The Clogged Drain Hole

This is a task that you can leave for the professional. This is different from unclogging the drain hole in your bathroom. It is a complicated process that will require you to contact a professional.

5. Clearing The Clog Filter

Normally, this issue tends to happen quite fast. If you notice that you have a clogged filter you will need to have it checked. smoke coming out of car vents is a problem that can occur simply due to a clogged filter.

6. Find Any Other Issues With AC Components

Whenever you are searching for the burning smell source, it may prove difficult to pinpoint the exact location and reason. This could be due to a component issue and in this case, it’s best to leave the troubleshooting to the mechanic.

Keep in mind that you should have the problems diagnosed as soon as possible as have in a burning smell could end up causing health problems.

You must get in touch with a professional who will help you find the best solution to the problems.

7. Issues With The Electrical System

You mustn’t try to solve any issues with the electrical problem yourself. This is a job that calls for a qualified technician.

Wearing out the wires could cause smoke to come out of the car’s vents. This could also put you at risk of a fire hazard.  To ensure that this doesn’t happen, it is best to let a qualified professional handle it.

Types Of Smoke That Can Come Out Of The Car’s Vents

1. White Smoke

This is an odorless type of smoke. While you may not initially notice this smoke, as it accumulates in the cabin, you will begin to see it.

2. Gray Smoke

A certain type of odor often accompanies grey smoke. This is a smoke that is also simple to notice as a result of the color.

3. Black Smoke

This type of smoke signifies that there is a burning taking place somewhere in the car. It is also a sign that there is something that is very wrong.

Moreover black smoke can be extremely harmful to your health and you must leave the car as soon as you notice the issue.

Should I Be Worried About My Health

One thing that we should probably point out is that the white smoke coming out of car vents isn’t very dangerous. But there are instances where you should begin to worry.

First off, if you notice an odor then yes you need to be concerned. You should in this case take the car to a mechanic for the troubleshooting

Burning Smell Coming From Vents

Another problem is if you notice that there is a burning smell that is coming from the car’s benefits whenever you turn on the AC. Often drivers will not know what to do or where the burning smell is coming from.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents, Burning Smell #1: Dirty Vents

Whenever you pull the owner’s manual straight out of the glove compartment and go through it, you will likely notice that the manufacturer has recommended that drivers perform inspections and servicing regularly.

The reason manufacturers specify that you do this on a regular is because the AC is prone to getting dust which can result in a burning smell. This is due to the debris and the dirt burning.

Secondly, you could also find that there is stuff that got stuck in the vents and burns whenever you turn your heater to hot.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents, Burning Smell #2: Engine Debris

You may also find that there are things that are stuck in your car’s engine that could result in burning. For one, pine needles and leaves may also end up in the engine.

The same can be said for road debris that got into the engine compartment through the front grill.

Drivers have reported many different things which could be anywhere from plastics to even small animals.

If you turn on the heater and you notice a burning smell simply park your vehicle at the side of the road and pop the hood. Try and see if there’s anything that is sticking behind the front grill.

Smoke Coming Out Of Car Vents, Burning Smell #3: The Heater Core

Remember also that the heater core runs out of steam and can also result in a burning smell. There are signs that the heater core could be about to fail such as the car cover heating, and the window fog overheating.

It is important to also service the heater core as you service the comfort system. To replace the heater core, it will cost you anywhere from $600 to $900.

Water Coming Out Of AC Vent

Water Coming Out Of Car Vents

The AC system may catch you by surprise. You might notice that there are wet spots on the floor yet you can’t seem to figure out the moisture is coming from.

If you haven’t spilled anything in your car, then this could be coming from the AC. Whether or not you should worry will come down to the level of dampness on the car floor mat.

One of the factors that could cause water to come out of the car AC is condensation. This can begin dripping whenever too much condensation.

This is why it is crucial to find the cause of the leaking or where there could be an issue.

If there is a small water puddle on the floor of your vehicle and the weather outside is very hot or humid, this is likely normal.

On the other hand, the AC could also be leaking when the weather is extremely cold outside resulting in condensation in the car’s AC. It is a good idea to wait and see if the problem will persist for a couple of days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Temperature Should Air Be Coming Out Of Vent When Cooling

Whenever the AC system is working well, the air that blows out of the AC should be 20 degrees less than the temperature of the cabin. Whenever you are cooling the interior cabin of the car and the temperate here is 80 degrees then you would be looking for air that has a temperature of 60 degrees coming from the vent.

Why Is My AC Blowing Smoke

Whenever the cold air comes into contact with the warm air, fog or white smoke could occur. Water vapor will be formed when the temperature of the unit goes under the dew point. These will then condense and form droplets that result in fog or smoke coming out of car vents.

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