Toyota RAV4 AC Not Working: Causes & Fixes

You have a beautiful Toyota RAV4 with a nice AC and everything seems to be going on fine. Suddenly, you noticed that your AC stopped working. What could be the problem?

Truth is, you are not alone in this. Many other RAV4 owners complain of the same issue. There are several reasons why your AC is not working as it should. Sometimes, you may be able to fix the problem by yourself. But if your attempts fail, you will need the help of a professional.

toyota rav4 ac not working

In this post, we will look at the common signs of a faulty Toyota RAV4 AC, the possible reasons why yours isn’t working, and some helpful tips on how to fix the problem.

Signs That Your Toyota RAV4 AC Is Not Working

Here are some signs that tell your RAV4 air conditioner is really faulty and needs to be fixed.

The AC unit is working but it isn’t cooling

This is probably the most common scenario. You turn on the air conditioner and it comes on — but you have to wait endlessly to feel that coolness.

If it is a new car, it could be that the filter is blocked by dirt. In this case, simply cleaning the screen mesh will get the dirt out. For old cars, it may be more complicated. It could be the crab rope having issues. It could also be that the pipes have gone bad. In this case, you would need professional help.

Cooling system issues

Most times, the pipes that surround the condenser are very cold when the AC is on. Many drivers will argue that this shows that the AC is working properly. Unfortunately, it is not always the case and this mistake may result in more complications.

When your AC is deficient in gas, there is a sharp drop in the pressure inside the reservoir. This will lead to an observable decrease in the gas boiling point. The result of this is that refrigeration will occur at lower temperatures. This will cause the water vapor to freeze over the tube surface and other opening blocking them. So even if the pipes are cold, the cooling system wouldn’t work.

Unpleasant odor from the AC

Many RAV4 owners experience this and wonder what is causing the foul smell from their car AC. One common possibility is that the ventilation system is malfunctioning or dirty. Whatever the reason is, you will notice that anytime your AC comes on, there is a foul smell.

AC system blows wind but not cold air

This is another very popular symptom that you will notice. The car AC is blowing a lot of wind yet the air is not getting cold. It is probably because the gas is exhausted. The exhaustion could be from leaking pipes or simply due to the fact that you used it up. If you are observant enough, you would have noticed that the level of coldness has been dropping considerably over time. Another reason why this occurs is when the pipes are blocked or the filters are dirty.

Toyota RAV4 AC Not Working: Common Causes

In this section, we will look at the most common reasons why your RAV4 AC is not functioning properly.

Faulty thermostat

The thermostat is a very important aspect of your HVAC system. If your RAV4 is new, then it is possible that the thermostat came bad from the manufacturer. Such manufacturing problems are not uncommon. Now, we are not saying that Toyota put in a bad thermostat in your car.

However, fluctuating cabin temperatures are likely to affect the thermostat. Several other issues could affect the thermostat including the sensor, compressor clutch, switch, or pressure cut-out.

Electronic fault

Whether your RAV4 is manual or automatic, it comes with advanced electronic features. There is a possibility that one of the electric connections or connectors is having a fault. If the connections to your HVAC system are faulty then your AC will stop working. In this case, you need the help of a professional to discover and fix the faults.

Leaking hoses or seals

This is probably the most common reason especially when it has to do with gas issues. Your HVAC is made up of several hoses and seals. These hoses could suffer from leaks because of a lack of maintenance. Finding leaks can be a herculean task but your mechanic can always help out during routine servicing.

No gas

It is simple, if you have run out of gas, your AC will not function properly. The system will work fine but you wouldn’t enjoy that cold air that makes it an AC. Like we said above, leaking hoses and seals are the most common causes of gas depletion. However, it could just be that you have exhausted your gas. We suggest that you run routine checks on your gas to know how much you have left.


Strange, but very true, bacteria could be the reason why your AC isn’t functioning as it should. Bacteria, mildew, or mold may have accumulated over the evaporator coils. This is probably why you have that bad smell in your car when you turn on the AC.

Broken condenser

This is another very common problem with Toyota RAV4 ACs as well as ACs of other cars. You can suspect that this is the reason when the AC is working but the air is not cool. One of the major reasons why the compressor gets faulty is road debris. It could also be the seal over the condenser that is broken.

Toyota RAV4 Not Working: Tips On Fixing

To be honest, it isn’t all the problems with your AC that you can fix by yourself. Many of them require the help of a professional to solve. However, it is advisable to be on the lookout for these issues and fix them once you notice them. This way, you wouldn’t spend too much to solve the problem. Here are a few tips to help you out:

Check the temperature of the gas pipe

When you notice that your AC system is not cooling as it should, the first thing you should do is check the pipes. All you need to do in this case is to touch the gas pipe with your hand. Under normal circumstances, it should be cool around the low-pressure areas and warm around the high-pressure line.

How do you identify the low-pressure and high-pressure pipes? The former is larger in diameter size than the latter. If both pipes feature similar temperatures, then you may have a problem.

Check the AC wind speed

When you put on your AC, if the wind speed is poor, the vents are likely blocked. Of course, this will reduce the coolness of the AC and may even cause more complications. To fix this, you can use a blower to blow some air against the vents to get rid of debris and bacteria. In this case, you don’t necessarily need the help of a professional.

Observe the compressed air system

There are times when the compressor isn’t able to compress the refrigerant. This is mostly because of a loss of power from the crankshaft that connects the compressor to the engine. It is pretty easy to check if this is the problem.

Simply open your car bonnet and observe the speed of the compressed air. If it is lower or higher than normal, there is a problem and you need to speak to a professional. It is important to check the compressed air regularly to know when there is an issue.


The AC of the Toyota RAV4 is very efficient and scarcely has issues. When issues occur, it is mostly the gas or compressor. We have explained how to check these. It is possible to fix these issues if you are savvy, however, we suggest that you speak to a professional.

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