Many people complain that steam suddenly comes out from their cars’ air vents, and the situation lasts for 2 to 3 minutes. The vapors are formed when your vehicle’s air conditioner or heater is running.
Why is Steam Coming Out of My Car Vents? Steam can come out from the car vents because of leakage of coolant, high outside temperature, and increased air humidity. You can also face the problem due to a damaged heater core, overheating of electric components, and clogged AC drain holes.
The smell from the steam tells about the severity of the problem. You should not drive your car more if it has a fruity or sweet smell because it comes due to leakage of coolant. Driving in this situation overheats the engine and increases problems that are hard to fix.
Leakage of coolant
Many people complain that steam-like smoke is coming out from the air vents, and it fogs up the windows.
The fogging of the window due to this issue, especially the windscreen, is problematic because it compromises safety.
The steam with a specific odor is due to the leakage of coolant. You can see the small colorful spots under the area of the dashboard and feel the fruity smell. The leakage of refrigerants occurs due to age-related wear and tear in the unit.
You can fix this issue by calling the mechanics, and repairing procedures depend on the extent of the damage.
There are small or large holes in the coil that are the primary reason for the seeping of coolant. You can design a patch to fill the small cracks and holes in the coil.
In addition, sometimes it is also necessary to replace the whole ac unit because of several small or large holes that make the circulation of refrigerant difficult.
You should check the flare connections because leakage sometimes occurs due to their overtightening.
Outside high temperature
The condensation reaction and mixing of hot air with warm air produce steam from the vents in the form of water vapors.
The water in this situation condenses to form a vapor, and you can see them in the form of smoke. The issue mainly occurs in summer seasons due to temperature fluctuations.
The outside air in the cabin is warm, and when it mixes with the cold air of refrigerant, it produces fog. There is no equilibrium or balance in the hot and cold air concentration.
The hot air comes in contact with warm air for a longer time and decreases the dew point of the ac unit.
The foggy windshield increases the risk of an accident because of poor visibility during the night. You can fix this issue by achieving the equilibrium condition and cooling the inside air.
Turn on the cooling fan at high speed for greater air circulation and better mixing. Moreover, turning on the AC at high speed is also suitable to cool the air and reduce the steaming issue.
It is also better to maintain the cleanliness of air filters to fix this problem for good airflow through car vents.
Sometimes, the windows of the car steam up in humid air because of vapors that are coming out from the car vents.
The issue most commonly comes in regions where the humidity level is high. You can face this when you are driving near coastal and beachy areas.
When humid air comes in contact with the cold or dry air of the car AC, it produces steam. The issue cause problem in safe driving because of fog formation on the front windscreen.
The clogged air filters with dust or debris worsen the situation. Furthermore, the issue also aggravates when fans are running at a slow speed.
You can fix the issue by removing the air filters from the first cabin and cleaning them with soft brushes. Turning on the fans at high speed is also essential to cool the interior cabin faster.
You should not get panic because it is not a dangerous situation, and you can cover this in a few minutes without any tools.
Ensure that the windows and doors of the cars are completely closed and no outside humid air is coming inside the cabin.
You can remove steam in 3 to 4 minutes and achieve equilibrium in humid and dry air temperatures.
Clogged AC drain hole
The drain holes are the primary component of the ac units, which are present in old vehicle models. The primary purpose of this drain hole is to remove excess water to build up on the heater core.
The clogging of ac drains lines causes excess water accumulation, which comes out in the form of steam when turning on the blower motor.
The blockage occurs because the moisture that is coming from the evaporator coil contains residues of dust and debris.
The small airborne particles and dust residues in these drains clog them. You can do the unclogging procedure at your home because it is simple and easy.
Park your vehicle on a leveled surface and take a long metal wire. You have to disconnect the ac unit that is present as a rubber hose near the engine.
Make a loop of the metal wire and slowly add this wire to the tube. Now remove the clog with this looped or bent wire and pour water for draining purposes.
Attach the tube again and go for a test drive; you can see it disappear from the car vents.
Damaged heater core
The heater core is present under the dashboard, and it is a useful component during winter because it makes the interior cabin warm.
The hot coolant runs in the coils of the heater core to warm the inside of the vehicle.
The moving coolant contains contaminants that reduce the durability of the heater core and produce tiny holes in its tubes.
Long-term exposure to contaminants produces wear and tear in the whole unit. Moreover, the depletion of corrosive inhibitors increases the risk of corrosion on its side walls.
Rust is the worst enemy of metal parts and produces large holes in them, which cause coolant leakage. You can feel the slightly sweet smell due to the vaporization of the coolant.
Perform a patch test to identify damaged parts or tiny holes. Many professionals also use dyes to identify the damage to the heater core.
Fix the small holes by sealing procedure, but it is not a safe method to fix the problem completely.
The sealing process can solve the temporary leaks, but you have to replace the damaged unit with a new one for a permanent solution.
Recharge the car AC unit and add new coolant in it after its recommended time to make the coils free from contaminants and rust formation to fix the steam coming out from your car vents.