10 Car Models That Have Early, Costly A/C Problems

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Driver in a hot car with a broken air conditioner
DimaBerlin / Shutterstock.com

The heat is on this summer. With record temperatures in parts of the U.S., drivers are counting on their car’s air conditioning system to keep them cool.

Unfortunately, some vehicles may not be up to the task. Consumer Reports says some vehicle models have A/C-related problems “far too often, and too soon.” In fact, some A/C systems might even need repair before the odometer reaches 25,000 miles.

Consumer reports says the likelihood of problems arising ranges from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5. In many cases, problems are significant, the publication says.

John Ibbotson, Consumer Reports’ chief mechanic, tells the publication that air conditioning problems can range from easy fixes to problems that require more trouble-shooting and skill to repair:

“Drivers naturally dread AC problems because they invariably happen when you most want the cool air, and the costs to repair can easily top $1,000. But some problems, if caught early enough, don’t cost nearly that much.”

Although air conditioning systems should last 100,000 miles are more, the units in the following vehicles are likely to give you trouble well before then, CR found. The list starts with the vehicle “with the greatest climate-system-related problem rate among CR members.”

  1. 2016 Mazda CX-3 (2017 model year also affected, to a lesser extent): Problem typically occurs at 23,000-59,000 miles
  2. 2016 Honda Civic (2017 model year also affected): 30,000-53,000 miles
  3. 2014 Chevrolet Traverse (2015 model year also affected): 57,000-87,000 miles
  4. 2016 Kia Sportage: 34,000-68,000 miles
  5. 2013 Buick Enclave (2014-2015 model years also affected): 61,000-102,000 miles
  6. 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe (2013 model year also affected): 59,000-92,000 miles
  7. 2015 GMC Acadia (2013, 2014 and 2016 model years also affected): 44,000-79,000 miles
  8. 2013 BMW X5: 71,000-92,000 miles
  9. 2014 Nissan Altima: 53,000-89,000 miles
  10. 2014 Ford Fiesta: 46,000-83,000 miles

Consumer Reports notes that in some cases, repairs associated with these models can be complicated and challenging, and may leave the driver without a car for days — or much longer.

In addition, some of these issues are likely to arise when the warranty on repairs has elapsed.

In the market for a new car? Check out “8 Tips for Buying Your Next Car for Less.”

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