Why is Fog Coming Out of My Car AC?

Fog, white smoke, mist – all these are problematic when they come out of a car’s air conditioning. It may feel like cinematic, but it indicates underlying issues. Usually, when warm, moist air near the AC meets cold, dry air, then you will see fog coming out of the vents. Is it enough to defend? Well, I suggest you go through this blog on “Why is fog coming out of my ac?”

For sure, a foggy car AC is more than just a visual nuisance. It may happen due to several factors. Besides the collision of cold and warm air, clogged drain vents, dirty air filters, and leakage are the reasons for fog coming out of car AC.

The issue can be dangerous for your driving experience. For example, it can obscure your view of the road. Also, you may feel damp and cold inside the car. Like these, there are a lot of things to share with you. I hope you won’t hesitate to spend a few moments to read this blog.

Should You Care Fog Coming Out of Your Car AC?

Fog or white smoke from car AC is surely not a common phenomenon. It can even be dangerous for our health. Also, it can cause trouble in driving. Let’s know why you should care about the issue.

Particularly, breathing in car AC fog can cause health problems like refrigerant poisoning (1, 2). It contains Freon that you may inhale and invite different conditions. When your AC releases fog, it may cause swelling in the throat, sinus issues, headaches, eye, ear, and throat irritation, and dizziness. Besides, it may even cause frostbite if exposed to quickly expanding gas or liquid coolant (3).

Driving with car AC fog for a long time can cause “sick building syndrome.” Some symptoms of this syndrome are headaches, dry cough, dizziness, and nausea (4). Then again, poor air quality from car emissions can increase respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis. It may also heighten the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer (5).

Excess fog inside the cabin can be risky when you are driving. It may create a blurry view of the outside of the cabin. And when it happens, you cannot see the things coming from the opposite side. As a result, it increases the chances of having accidents. So, you should always be careful of AC fog.

Causes of Fog Coming Out of Your Car AC

Why do we turn on our car air conditioning? Indeed, to stay cool in the hot season, right? So, how can this device create and flow fog throughout the car cabin?

Indeed, we all know from our schoolbooks that fog or a fog-like layer appears when warm and cold air meet. Maybe that’s one possible reason for the fog issue in vehicles. Now, read the latter part of this blog to know all the causes of this car AC fog.

Condensation – A Result of Cold Air Mixing with Warmer Air

When the cold air from the AC system combines with warmer air, it causes several effects. Condensation is one of these effects that may create fog inside the car. Likewise, it is a situation where warm, moist air meets a cold surface.

Condensation causes the moisture to cool down and transform into its liquid state. The same thing happens when you turn on the AC (6). Hence, a leak in the heater core may cause this condensation. It allows warm coolant to enter the cabin and create condensation (7).

The evaporator of AC, which functions as a heat exchanger, can be another reason for this. Sometimes, AC condenser damage due to flying debris can cause leaks. In this way, condensation may happen (8). Apart from these reasons, a blocked condensate drain can lead to excessive water leaking into the car’s cabin while the AC is on.

Clogged AC Drain Vents or Drains

Different things may cause AC drain clogged which is another reason for fog out of air conditioning. If you have not properly maintained and cleaned the AC, it will have a debris buildup (leaves, dirt, dust). Therefore, the debris will clog the drain vents and cause white smoke (9).

Dirty air filter

A dirty or clogged car air filter can cause the engine to work more with less efficiency. As a result, you may get reduced fuel economy and dirty emissions. Besides, it can prevent the air conditioner from cooling down and strain the entire system unnecessarily (10). Then, lots of fog is produced.

Clogged filters can cause the AC motor to work more. When it works more, it consumes more energy. Then, the alternator gets excessive pressure (11). In severe cases, a dirty air filter can lead to complete power loss.

Additionally, you can get poor cold airflow in the AC system. It traps cold air inside the AC and causes ice on the coils. So, it can cause AC to freeze and stop working.

Leaking Coolant Hose

Coolant can leak into the air conditioning system if a coolant hose leaks. It will cause fog to spread out of the vents. Hence, coolant leak may happen due to several reasons. For instance, those reasons are leaking radiator hose, bad water pump, loose radiator hose clamp, and bad thermostat house (12).

Rubber components in AC systems like O-rings, grommets, and lines degrade over time. They get leakages when they come close to heat and moisture (13). And then you get fog inside the car.

Leaking Heater Core

The heater core of the small radiator heats the air in your car. When the heater core leaks, antifreeze can leak into the AC system. Then, it will cause fog to form. A notable symptom of a leaking heater core is little or no heat inside the car. Yet you may see that the temperature gauge reads normal while driving the car (14).

Another symptom of a bad heater core is coolant leaks. Besides, coolant vents can catch up coolant vapors and condense your windows.  

How to Fix Fog Coming Out of Your Car AC

You should identify the reasons behind the foggy conditions. First, I suggest you check all the components of the air conditioning. Fog may come out if any of these components fail to work. Also, check for any visible signs of issues like leaks, damage, or blockages. You may need to call a professional if you get the smoke after the initial inspection.

There are multiple more things to do before you call the experts. It includes:

  • Check for refrigerant leaks.
  • Fill up the refrigerant after dealing with fog.
  • Replace the air filter soon.
  • Humidify the air before it causes mist or smoke.

Besides the above instructions, I have some quick ideas for you. They may help you to counter the fog in your car:

For instance, you can ventilate the car properly. It reduces the moisture content and prevents condensation. But how will you do that?

Well, leave the vehicle windows open for a few hours during dry and sunny days. Then, fresh air will enter the interior and remove the moisture.

The next idea from me is temperature control. To do so, increase the internal temperature if it is colder outside. Similarly, decrease the temperature if it is warmer outside the car.

Obviously, you should keep the interior neat and clean to prevent fogging. After all, dirt and debris can cause fog formation by allowing moisture to condense.

Final Words

I guess fog has already made your journey bothersome. That is why you are here. But nothing to worry about as I have answered well to “Why is fog coming out of my car AC?” If you have read the blog till now, you have already got the whole concept. Yet I am giving you a quick note.

First, check out the causes of fog formation by inspecting your car and, particularly, the parts of the air conditioning system. If you find anything faulty, repair and replace it soon. Also, I think there is no alternative to regular cleaning and ventilation to protect air from condensation.

Please leave your feedback if you have any questions. I will try to answer them in more accessible ways. Thank you

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