A/C blows cold for 20 minutes, then quits for about 10, then will blow cold again, cycle continues


Asked by Jul 20, 2015 at 09:44 AM about the 2006 Toyota Corolla

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I took it to a shot, there is no leak, it is full of freon.  They thought it was the relay switch, that was replaced.  Didn't solve the problem.

25 Answers


CHECK condenser and the air-con fan

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

When you say it quits working does the compressor stop working for the 20 minutes or is it still working and no cold air.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

Does your vehicle have temperature control ?

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

My 2006 Corolla has auto temp control firebird338. That much I do know So the OP should


compressor kicks off. Yes, there is temperature control.

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I say temperature control but i might be confusing the temperature gauge in the cabin.

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The thermostat is on the evaporator. If it has broken off it could possibly be the cause. The evaporator may even be freezing up and not allowing air flow. If this still happens at highway speeds the condenser or fan is not the problem.Plenty of air flow anywhere above 45 mph. But if it happens at highway speeds schalk may be right This diagram is Toyota-specific. Your system does not use an accumulator. click for full screen

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Yep Glenn I have the same car. And the dial on right is temp control, right to red for heat and left to blue for cold

What Trim do you have Glenn...CE, LE, S.?

I can tell you the compressor will not be engaged all the time. It cycles on and off at about 1 minute on, 30 seconds off. That is in very hot ambient air. In 80°F conditions it cycles on for maybe 20 - 30 seconds then off for a full minute, 60 seconds and still maintains ice-cold out dash vents

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I think it is the CE. Bare bones.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Ok, still same answer. Mostly I was just curious, b/c doesn't matter. First change your cabin air filter if you have not done so in a year or more. If there is a smoker in car, or have a dog with you often make that 4 months. (Nothing against either. I am a smoker. And dog hair will clog a cabin air filter in a short time) If you are semi-mechanically inclined, what it needs is a look at the evaporator, and see if that copper line is not covered with dander, dirt, or even insulation from ducting in system. It must be exposed to air-flow.Just in case you are not familiar..... the condenser is in front of the radiator behind the grille, it is the part that dissipates heat. The evaporator is in the cabin up under the dash, where after r134a is released from orifice, a tiny opening and gets cold from expanding. Then enters evaporator and air-flow is chilled

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speed of car isn't a factor, it quit at 75 mph. Non smoking and no animals. I change the cabin filter occasionally but I don't recall the last time I changed it.

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thanks fordnut little confused though. You are saying if it quits at high speeds then it most likely the evaporator, correct?

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Thanks FordNut for jumping in no time explain like you did about temperature control. After reading your answers I believe you are telling them to clean out the condenser maybe partially clogged with dirt and bugs restricting air flow across the radiator fins. Is that correct ?

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I ment to say the condenser coil fins.

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Yes sir, firebird338. That is what I meant. It's just one of many possibilities though, but a no cost thing to try. But the evaporator in the cabin also, the copper thermostat line. All of those.... before any money is spent could get a fix.

But Glenn, No. Opposite. The evaporator is inside the cabin. The condenser is outside the car, in front of radiator, where it needs air flow. At low speed from the fan. At highway speeds, the air-flow is enough without fan. And there is only one engine coolant fan, it's not a dual-fan set-up The way I worded that I can see how it would cause confusion. terrible syntax, my bad. But I did mean the evaporator inside the cabin must have air-flow, from the HVAC blower or it will freeze up, ice-over.

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Best Answer

Thanks for the click Glenn. schalk had us going in the right direction to begin with, except it does not have an A/C fan. Many cars do, have a dual fan set-up -- as shown here -- one for normal engine cooling and another for A/C and the second fan will also kick on above a pre-set engine coolant temp to assist cooling. And credit where credit is due to firebird338. Dual fan

And I have spent some time on a drawing, playing with Gimp ( Photoshop)

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No problem FordNut I think you are the one that said this or maybe not but it bears repeating. We are not only here to help others with their problems but we are also learning from each other.

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Right on my friend

Glenn, If somehow it turns out to be low on R134a, which I know you said it is fine, but This car is the easiest to charge of any car I have ever had. Or seen. The charge port is right on top, right side of car (passenger side) the larger of the two lines. 2X bigger than high side. But the nipple is smaller, they used to be the same but people were hooking the re-fill gas can up to the high side, and the compressor pumped IN the can and people were blowing themselves up.


Ok FordNut your advice about the filter was very helpful and I thought the problem was gone but it just seemed to change the problem. Right now the a/c seems to cycle on and off. Cold air for a while, then warmer air, then cold air. The cycles can be a few minutes or as much as 20 minutes. It doesnt seem to happen when the outside air temp is very high. We had several days of over 100 F and the AC cooled almost without dropping the temp. is there a thermostatic control that could be bad?

hello FordNut I bought a Corolla 2014 from USA and it has the same problem , the compressor engaged for a while and disengaged when the ambient temp is more than 90 F when the temp lower than this the ac works perfectly what do you think about this case? thanks

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