How to Clean a Car AC Evaporator Without Removing It: A Step-by-Step Guide

Maintaining your car’s air conditioning (AC) system is essential for keeping the air in your vehicle’s cabin clean and fresh. One crucial aspect of AC maintenance is cleaning the evaporator coil, which can become dirty and clogged over time. However, cleaning the evaporator usually requires removing it, which can be a hassle. In this article, we will show you how to clean a car’s AC evaporator without removing it.

Symptoms of a Dirty AC Evaporator

Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s discuss how to tell if your evaporator is dirty and what happens when it is. A clogged AC evaporator will cause your AC to emit warm air instead of cold air, or the cool air may be weak. Your AC may also turn on and off frequently without cooling your car. Additionally, you may notice a strange smell in your cabin when the AC is on, and you may hear unusual noises coming from the cooling system, such as hissing or banging.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your AC Evaporator

To clean your car AC evaporator without removing it, you will need the following materials:

  • An evaporator cleaner with a spray nozzle
  • A screwdriver and a set of basic tools
  • A dry, soft cloth
  • Protective gear, including gloves, a face mask, and goggles
  • A spray bottle filled with clean water
  • A handheld electric fan

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your AC Evaporator

  1. Locate the AC system and evaporator core
    The location of the AC system and evaporator core will vary depending on the make and model of your car. In some cars, the AC system is located under the hood, while in others, it is located on the firewall separating the engine from the passenger seat. Once you locate the AC system, look for the evaporator core, which is enclosed in a plastic box and connected to the blower fan.
  2. Get a clear view of the evaporator core and wear protective gear
    If the blower fan is mounted on the heater, it may obstruct your view of the evaporator core. In this case, remove the fan using a screwdriver and other basic tools. Once you have a clear view of the core, put on your protective gear.
  3. Check if the core needs cleaning
    Examine the evaporator coil to see if it is dirty. If it is, move on to the next step. If it is damaged, you may need to have it replaced by a professional.
  4. Apply the evaporator cleaner
    Spray the evaporator cleaner onto the coil and let it sit for 45 minutes. The cleaner should foam up, indicating that it is working.
  5. Rinse the evaporator core with water and clean it with a cloth
    Once the cleaner has had time to work, spray the evaporator core with clean water and wipe it down with a dry, soft cloth. Be careful not to apply too much pressure with the water spray, as this can damage the components of the core.
  6. Dry the evaporator core with a handheld electric fan
    Use the electric fan to dry the evaporator core thoroughly. Avoid using a hairdryer, as the heat can damage the system.
  7. Reset the AC to its original setup
    If you removed any parts, such as the blower fan or resistor unit, to access the evaporator core, reinstall them.
Also Read:  Common Problems After Engine Replacement and How to Avoid Them

Pros and Cons of Cleaning Your AC Evaporator Without Removing It

While cleaning your AC evaporator without removing it can save time and hassle, it does have some drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons:


  • You don’t have to disassemble the entire AC system to clean the evaporator.
  • The process is fast and efficient.


  • If not done correctly, you may flood the AC with too much water and damage its components.


Cleaning your car’s AC evaporator without removing it is a simple and cost-effective way to maintain your AC system and keep the air in your vehicle’s cabin fresh and clean. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can clean your evaporator coil using basic tools and materials. Remember to always wear protective gear and take care not to damage the components of the core. If you are unsure about cleaning the evaporator yourself, consider hiring a professional.

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