What does a blend door actuator do? You may not be able to discern that the heat was already stopped functioning in your car until that freezing morning when you adjust the heater temperature control and bring it to a maximum setting. The idea of wanting to fine-tune the duct-work, hoses, and wires underneath the dashboard to repair the problem can be baffling. The air ad heat system in the car can be the sufferer of a problematic blend door actuator.
Perhaps one of the car parts that does not catch our interest is the blend door actuator. This could even be the first time that you have heard of this part. So, what is this actuator and what does it do?
This article will discuss the common symptoms of bad blend door actuator which you need to check out. You will learn what this part does. A defective blend door actuator can affect the quality of your driving – making it uncomfortable and unpleasant. Some symptoms can differ from hearing the thumping noise from the dashboard when starting the vehicle or if the AC is puffing hot or the heater is puffing cold. These are obvious indications that there is a problem with the blend door actuator.
What is a Blend Door Actuator?
The blend door actuator is an electric motor that exhibits sensors attached to the climate control system of the vehicle. It is seated in the air conditioning and heating system of the car. While you alter the temperature or the depth of the airflow, the actuator receives the signals. This manages things such as defrost.
The blend door actuator is a miniature plastic box. Inside this part, you will find the plastic gears, the electronics, and a plastic case where everything is housed. Physically, it is a tiny piece of technology that can easily fit your hand if you will have to remove it.
What does a Blend Door Actuator do?
A blend door actuator is a part of your vehicle’s HVAC system. It is an important part since it helps regulate the airflow and temperature inside the car as per settings. The said settings act for various elements such as fresh air, defrost, floor, mid vent, and temperature. Through this, a passenger gets access to control the air temperature as well as manage the direction where they like the flow of the air. It is commonly powered by a small motor or vacuum which is seated together with the assembly.
If you are having difficulty in managing the temperature of the circulating air, or if you cannot halt it from emitting great blast, your actuator may be problematic. A blend door actuator is composed of an electric motor that directs a plastic gear set in various directions. Then at the concluding drive of the unit, it is attached to an air control pivot door.
Once it becomes defective, two possible things could develop. First, there could be a burning of the electric motor which makes it harder for the unit to react if the temperature control is adjusted. The other one is that the gear stiffens and easily breaks. The unit creates a steady thumping noise while functioning.
Bad Blend Door Actuator Symptoms
The question now is – how do I know if my blend door actuator is bad? There are several symptoms of a bad blend door actuator. Temperature control is quite an inconsequential system in the car, however, it can be fussy. Few things can essentially trigger the air conditioning as well as the heating of the car to go wrong. One of these things is the blend door actuator.
Nevertheless, if you are observant of these symptoms, it is a good indication that this is the reason behind your existing concern. The following are the common symptoms you should check out for.
If you notice a droning or screeching continual sound somewhere inside the dashboard near the center area, that is an indication that there is a problem with the blend door actuator. This is most conspicuous once you turn ON the air-con, or alter the temperature and heighten the settings.
In many instances, you will notice this kind of noise if there is a complication or issue with the plastic gears within the actuator. If any of the teeth have disrupted or worn down, the gears begin slithering and make that troubling sound. After all, these gears are only plastic, and they are exposed to wear and tear under greater frequency.
Knocking is a rare symptom, however, if you notice this, it is most likely that you have a bad blend door actuator. If you start the vehicle, or only turn ON the AC system, and detect a knocking sound, that could be an indication that there is a complication with the blend door actuator.
3. Incorrect temperature
If your vehicle has an A/C that fails to heat up or puffing too hot, that can be a definite clue that you have a bad blend door actuator. However, the wrong temperature can also be an indication of another problem.
You will know if the blend door actuator is causing the problem if the car will either be caught at a particular temperature, or it will only go too low or too high before any input misses to register.
4. Irregular airflow
If the movement of the blend door goes back and forth, there is a chance that the airflow will be kept up incorrectly or redirected incorrectly. That is an obvious indication that there is a complication with the blend door actuator.
How to replace a Blend Door Actuator
When replacing a blend door actuator, you have to buy a particular kit from a nearby repair center or order it online. Choosing to do the task by yourself will save you from the additional cost intended for the labor, hence, you will only shell out for the kit.
You have to begin by taking off the plastic cover underneath the dashboard of the car. Get a ratchet and a small socket to detach the bolts so you can finally remove the plastic cover.
After taking off the plastic cover, you will see the different controls and wirings. You should use a small screwdriver to isolate the actuator from the wiring safety clip. Slowly take off the wiring connector and release the actuator. Check if any of the connections are broken.
You will see more screws that are detachable through a screwdriver. Make sure to keep the screws in a secure place. After detaching the entire screws, you should be able to shove off the actuator. Moreover, make sure that the airflow door is not baffled.
See to it that no interferences are keeping the airflow door. The idea is that you much check the entire assembly and not only the actuator.
When you purchase the actuator, it must suit the current one. How to install a blend door actuator? When you install the newly-bought actuator, mirror the placement of the old actuator, and position it appropriately. Do not fasten the screw too much. Remember that they are seated in a plastic housing. After doing the screws, exert a little pressure on the wiring harness connector to set it into the actuator. Once you hear a snapping sound, it implies that the connector is already installed properly.
After securing all bolts and wires, return the plastic cover to its placement. Fasten it through mounting screws. Make sure that you place everything in proper order. After that, your task is to assess the blend door actuator. Use climate control to see if it is puffing cold and hot air. In many instances, it can be repaired. However, if it does not, there is no risk in bringing your vehicle to an expert repairer. You may encounter major problems sometimes, and that can be hardened after performing a comprehensive check. Check for maintenance tips to make sure you are properly delivering the steps so nothing will wear away.
Blend Door Actuator Replacement Cost
The cost involved in blend door actuator replacement is commonly around $300 to $400. The amount varies from the model, make, and year of the car as well as the repair cost will have a significant impact on the replacement cost.
In the same way, the geographical location also impacts the replacement cost for this part. Mechanics located in Beverly Hills will commonly charge higher. Even the mechanics from the same city may charge differently. The best approach is to hear recommendations from family and friends about who can give you the best price when it comes to the blend door actuator replacement.
Always examine the blend door actuator throughout the entire setting to see if the actuator works in the entire mode. Furthermore, there can be instances that the door becomes stuck, and the actuator is doing fine. You can do a confirmation before opting to buy an actuator immediately. This will help you identify which part is causing a problem. What does a blend door actuator do? You should know by now that it plays an essential role.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic’s instructor for local schools.