If you have a 1997-2002 Chevrolet Malibu, you more than likely experience the lovely feature of having the recirculation button blink and/or turn off the whole air conditioning system all together. I was convinced the thing was possessed, until I decided to Google the problem. It took some digging, but I was eventually successful, and if you’re like me, you’ll be glad you found this post because it will save you a lot of money!
The recirculation button on the control head for the A/C would not stay engaged (green light stay on) and would switch back to normal A/C, instead of Max A/C.
Fortunately the solution is easy, follow my brief instructions and see the PDF at the end for pictures. The problem is that the brushes on the switches are losing contact with the circuit board. Get down to them and clean them off and apply some graphite (from a #2 pencil) and all will be well!
- Remove the bezel around the key and the A/C controls and radio. To remove the bezel, you just pry the cover around the ignition switch off, then pry the black trim off. Its all held on by clips. Just remember to pry evenly and not necessarily in one spot.
- Remove the screws holding in the A/C controls and disconnect the wiring and hoses.
- Take the control head to a clean area where you can catch falling parts if need be.
- Remove the control knobs by pulling them off.
- Pry open the front with a small screwdriver (notice tabs on the sides holding it in).
- Take buttons and light ring out and pry up the circuit board to expose the brushes and contacts.
- Carefully clean both contact surfaces (2 of them) on the circuit board with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip (don’t use sandpaper as that will be too abrasive).
- After it dries, take a #2 pencil and rub on the contact surface you just cleaned (doesn’t need to be too heavy).
- Put things back together in reverse order and enjoy the cool air!
As promised, the PDF file with pictures is here: AC Control Repair. I can’t remember where I got this from, but as it was freely given to me, so I freely give to you. Nacho, whoever you are, I thank you!