A blend door actuator is responsible for maintaining the desired temperature in your car. Just like any other component, the blend actuator also needs calibration.
You might need to reset it for several reasons, namely, jammed gears, an electrical fault, or a worn-out actuator. So, the obvious question is how to perform a blend door actuator reset.
The actuator can easily be reset by simply cutting fuse box power, raising the temperature to the maximum, turning off the car, then altering the temperature, and finally calibrating the actuator. In extreme cases, you’ll have to replace the entire system.
Today, we’ll guide you on how to perform this task in detail. And answer any related queries you have. Let’s continue without further ado.
When Is It Necessary to Reset a Blend Door Actuator?
A blend door actuator may be necessary for several reasons, especially if the vehicle has recently undergone repairs. Performing an actuator reset will calibrate the part and make it functional again.
Here are 2 scenarios when you might have to reset the actuator –
If the Car Has a Malfunctioning Actuator
The actuator is mostly made of plastic, and eventually, it will wear out. So, sooner or later, it will need a replacement.
Actuators usually malfunction due to sudden power surges, or misaligned contact pins at the rear output shaft. This module is an essential part of the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and without a working actuator, the heating system may not perform as expected.
But don’t worry, replacing a bad actuator won’t put a big dent in your wallet.
If You Have Recently Done Repairs
The actuator resets itself automatically every time you start the engine. However, it will require a manual recalibration after you have repaired the HVAC system or the dashboard wiring.
Constant clicking sounds after startup might be a sign that your actuator needs to be calibrated.
Step By Step Guide – How to Reset Blend Door Actuator
Now that you know when your actuator needs to be reset, it is time to get into the important part. You can easily reset the actuator in some simple steps.
Step 1: Open the Dashboard and Find the Faulty Actuator
The first step is to unscrew and remove the central console. Depending on the type of car, there should be one or two actuators located at the front seats or somewhere else. Check your user manual to find the exact locations.
In most cars, they should be located at the center of the dashboard behind the radio. After you have located the parts, disconnect the wires first, followed by the transmission connections and the radio assembly.
Finally, check the actuator wiring or if the device is broken, take it out and replace it.
Step 2: Disconnect the Fuse
Before we move on to the next steps, it is crucial that you disconnect the battery fuses located at the engine bay. This will eliminate the chances of you getting electrocuted.
Locate the fuse assembly, and disconnect the HVAC control module.
Based on your car model, the control fuse number will either be no.42 or no.15.
In some modern cars, it is possible to turn off the connection through an electronic control panel.
Step 3: Fix The Output Shaft Gears
The actuator gears are fragile, and they can break if misaligned. Carefully spin the gears until the operation feels smooth and the gears seem aligned properly.
Step 4: Turn on the Engine
Now turn on the engine using the startup button or ignition key, and wait for the engine to warm up. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
This step is best done outdoors, but make sure there’s good ventilation if you’re performing this indoors.
Don’t forget to engage the parking brakes before starting the engine.
Step 5: Start Tuning the AC System
Now with the car turned On and the systems online, it’s time to switch on the AC. Use the dashboard control to move the temperature control from cold to hot. Wait 2-3 minutes to ensure the system is heated properly.
Now, turn off the engine and carefully reconnect the fuses to the battery. Just to be on the safe side, check the voltage of the HVAC system to see if it’s working correctly.
Step 6: Reset the Blend Door Actuator
Start the car again and notice if the actuator is moving properly or not. It should start regulating the position within 30-45 seconds from startup. Keep changing the temperature settings and monitor the airflow direction.
The alteration in temperature should take about 2-3minutes to take place. Repeat this step a few times before moving on to the next step.
Step 7: Put Everything Back as They Were
Once everything checks out, it’s time to reinstall the radio system, transmission connection, and other associated wirings back in place. Secure the central console properly and try out the AC again.
If you followed these instructions correctly, the blend door actuator should be working flawlessly. However, you should get the car through a check-up in case the actuator still doesn’t work.
In case you had difficulties understanding the procedure, follow this video demonstration.
Tips to Keep the Actuator Running Smoothly
Below are some steps you could follow to prevent your actuator from breaking down.
- Avoid changing the temperature settings too often.
- Keep the actuator well-lubricated.
- Don’t use the heating system if the outside temperature is above 90F.
- Avoid using AC if the temperature falls below 60F.
Double Checking the Repairs
To test the actuator, check the actuator motor and whether the hoses are hot or not. A faulty actuator motor could make the airflow obstructed. Then keep an eye on the actuator flap movement while slowly changing the temperature settings.
If the blend door moves with the changing temperature, then the repair has turned out fine. You should also check the door linkage as they could lead to similar problems. If the problem lies in the linkage, consult professional help.
What to Do in Case You Run into Troubles?
Follow these instructions if the heating problems persist even after resetting the actuator –
Step 1: Check The AC
The door actuator is powered by the AC relay. So, a faulty relay could easily corrupt the actuator. To verify this, check the continuity of the relay power using a multimeter.
Step 2: Double Check the Wiring
The onboard computer and HVAC system are connected to the actuator via a wire harness. If the harness is damaged, the actuator may not work properly. Check the wear and tear on the harness by visual inspection and perform repairs if necessary.
Step 3: Replace the Actuator
Sometimes the problem lies in the actuator itself. If everything else is working properly, then the actuator might be defective. In such cases, you’ll have to change the assembly.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do I have to calibrate the actuator often?
Normally, actuators calibrate automatically on every engine ignition. Unless you have changed the actuator or disconnected it for repair purposes, you won’t have to worry about resetting it.
In some car models, you can reset it using the dashboard controls; in other cases, it has to be done manually.
- Does resetting the actuator take long?
Resetting an actuator is a relatively simple process. Depending on the severity of the problem, it generally doesn’t take more than 1 hour. Depending on the area, the labor cost falls in the ballpark of $70-$150.
- Does the actuator stay open to control the heat?
This feature depends on the car manufacturer. Some cars have opened valve doors for cooling, whereas others use open doors for heating purposes.
To find out which type your car uses, contact the manufacturer or check it yourself by manually calibrating the blend actuator shaft.
- How often do I need to lubricate the actuator?
Although actuators are small machines, they also need to be lubricated. The rule of thumb is to lubricate the actuator gears when they make squeaking or cracking sounds. You can use general-purpose machine oil for this.
- Is resetting a blend door actuator expensive?
It depends on the workshop and the type of car. Usually, the actuator itself costs around $120-$150, but the total cost will fall between $300-$450. Again, the price depends on key factors such as the car model, the complexity of the mechanics, and the workshop fees.
In short, to reset the blend door actuator, you’ll have to disconnect the no.45 or no.15 fuse, turn on the engine, and let the car heat up for approximately 3 minutes. After that, turn off the car and reconnect the fuse to the battery.
Finally, check the relay and wiring harness to see if the actuator is working properly or not. If problems persist, consult a professional or take the vehicle to a workshop.
We hope this article has helped you to understand how to perform a blend door actuator reset.