Feeling hot on the road in sweltering conditions? Let’s switch on climate control. Wait, why is the cold setting producing hot air? It could be due to a miscalibration of the blend door actuator of your Tahoe (i.e., if you own a Chevy Tahoe). The actuator is an easily overlooked piece of machinery in the automobile. Problems with climate control are usually overcome with a reset of the Tahoe blend-door actuator.
When it comes to repairs in a vehicle, people mostly imagine brakes or the clutch. To be honest, those systems encounter the most wear and tear. As opposed to them, this actuator goes awry infrequently. However, when it does, you will face a severe degradation of ride comfort. How do you reset the blend door actuator on a Chevy? Read on for the simple steps of performing a reset.
What is a Blend Door Actuator?
And what does it do? An actuator is just another name for a motor and gear system. The blend door actuator of your car regulates the climate control system. Usually located under the dash, it looks like a small plastic box and contains some plastics gears inside it. It is miniature enough to fit in one of your hands.
But, you may not recognise it among the multitude of electrical components under the dash. Unless, of course, you have a mechanic or technician’s experience. If you have dual climate control, there might be two actuators, one for either side. Some cars have separate climate control for the back seat. That is one more blend door actuator.
When you change the cabin temperature or the airflow, the commands are realised via this actuator. Control of defrosters and other air vents inside the cabin also falls to the blend door actuator.
Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Actuator
Why is my blend door actuator not working? The reason behind it could be one of three things, a burnt motor, broken gears, or a control system glitch. When a reset of the blend-door actuator of your Tahoe becomes necessary, you will encounter some of the following symptoms.
1. Knocking, Clicking or other Strange Noises
Knocking is an almost sure-shot symptom of a failing actuator. It occurs when the AC is switched on. Knocking sounds or clicking noises usually arise due to broken or brittle plastic gears inside the actuator. In such a case, it has to be replaced. However, it is prudent to try a reset before spending money on a new component.
Practically, any defects or damage in almost all vehicle systems gives rise to strange noises. How to tell if you have a bad blend door actuator? Study the sounds you hear. If they only happen or get louder when the AC comes on, or you change the temperature, the actuator is likely at fault.
2. Wrong or Inconsistent Temperature
Temperature mismatches probably arise from a glitch in the controls of the blend door actuator. This is where a reset will help. If you are getting the wrong temperature air from the AC, examine the actuator. Same if the temperature changes independent of the temperature controls. Don’t worry. A reset is quick and easy to perform.
3. Erratic Airflow
Sometimes, you may feel the airflow increase or decrease by itself. It is a signal that the blend door actuator is not working as it should. Try to reset the blend-door actuator. Why am I blowing hot air out the driver’s side and cold out of the passenger’s side? Why is only one of my vents blowing cold air? These phenomena are also due to a fault with this actuator.
4. Unresponsive Temperature Controls
Obviously, there is a problem with the actuator if, using the controls, you cannot change the air temperature. It can happen due to the motor in the actuator unit burning out. This, too, necessitates the replacement of the blend door actuator. Otherwise, the cabin temperature will be stuck in one setting.
You will also lose the ability to change the airflow according to your needs. Alternating between the upper and lower vents and the defroster becomes impossible.
Reset the Tahoe Blend-Door Actuator
When you face any issues with the climate control of your Chevy Tahoe (or any other car), the first move to try is resetting the actuator. Also, if you have recently replaced the blend door actuator, let it self-calibrate for the best results. The steps are the same for both. Remember to clear all DTCs before starting.
1. Remove HVAC Fuse
If you do not have a Scan tool, locate the HVAC control module (or ECAS) fuse and disconnect it. Wait for 10 seconds, then reinstall the fuse. The Chevy Tahoe fuse diagram below will help you find the correct fuse.
If you have any other car, check your owner’s manual for a similar diagram. When you replace the actuator, this step comes after the HVAC actuator is installed and all the previously disconnected components have been reconnected. Using a Scan tool, you can simply initiate the Motor Re-calibration feature of the HVAC Special Functions menu.
2. Start the Car
After putting in the fuse, start the car to provide power to the blend door actuator.
3. Wait For Self Calibration
At this point, the calibration process is automatic. Wait for about 40 seconds for the actuator to self-calibrate. Give it a few extra seconds to be sure.
Important Note: You mustn’t touch the AC controls during the self-calibration process. Any interruption will lead to improper or inefficient performance of the climate control module.
4. Check the DTCs
Once the reset is complete, verify that the DTCs are cleared and are not set as current DTCs. And that is how you perform a reset on a Tahoe blend-door actuator.
Replacing Blend Door Actuator
A burnt-out motor or broken gears cannot be solved by a reset. You need a new actuator, in that case. The video explains the replacement procedure for a Chevrolet Silverado. It will be similar to that for a Tahoe.
How long does it take to replace an actuator? The complete replacement process will take between 1 to 2 hours, including the testing. On the other hand, a simple reset takes about 2 to 3 minutes.
How much does it cost to replace an AC actuator? The average cost for replacing it falls between $100 to $400, including labour. You can order an OEM replacement from Amazon for much less, provided you change it yourself. A reset does not cost anything except for a little of your time.
Can I Drive Without a Blend Door Actuator?
A missing or faulty actuator does not prevent you from driving around in your car. But, the ride will be downright uncomfortable.
The actuator is not critical to the safety or performance of an automobile. Nonetheless, imagine the climate control stuck in a cold setting during winter (Brrrrr!) or vice versa in summer. It can range from an annoyance to a significant dilemma for you and your passengers. The prudent course of action is to handle the complication as soon as it arises.
Following this process, you can reset the Tahoe blend-door actuator. No tools come into play for this process, just the car key. Carefully study the relevant section of the owner’s manual before working on the fuses and the actuator.
If you need to replace the actuator, you would have to first identify and locate it. It can be under the dash and easy to reach. Or, it could be in an inconvenient location like the top of the heater box. When the replacement takes a long time, it is due to loads of parts that need to be removed before the actuator can be accessed.