Car Air Conditioner Service – Get Your Ride Ready for Summer
Are you enjoying the beautiful days and mild temperatures of spring and anxious for summer? Looking forward to lazy days on the beach and summer cookouts? Maybe a road trip or two? It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be traveling this summer or sticking closer to home, now is the perfect time to schedule car air conditioner service. Don’t wait until you really need it. Make sure it is working properly before the summer heat arrives.
Check it Early
It’s best to test your car air conditioner before you need it. Turn it on full blast. Make sure all the vents are working and that the air is cold. Check the air conditioner fan speeds as well. They vary from high to low and you should be able to hear the speed increase as you dial up the settings. Make sure the vents at the bottom of the windshield near the wipers and the front grill are clear of leaves and other debris. This can block air intake and reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. If the air isn’t as cold as it should be, or there are strange noises or odd smells when you turn it on, it’s time for professional car air conditioner service.
The refrigerant is the lifeblood of your car air conditioner. If it is blowing cool but not cold air, the air conditioner may just need to be recharged. Older cars built before 1994 used R-12, commonly known as freon, as a refrigerant. Models built after that use R134a, as R-12 is believed to be one of the leading causes of ozone depletion.
If you have some skill when it comes to car maintenance, technically you might be able to recharge your air conditioner yourself but it is not recommended. All refrigerants have a tendency to displace oxygen. This means if you accidentally evacuate the system, the refrigerant could literally push the air out of your lungs. Recharging your car air conditioner is best left to the professionals. If your air conditioner is exhibiting more serious issues like blowing warm air or making strange sounds, it’s definitely time for car air conditioner service.
When you take your car in for air conditioner service, a professional technician will measure the amount of pressure in your system. If the pressure level is low, they will add enough to get a measurement within the manufacturer’s specifications. The technician will then let your car run for a few minutes with the air conditioner on high. Using a special thermometer, they will measure the system’s output. If it’s not within the necessary parameters, it is possible that you have a leak in your car air conditioning system.
To determine if there is a leak, the technician will hook your car to a refrigerant recovery system and drain the refrigerant. Then they will inspect the air conditioning hard lines for obvious cracks. In an effort to locate hard-to-find leaks, they may add a tracer dye. While this can help, tracer dye isn’t foolproof. Luckily, because they are made of aluminum, the hard lines typically don’t fail. The source of the problem is usually one of the other components of the system.
Other Possible Culprits
One possible problem is the compressor. It pressurizes the refrigerant and it’s this change in pressure that cools the air. Unlike the older refrigerant, R-12, R134a requires supplementary oil to be added to the system to make everything function. If your compressor runs low on oil, the interior seals could fail, causing you to have to replace the unit.
Another possible reason for a system leak is a bad condenser. Basically a large heat exchanger, the condenser is typically located in the front of your vehicle’s engine bay. Just like your car’s radiator, it is exposed to oncoming air. This makes it susceptible to damage from flying debris and could cause it to malfunction.
Other possible culprits are the receiver dryer, evaporator, cabin air filter and expansion valve. Unfortunately, finding the source of a system leak or other air conditioner issues can be tricky. It requires a technician’s expertise and equipment to accurately determine the problem and repair it.
Regular Car Air Conditioner Service
To keep your car air conditioner performing at its peak and extend its lifespan, it is recommended that it be serviced once a year. Spring is the best time to schedule service. Annual service typically includes checking system pressure, inspecting air conditioner components, cabin air filter, and cooling fan operation. The air conditioner performance will be evaluated and it will be recharged if needed.
Holiday Service Center can handle your car air conditioner service and take care of any other car maintenance necessary to keep your car running smooth and cool all summer long. Our ASE certified technicians have the knowledge, training, and tools to give you the best service possible. Beat the heat and schedule you car air conditioner service today!