AC repair for any vehicle tends to be the type of repair job many drivers don’t think about until something goes wrong. While these same drivers may do a good job of getting regular oil changes, tune-ups and mileage maintenance work done, they forget auto AC maintenance until it is too late.
Because you don’t want your AC to give out when you are stuck in traffic on the I-15 this summer, you should get regular AC inspections and tune-ups for your car same as you do for other major components. Before it gets too hot (well, we’re already there), now is the time to take care of your AC so you can ride in cool-comfort this season long.
Common questions regarding automotive air conditioning repair:
How often should you get your car’s air condition inspected?
This varies from once a year to once every two years but since you live in southern California where your AC gets more use than in other places, a once-a-year inspection is a really good idea.
How do you know if your car’s AC isn’t working properly?
There are a lot of ways to tell your car’s air conditioner isn’t working as it should. If the AC unit isn’t blowing cold air, that’s one. If it is emitting a strange odor or making a loud whirring sound, those are others. Like with other problems, the sooner you get your AC unit looked at by an auto repair shop, the easier and less expensive it will be to fix.
Doesn’t the AC unit just need some more refrigerant?
While it is true that some air conditioning tune-ups just require adding refrigerant, that’s not always the case. Your car’s air conditioning unit is actually quite complex with numerous moving parts. Car air conditioning repair is more than just adding fluid. The compressor, condenser, accumulator, expansion valve and evaporator are just some of the key parts to a modern-day auto air conditioning unit.
The problem with so many moving parts is that there’s more room for something to go wrong. Diagnosing the correct problem with an AC that isn’t functioning properly isn’t a task to be taken lightly. And if you have an older model car built before 1994, your vehicle’s air conditioning repair can be even more challenging.
If the AC in your vehicle is blowing out air that is slightly cool but not cold, this tends to signal a problem with low refrigerant levels. While this can be a somewhat subjective measure, what’s cool versus what’s cold, an AC is supposed to blow cold-cold air, not just cool air. If this is the case with your AC, now is the best time to bring it in for an AC inspection.
What do low refrigerant levels mean?
If your vehicle is losing refrigerant or needs frequent refilling, this could likely signal a leak somewhere in the system. This could be a worn-out condenser or compressor. It could also mean a leak in one of the hoses or seals. With automotive AC units, leaks are not always detectable to the eye; small and hard-to-find leaks generally are only detectable with specialized diagnostic equipment.
In this situation, adding refrigerant is only a temporary fix and not a very good one. Refrigerant will only continue to leak and you will need to keep adding it. Meanwhile, the tear will only get bigger causing other problems if it’s not taken care of.
Does the AC unit seem to struggle to blow any air at all?
When you turn up the AC, does it whir and sound like it is working really hard to do something but nothing is happening? If this is the case, it’s more than likely a problem with a fan, a clogged hose or part, or a seal not sealing completely. Car air conditioning repair is needed to fix this problem rather than just simply adding more refrigerant.
Does the AC emit a foul smell?
This is unpleasant and if you are prone to allergies this can cause even bigger problems. This smell might mean that the evaporator and grown mold or mildew and needs replacement. It could also signal an air cabin filter replacement, a $10 fix that anyone can do. This is not related to air conditioning repair.
Get preventative maintenance to steer clear of costly automotive AC repair
Running the car air conditioner regularly year-round can help prevent problems that come from lack of use such as mold and mildew accumulation. It can also help keep the right calibrations and pressures for the AC unit enabling it to blow ice-cold air when you really need it to.
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