The ABC's Of Checking Your Air Conditioning

Summer’s right around the corner and if you haven’t gotten your car’s air conditioning checked out yet, don’t wait until the sweltering months make it blisteringly obvious you need a fix.

How exactly can you do a quick self-check on your air conditioning? A good standard your car should meet is the ability to generate or maintain air temperatures that are 50 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Celsius below the ambient outside air temperature.

While there are guides on the internet on Do It Yourself fixes for your air conditioning, it may be better to leave servicing such a vital system to the professionals.

If your car is blowing cool but not cold air, it is likely you need a recharge because the refrigerant is low. You need to add the right amount of refrigerant to bring the pressure up and it is quite possible to add too much.

On a modern car, this service won’t cost much, but older models may need to be converted to use of a more environmentally friendly refrigerant than the now illegal Freon. Because of dwindling supplies and sky-rocketing prices for Freon, converting now will save you money in the long run.

While you are at the auto repair shop, you can have them check for leaks, which are the most common cause for your car’s insufficient cooling symptoms and may be difficult to find without a special dye. They can also check other important parts in the system such as the belt that powers the compressor, your condenser, vents, dryer, evaporator, and valves.

It is advisable to get your air conditioning checked and maintained at least once a year to prevent more costly problems down the line. One such problem is the new refrigerant R-134a requires supplementary oil to be added to the system, which Freon didn’t need. Without it, the interior seals may fail and you will need to replace your compressor.

Even though we’d like our things to work perpetually without ever having to do anything, cars just aren’t built to last without the proper maintenance. Keeping your car healthy is as simple as keeping yourself healthy and regular physical check-ups should be a regular thing.

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