In-car air conditioning was once considered something of a luxury, but is now a common feature of many cars.
While the servicing of your air conditioning unit is best left to your garage, it helps if you know a little about how it works and what problems you should be on the look out for.
1. Firstly, If you see a puddle of water on the ground after using your air conditioning don’t worry.
During hot or humid weather water will drip from an overflow pipe normally situated to the middle of the underside of the car. This is a perfectly normal feature of the system as it is only water dripping from the air conditioning evaporator. The evaporator has a drain tube fitted to allow the condensation from the evaporator to drain away from the vehicle.
Now to some issues that may be a sign of problems.
2. Odd smells coming from the air conditioning may be caused by a build up of bacteria. As your car becomes older, or when the air conditioning system is used infrequently, bacteria, micro-organisms, mold and fungi may start growing just behind the dash panel on the evaporator causing some very unpleasant odours! Some even claim this can result in headaches and flu like symptom sometimes referred to as “sick car syndrome.” This problem can be solved by using an anti-bacterial treatment that destroys the bacteria growth and leaves your car smelling fresh again.
3. If your car does not feel cold enough, then you may need to recharge your system. The air conditioning system in your car is basically a refrigerator in a rather unusual configuration and like many systems of this type it can deteriorate over time. On average most vehicles lose up to 15% of their gas per year.
TOWER GARGE TIP: Running your air conditioning all year round will help maintain the system. If you run the air conditioning in the winter it will help to keep the system properly lubricated and keep seals in good condition. This is because the refrigerant actually carries the oil that lubricates the system and most importantly the compressor.
4. Strange noises coming from the air conditioning should be looked at immediately. If your air-con system suddenly starts making noises you have not heard before, it is advisable to have a qualified specialist have a look at it. Some noises could be early symptoms of a compressor failure (the compressor is the air conditioning pump).
The compressor is usually the most expensive part on the system with prices ranging from approximately £230 to £600+. If the bearings in your compressor break down or if the compressor seizes up it also means that other components can become contaminated with metal particles in the system. A flush of the system would then be needed as well as replacement of the compressor, the receiver/drier and the expansion valve – all adding to the expense of the operation.
5. Excessive moisture inside the car can usually be fixed easily. Sometimes the drain tube from the evaporator may become blocked or detached allowing the condensation to build up inside the evaporator. If this occurs water will just build up inside your car to a point where there are damp carpets and high humidity. These problems can be solved with low-cost servicing.
6. Many of the issues surrounding your car’s air conditioning unit can be avoided if you have the system serviced regularly. Like so much with cars, an ounce of prevention prevents a pound (or £’s) of cure! The compressor needs oil, or else it will seize up. The filter collects debris and moisture. If the filter becomes blocked, then the performance of the system will deteriorate and it can even stop working entirely. Normally the refrigerant gas in a car air conditioning system has to be recharged completely within four years from the manufacture date, and thereafter every two to three years.
Here at Tower Garage we can completely service and maintain all aspects of your air-con unit, and keep you running as cool as the day it left the manufacturers! Contact us if you have A/C concerns, advice is FREE.
We get asked frequently “how much to gas up my A/C”? Well, we do not just add gas to a system as it’s not the answer to why the system isn’t blowing cold air. If it needs gas, it either needs a service or there is another issue such as a gas leak, the compressor is no longer working or even a small electrical fault not switching the system on. Don’t waste your money by insisting A.N.Other just adds gas.