Summer will be here soon. In just a couple of weeks, everyone will be out having some fun in the sun.
It’s all good, except for the heat. It can get hot real fast and as you know, almost everyone has got to get in a car or some sort of automobile to move around.
As a driver, there are parts of your car that are simply meant to be aesthetically pleasing. The AC isn’t one of them.
Here are a Few Reasons Why Your Car's AC is Very Important
An AC is your weapon against the prickly heat of the hot summer days. It significantly cools your car down, thereby, providing a more comfortable ride for you and your passengers.
It’s only fitting that we start with the cooling effects of AC is in a car but that’s not all the AC is for.
Beyond comfort, it also helps keep the driver safe. A hot car is often a source of discomfort for a driver. You don’t want to pass out from heatstroke behind the wheels.
That said, yes to the AC!
You could roll down your windows but most auto glass, especially when tinted, provide some level of protection from the harsh glare of the sun.
Treat your AC well and you’ll be sure to enjoy your car rides this summer.
Maintaining Your Car Air Conditioning System – The Whys and How’s
Let’s start with the whys:
Professional AC services have numerous benefits for a driver that goes beyond the provision of cool air.
Unfortunately, most drivers would rather wait until the AC is blowing hot air or not even blowing any air before calling in the experts.
A better practice would be to get a handle on things and prevent your air conditioning from needing major repairs in the first place.
With proper inspection and maintenance, you can rest assured of optimal performance from your AC unit, saving you the need for expensive repairs and downtime.
Ensure the Air in Your Car is Fresh
In addition to cool air, you also need fresh air in your car. A dirty AC system is tantamount to dirty air in the car because as soon as you switch it on, you’re inadvertently propagating the spread of the dirt from the AC.
For your health and well-being, try to get your car AC serviced and cleaned regularly to get rid of dirt, dust, mold, pollen, and other possible contaminants.
Running your car’s AC regularly will result in some components getting worn out with time. This could potentially result in damage to these components and by extension, the entire AC unit.
Fortunately, with regular inspection of the AC unit, the auto mechanic will likely identify them and provide solutions.
Be it a refrigerant leak, condenser or compressor problems, and others, it’s much better they find and fix it before it takes the whole AC down with it.
At this point, you’re probably sold on the idea of maintaining your car’s AC unit. That said, let’s move on to the how’s.
How to Adequately Maintain Your Car's AC System
Here’s the thing:
Professional AC servicing is necessary to ensure your AC is in good working condition. That much is to be expected since trained auto repair experts are handling the unit.
However, as a driver, there are things you must do on your part to contribute to your AC’s functionality and longevity.
With our expertise in all things car air conditioning systems, we’ve come up with a few tips that will help you maintain your car’s AC system.
Tips for AC Maintenance
Don't leave the AC dormant for too long
This is probably not going to be an issue in the summer, but in winter, people tend to leave their ACs off for most of the time. Bad idea.
To adequately maintain gas pressure and keep the compressor working, you must run the AC at least once a week for 10 minutes.
Besides, running the AC in winter will help remove humidity from the cabin, therefore, defogging the windshield and improving your visibility.
Note that how you run it matters as well.
A great way to do this is to run the AC at the highest fan speed and coolest setting. As for the dehumidifier function, try running defrost mode for a few minutes.
Keep the air filter clean
Remember what we said about a dirty AC blowing dirty air? The air filter contributes significantly to this when it’s dirty.
But that is not all you have to worry about here. A dirty air filter lowers fuel economy by making the AC work too hard to cool the cabin.
To improve the quality of the air in your car, clean the air filter regularly and replace it when necessary.
As for the replacement of the old filter, it’s recommended you change them every 12,000 miles.
It would also be a good idea to do this after winter when it would have most likely being plugged with large debris.
Time to recharge your AC
The AC requires refrigerants to run optimally. This fluid is specially formulated to transform hot air into cold air.
That’s pretty important stuff when it comes to AC systems. A lack of this fluid will certainly affect the function of your AC.
Being unaware of the status of the refrigerant could lead to AC inefficiency. Without checking the actual level, a few signs should notify you of when it’s low.
✔ Your AC blowing warm air.
✔ Failure of the clutch to engage as there’s not enough refrigerant to pressurize the compressor. Simply put, you won’t hear the characteristic click that signifies successful clutch engagement.
✔ Visible refrigerant leaks.
If you notice any of these, quickly opt for an AC recharge. It’s best to go to an ASE-Certified technician for this.
They will likely check the system thoroughly and repair any damage, especially when there’s a leak. Then, they can refill with fresh refrigerant.
✔ Ensure the compressor is, well, compressing!
The compressor deserves special mention because of how important it is to your vehicle’s AC.
The compressor pressurizes the AC system to keep the refrigerant flowing and the AC cooling. Not to oversimplify it, but if you want to stay cool as a cucumber in your vehicle, then your compressor must be working properly.
Unfortunately, because the compressor functions constantly on an on-and-off cycle, it’s likely to get worn out.
A few warning signs to watch out for here includes:
✔ Higher-than-normal cabin temperature
✔ Loud noises when the compressor is running
✔ Failure of the compressor clutch to move.
When you notice these signs, then it’s time to get your auto repair expert over for some work on the compressor.
In cases such as that of the clutch being damaged, some people might go for a clutch replacement.
However, a total replacement of the entire compressor is often the most efficient route to take.
✔ Use the AC efficiently
An AC does a lot of work on its own, but it does require a little help from you to work even better.
There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules here, but we do have a couple of tips to help you maximize your AC when driving.
Firstly, there’s no need to pre-cool your car. As it turns out, the AC actually works better when you’re driving because the compressor runs faster, thereby, cooling better.
As for rolling down the windows, this might be necessary when you parked under the hot sun but not so much if the car was parked under a shade or in a cool garage.
If the former is the case, then consider rolling down the rear windows for about 20 seconds. If you open only the front windows, the heat over there will dissipate but the back of the car will likely remain hot.
Go low. When you’re driving, it’ll be more efficient and even save some fuel if you set the AC to the lowest temperature and adjust the fan.
In a few minutes, the car will be cool. There’s no need to blast it on high, possibly drying out the air in the process.
Recirculate smartly. To make the most of the air recirculation button, use it in hot weather. Doing this will cool the air in the cabin fast and put less stress on the compressor.
You can also turn it on when you’re stuck in traffic to prevent harmful exhaust gases from getting into the cabin.
However, keep it off during winter and cold weather. Also, if the vehicle, is filled with passengers, keep the recirculation off so the air doesn’t get stuffy.
Getting the Best Out of Your AC
You only do this when it keeps your car cool. And to do that, your best bet is to adequately maintain your AC.
There’s hardly anything that makes your trip worse than turning on the AC and being assaulted with hot, stale air.
To implement the tips above, perhaps come up with an AC maintenance checklist and ensure you stick to it.
For adequate maintenance, leave it to the professionals. And that’s where we come in, we’ve got ASE-Certified technicians that are trained and experienced to handle any issues here.
Also, schedule yearly AC services for a complete and thorough treatment of your car’s AC.
Unlike when you have to resort to trial and error or listening for clicking sounds and such, figuring out any AC issues will be a breeze to us.