The scorching heat of summer can bring trouble for you and your car. Thankfully, your trusted air conditioning can help you beat the heat.
But here’s the thing:
Improper care and maintenance can leave you with faulty air conditioning, or worse — one that’s not functioning at all!
Below is a short guide on maintaining your vehicle’s air conditioning and troubleshooting any problems that may arise.
1. Examine the Cabin Air Filter
The cabin air filter traps dust and pollutants that enter your vehicle’s cabin.
But if you skip your regular maintenance, you may end up with a clogged filter that restricts the airflow and traps moisture, creating a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Pro tip: Replace the cabin air filter every year (or every 15,000 and 30,000 miles) to ensure your air conditioning works smoothly. You could also check it routinely to see if it’s clogged.
2. Keep an Eye on Refrigerant Levels
The air from the AC that maintains your cabin temperature is cooled with the help of refrigerant. That means your air conditioning won’t work if you’re out of refrigerant fluid.
Pro tip: Get a mechanic to check your refrigerant level during regular vehicle servicing. And if you’re low on refrigerant levels due to a leak, they can resolve the issue before it causes further damage.
3. Check the Condenser
The condenser cools heated, high-pressure refrigerant gas from the compressor to convert it into a chilled, high-pressure liquid released through the air conditioning.
But if it’s clogged with contaminants (like dust and road salts), it’ll restrict the flow of air into the front of your car and be unable to cool down the heated refrigerant from the compressor. This, in turn, will lead to hot air blowing into your vehicle’s cabin.
Pro tip: Pop open your vehicle’s hood to see if the condenser is clogged (you’ll find the condenser in front of the radiator). If it’s clogged or dirty, use a hose to direct water through the condenser’s grilles.
If it’s damaged, have a mechanic check whether it needs to be replaced.
4. See if the Compressor Is Functioning Properly
The compressor converts low-temperature refrigerant into high-pressure, high-temperature gas. This gas is then sent to the condenser, where it’s cooled and condensed.
However, if parts like the compressor pulley, piston, or clutch malfunction, your air conditioning won’t work, and refrigerant won’t be circulated. In such cases, you may even hear a loud knocking noise.
Pro tip: Compressors typically go bad when they aren’t used for prolonged periods. To prevent that, you should run your AC on full blast at least once every three weeks.
5. Examine the Cooling Fans
AC vents may release hot air when the cooling fans aren’t working correctly due to an electrical issue.
Pro tip: Check the cooling fans for visual damage. If there’s none, your best bet would be a mechanic inspecting the sensors, connections, wiring, and fuse. You may need to replace the cooling fan system.
6. Get Your AC Serviced Routinely
As with all machines and their parts, routine servicing is crucial in ensuring their smooth functioning. Similarly, your AC and its parts need routine servicing. It helps keep your air conditioning functional and lets you avoid costly repairs from negligence.
Pro tip: Take your car to your local mechanic or have a reliable auto expert from AutoNation Mobile Service come to you. Our mechanics can handle all of your car maintenance needs while offering upfront prices and quality repairs.