You don’t realize how much you appreciate air conditioning until you’re driving in 90-degree summer weather and expect an open window to provide sufficient comfort. That’s why it’s recommended that you don’t put off giving your car’s A/C system a tune up until summer arrives and you really need it. For most vehicles, a simple refrigerant recharge will keep A/C systems running cool and healthy. Other cars may need a bit more work.
Drivers normally take their vehicles in for A/C service for one of two reasons – to either get the system checked out to ensure it’s running well, or because a car is no longer blowing out cool air. During A/C Servicing, the pressure in the A/C system will be measured, and other components will be inspected to ensure the system is operating properly.
When a vehicle is no longer blowing out cool air, it’s usually the sign of a refrigerant leak somewhere in the system. If the source of the leak can’t be determined from a visual inspection, auto mechanics will pressurize the A/C system, and watch the car over several hours to look for signs of a leak. Most of the time, the source of the leak is a component in the A/C system, such as the compressor or the condenser. The receiver dryer, evaporator, or expansion valve are other parts that may require repair or replacement, if the compressor and condenser are working properly.
As with most things when it comes to your automobile, preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid more costly A/C issues down the road. Service appointments usually don’t just consist of pressurizing the system and adding refrigerant (if necessary), but also include servicing the compressor and replacing some of the more minor components when necessary.
Air conditioning is an important creature comfort – and it’s often one that drivers don’t truly appreciate until they don’t have it anymore. That’s why it makes sense to have your A/C system serviced at least once a year—preferably, in the spring—even if the system is seemingly running fine. By having it serviced regularly, any small issues will be corrected before they become more expensive problems.