Warm weather or cold, drivers still need to think about their 's air conditioning. Most people don't service their air conditioning until after it fails. At , we can advise you on your vehicle manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on.
Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the ‘s air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can't cool the air as well. We see that a lot at in .
The refrigerant also contains a special oil that lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all car owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At , we recommended that the air conditioner be run regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.
Corrosion is what leads to many air conditioning system failures for motorists. The small leaks mentioned earlier also mean that air and water can leak into the air conditioning system. This can lead to rust and dirt in the internal workings of the air conditioning components. This greatly accelerates wear and, ultimately, failure.
Air conditioning service at starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it's inspected for cracks or wear. The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it's repaired and the system is retested.
Then the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test insures that the ‘s air conditioner is working, and you're on your way.
How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your owner's manual will have the manufacturer's recommendation and, of course, your service advisor can tell you. It's typically every two years.
If you're not getting enough cool air you know something's wrong. Also, if you hear strange sounds when you turn the air on, there might be a problem with the compressor and you should get it checked out at . Replacing a bad A/C clutch in a is cheaper than waiting for it to ruin the compressor.
drivers need to be aware that there's one more thing that isn't directly related to air conditioning service, but does impact the quality of the air in your . And that's your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution and other impurities in the air that comes from the heater and air conditioner. The cabin air filter needs to be replaced when it's dirty. If you don't it'll start to smell. Not all vehicles have one, so ask your service advisor to check your cabin air filter at the same time they're doing your air conditioning service.