Air con has become a very relied on component in almost all modern cars. As well as being particularly useful in the warmer months to keep cool, it is also useful in winter months to demist window screens. However, not that many car drivers are aware of the best ways to maintain their air cons, instead they wait until the system breaks to get it fixed. This can be very inconvenient as you may have to go a certain amount of time without any cooling system.
An air conditioning check is not part of your MOT. The DVSA guidelines only set out what is deemed to be critical to the safe running of the vehicle and air con did not make the cut. So do not expect your air con refrigerant to be refilled when you pick your car up. Air con checks are also not part of the standard service schedule, however, many manufacturers provide a separate air con service which will recommend a regas every 2 years. If you don’t want your aircon to break down unexpectedly then it would definitely be worthwhile to get this service. AP Autocare offers a car air conditioning service in Bristol so if you are in the area and require car air conditioning service in Bristol contact us on 0117 963 8916.
Refrigerant is the name of the gas which powers the air con system. It needs to be refilled regularly in order for your air con to work. This gas travels to the condenser when the air con is switched on. Fresh air from outside the vehicle passes over the condenser which causes the temperature of the gas to drop rapidly and it liquefies. The liquid enters a drier which removes impurities before reaching a thermal expansion valve. The driver is able to control the temperature because the liquid flow can be limited through the valve. Evaporation coils convert the liquid into vapour form before being blown into the cabin as cool air. The process starts again with the refrigerant returning to the compressor in its original gas form.
Recharging the refrigerant in your air con system regularly will reduce the chances of anything going wrong. Low refrigerant is the most common reason aircon stops working and it is easy to fix. It could end up being expensive later on if you leave it and then need to pay for new parts and repairs. If the system runs out of gas it will start to blow out hot air which is obviously not effective in keeping the car cool. The refrigerant is also extremely cold so plays the role of stopping the compressor from getting dangerously hot and failing. Having a full tank of refrigerant increases fuel efficiency because less energy is needed to produce cold air. All these reasons prove that recharging your car’s air con system regularly will save you money and stress.
We recommend an air con service every two years to recharge the refrigerant and check for any damages which need repairing.
The recharging procedure involves removing all the existing refrigerant and any moisture from the system before replacing with a new refrigerant. First, a pressure test should be carried out to ensure that there are not any more serious issues, such as a leak, which could lead to a waste of gas. If the results show little or no gas left in the system then this is an indication that something may be wrong. If there are no problems, then a specialist vacuum pump is used to remove the old refrigerant and impurities from the system. The manufacturer will have recommended a volume and type of gas and lubricant which will then be injected back into the air con system. This process takes about 45 minutes and the air con will be ready to use immediately. Contact AP Autocare to book a service or find out more.
It is likely that the reason your air con is blowing out hot air is due to low refrigerant. However, if it has been replaced recently then there may be more serious issues such as: broken pipes, a leak in the condenser and evaporator, or a faulty compressor. If you live in the Bristol area then bring your car into AP Autocare, our specialist mechanics will get to the route of the problem.
If when you turn your car’s air conditioning on you are receiving a foul odour, then you probably need a service which will debug the system. Bacteria, mould, and fungi often build up in air con systems due to the perfect conditions created by the evaporator. This can produce a bad smell when switched on and, in severe cases, could cause illness and respiratory problems when spores from the bacteria are blown into the car and inhaled. The system needs to be decontaminated which can be done easily by out mechanics at AP Autocare, Bristol.
On a warm summer's day, many of us have switched between having the car windows open and air con off, to winding up the windows and switching the air con on, trying to work out which is most effective at cooling the car. If fuel efficiency is important to you, then there are a few more factors to consider. The compressor in the air con system requires energy from the engine to do its job. Therefore, when the air con is turned on, you will be using more fuel. However, when travelling at speed with the windows open, the vehicle may experience a ‘drag’ so more fuel will be needed to maintain the pace. If you want optimum fuel efficiency, then we recommend windows down at low speed and air con on at high speeds. This theory also works well when it comes to the bluster and noise which is present when the windows are down and only increases with speed.
If you are experiencing any problem with your air con and live in the Bristol area, then it is well worth getting in contact with our specialist mechanics. AP Autocare offers a wide range of services and are always happy to help. Common air con areas we regularly deal with include:
For car air conditioning in Bristol contact us now.
Published: Thursday 12th July 2018