How to Maintain Your Car’s Air Conditioner

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What you can do for car a/c maintenance and what should be left to a trained professional? Our car air conditioners become more important as summertime approaches, especially in the southern regions where the humidity may occasionally be intolerable.

Most people with a little mechanical skill can complete a few visual inspections and a few manual operations. Here are a few tips to ensure you know your air conditioner is prepared to combat the summertime heat on the road.

Checking The A/C System And Maintaining It

During the months when air conditioning isn’t available, cars operating in cooler northern areas need to operate their air conditioners for roughly 10 minutes each time. By circulating the oil throughout the system, this will keep the seals lubricated and stop them from drying out (which would cause the Freon to leak out.) Additionally, regular use of the air conditioner will help to dry up the air chambers and lessen the possibility of mold and fungus forming there and producing foul odors (or worse). Read : no air conditioning car

In addition to just operating the system on a regular basis, you should examine your air conditioner to catch issues early. Just almost everyone can perform this. The A/C condenser, which is situated in front of the radiator, is where we begin our under-the-hood investigation.

Freon is converted from a gas to a liquid in the condenser (it condenses). Anything that may prevent air from passing through the condenser, like a clogged insect screen, must be removed. The efficiency of the air conditioner will decrease if the condenser is constrained. With a garden hose fitted with a high-pressure nozzle, the condenser is simple to clean.

Engine Fan and Fan Belt Inspection

Checking the engine fan, which might be mechanical or electrical, is the next thing on our list. When an air conditioner is turned on, any electric cooling fan that is installed to the radiator must always be working.

If the fan is not working, the system may experience abnormally high pressures that can break system hoses and leak Freon and oil. This can happen if the fan is not functioning. One electric fan only has to be operating when the air conditioning system is on in certain systems that have two of them.

When you are driving your car and notice that the cold air coming from the air ducts rises significantly when the engine is idle, it is likely the cooling fan is not working.

If you have a mechanical clutch fan with a thermostat in the center, the air is supposed to tighten up and spin faster as it goes past the condenser and the radiator warms up. You may do a quick test to check the condition of the fan clutch.

Reach inside and manually turn the fan while the engine is still cold and off. The fan ought to rotate freely, and that is exactly what it ought to do. As you rotate the engine, you should encounter resistance or drag.

You probably have a faulty fan clutch if it is loose and spins freely while the engine is heated. As mentioned in the previous sentence, if the air coming from the air ducts is chilly when driving but heats up significantly when the car is idling, you probably have a bad clutch fan.

The next step is to visually inspect the fan belt. Look for fractures on the belt’s underside. If cracks are discovered, the belt has to be changed. To avoid applying too much pressure to the components being driven by the belt on older automobiles, a belt tension gauge is required while changing the belt.

These driven things may prematurely fail as a result of this, but this is not an issue with more recent cars since they have spring-loaded belt tensioners that apply the proper amount of tension to the belt.

Checking Operation

Start the engine, set the fan speed switch to the maximum setting, and the temperature control to the coldest setting. A clutch that will engage to spin the internal components is located on the front of the air conditioner compressor. You should be able to drive pulley turning together and see the clutch if you take a close look at the compressor. It is common for the clutch to turn on and off around every 20 to 30 seconds. When the clutch abruptly turns on and off every few seconds, the system likely needs more Freon.

What You Do Need A Professional For

10% to 15% of the Freon in air conditioning systems might be lost annually, well, this is where you should get a qualified expert’s assistance. There is a specific amount of Freon that has to be in every air conditioning system. Typically, a tag may be found on the radiator housing’s top, the hood’s bottom, or the chamber housing the system evaporator.

For the system to operate effectively and properly, the kind and required quantity of Freon are listed on this tag in pounds and ounces. Because oil is carried along when freon leaks, you can frequently see the leak when it occurs. A leak is likely present if greasy or black residue is visible on fittings or hoses. Other methods of locating leaks include using an electrical leak detector or a dye that detects leaks.

It is not a good idea to just add more Freon to a system if it is only low on it. There is no way to determine how much Freon is already in a system, and if too much is added, the compressor might be harmed or excessively high pressure could lead to hose ruptures. The proper approach to recharge an air conditioner is to empty it completely, start over, and add the precise amount specified on the tag described before.

DIY Recharge Kits?

The DIY recharge kits available at most parts stores should be avoided. You must keep in mind that an air conditioner may not be functioning for other reasons besides the depletion of Freon.

What would happen if the system’s issues weren’t caused by low Freon alone? The compressor may be destroyed if Freon is introduced to an already-full system because liquid Freon will enter it, or the system hoses may rupture. That is all not good.

Is Dripping Water A Sign?

You can see water dripping from the vehicle’s undercarriage while the air conditioning system is running. This is completely normal and is condensation from the evaporator that has been removed from the passenger compartment.

Water running in on the passenger-side floor rather than beneath the car is a sign that the condensation drains could be blocked. Where water has been standing for a while, fungus and mold might develop, which can clog the drain port or the hose leading outside. Most of the time, the vehicle’s undercarriage will need to be cleansed of this.