Getting Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning Tuned Up for Hot Summer Weather
With lower fall, winter and spring temperatures, drivers seldom use their car air conditioner or think about this essential system. The end of spring signals the arrival of hot, sultry temperatures typical during the summer driving season. Annual vacations, an increase in road construction and additional fellow travelers mean more stop-and-go traffic as well as longer periods in the car. During the summer, car interiors can reach 130˚ Fahrenheit or more. As a result, it is important that your car’s air conditioning system be checked to ensure that it is ready to perform at its best to prevent a miserable, sweat-soaked driving experience.
With the air conditioner set on high, the compressor clutch should engage firmly one time. If the clutch clicks several times or cycles on and off quickly, this is a sign of low refrigerant levels. Another sign that refrigerant may be low is that the system does not adequately cool the vehicle. Running an air conditioning system that is low on refrigerant can cause extensive damage. An air conditioning system tune up can correct this problem and identify other areas that could cause the system to fail at a time when it is needed the most.
When the vehicle is taken to a trusted professional auto repair shop, the mechanic will perform an inspection to ensure that the system in operating properly. This includes a visual check of drive belts for rips, tears and excessive wear. Worn belts will be replaced. The mechanic will check the vent temperature. If the temperature is too low, the system will be recharged with refrigerant. The mechanic will use a tracer dye when recharging the system to locate leaks that may otherwise go unnoticed when the system is checked. The technician will take the steps required to fix any leaks. The cabin air filter will be inspected for dirt and clogs. The filter will be cleaned or replaced as necessary.
Even if there are no signs of a problem, a car’s air conditioning system should be checked annually. The cabin air filter should be checked every six months if the car is operated in an area with high levels of pollen, dirt and dust. Proper preventive maintenance ensures that a vehicle’s air conditioning system is ready for the demands of summer. It also extends the life of your system and reduces the risk for problems that could result in costly repairs.