How to Detect Car Air Conditioning Faults


– Car air conditioning: a delicate maintenance

– Car air conditioning service

– Detecting air conditioning faults yourself

– Car air conditioning maintenance costs

A vehicle must be maintained and serviced regularly to remain efficient, reliable, safe and low-emission. The same is true for a car air-conditioning system: you should know that its maintenance is essential to ensure its efficiency and protect your health.

Air conditioning provides evident comfort and even safety since it directly impacts the driver’s well-being and therefore driving.

Car air conditioning: a delicate maintenance

How air conditioning works

A car air conditioning system uses thermodynamics laws in the same way as your refrigerator.

The system cools warm air from outside using a refrigerant. To do this, the fluid passes through an evaporator and alternately changes from liquid to gas. The cold air is then injected into the passenger compartment.

Note: for each vehicle, the manufacturer indicates the quantity of fluid required for the air conditioning system’s operation.

The refrigerant used in car air conditioning is still mainly HFC-R134a. The use of all these components, which emit greenhouse gases, is seriously questioned. Government regulations have even taken up the issue:

Since 2011, it has banned charging the refrigerant HFC-R134a in new vehicles, which has a GWP (global warming power) of 1300.

– In the years to come, it plans to impose the use of low GWP fluids.

Car air conditioning professionals

Car air conditioning maintenance should be carried out by a professional for two crucial reasons:

The technical aspect: it is necessary to know how to replace the circuit’s various components if required.

– The environmental element: you must also know how to handle and treat the refrigerant. Indeed, changing and disposing of it requires special skills and an air conditioning charging station.

Car air conditioning service

Steps in the overhaul process

In addition to charging, car air conditioning servicing can include an overhaul, which consists of a check and adjustment or replacement of the 

– belts;

– hoses;

– electrical contacts;

– compressor, low-pressure switch;

– the absence of leaks after the adjustments.

Frequency of servicing

The manufacturer indicates the period at which he considers the complete overhaul should be carried out. On average, a complete overhaul should be carried out every 1 to 2 years. Unfortunately, gas is volatile:

– the quantity necessary for the proper functioning of the air conditioning is no longer sufficient after a certain number of hours of operation;

– It is, therefore, essential to refill it regularly.

Detecting air conditioning faults yourself

Be aware of the signs of weakness in your air conditioning system:

– The cold air no longer comes in as quickly and as freshly as it did initially.

– An unpleasant and unusual smell is coming from the air vents.

– Windscreen defrosting is slower and less effective.

– You notice water on the passenger seat (not to be confused with water running down the outside of the car when you startup, which is proof that the air conditioning is working correctly).

– Finally, operate all the controls one after the other (automatic, manual, up, down, etc.) and check that the air comes out correctly.

Remember: it is customary to hear a sharp, dry noise when your air conditioning is switched on.

Cost of maintaining a car air conditioning system

Despite the democratization of car air conditioning, since it is present in the entry-level range for many cars, the air conditioning service’s price remains relatively high. Whether dealers, car centres or car repairers, approved professionals must display the service’s cost and specific content.

Before choosing the professional to carry out your car’s air conditioning maintenance, it is advisable to ask for several estimates. This will also allow you to compare the cost of labour.

Please, remember to share your experience in the comment section below.

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