An annual service for your air conditioning will not only help prevent costly breakdowns - your well serviced system will save you money in fuel and give you confidence that any potential problems will have been spotted early and avoided.
The special refrigerant gas in a car air conditioning system creates ‘the cool’. This gas is compressed to a liquid via the compressor, raising its temperature and allowing the heat to be passed to relatively cooler surroundings outside the vehicle. This liquid then travels through the system, expanding into a gas at a far lower temperature. This is used to to cool the air which is to be circulated through your car. The warmed gas is then passed back to the compressor and the cycle continues.
Why do Car Air Conditioners need regular Servicing?
- The air con's compressor can seize up if the oil is left unchecked and unreplaced.
- Dirt and bacteria can clog the air filters, damaging performance and affecting air quality.
- Rubber seals can deteriorate and leak.
Why do Car Air Conditioners need a regas?
Leaking and evaporating gas means loss of pressure to the system. Without that pressure, the compressor needs to work extra hard to do its job. That extra work costs more energy, and that energy all comes out of your fuel bill. Gas will also degrade naturally, again leading toi a drop in pressure. A typical car will lose 20% of its coolant gas in its first two years.
For efficient running, the air conditioner's gas needs a complete recharge four years from the manufacture date, and again every two to three years after that. This makes sure the optimum pressure range is maintained.
Checking your air conditioning
Turn the conditioner to full cold and switch the system to "recirculate". After a couple of minutes there should be a distinct chill coming from the vents. Measure the temperature of that air and it should be around 6°C.
Winter use as a dehumidifier
Air conditioning can be used year-round, regardless of the temperature of the car heating. In winter the system will help condense moisture out of the air, reducing window misting. In an efficient modern car, the fuel consumption required for this should be unnoticeable. Even if you choose not to leave the AC on all the time, it's worth running it for at least 10 minutes per week to circulate the refrigerant and oil and keep the seals from drying out and leaking.