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Spring is here: Time for your Car Air Conditioner Repair

Although the timing for this year’s spring has been interesting the signs of grass getting greener and flowers beginning to bud out of the ground let us know that spring will finally get here and that it’s closer than we think. We are ready to stop having to turn on the heat every morning for our car waiting for windows to defrost but there is one trouble you don’t want to realize all too late, and that is that your car’s AC system needs repair.

air conditioner, hot air

Some of the earliest signs that something is wrong with your car’s air conditioning system include:

  • No cold air/ blowing warm air
  • The air blowing out of the vents is an ambient temperature
  • A weird burning or unfamiliar smell
  • Or the air conditioning system operating loudly

These are signs that there is already something wrong with the air conditioning system and that you are in need of some sort of repair. This should be done as soon as possible. The AC system in a car can have a domino effect. Once one part is failing it can cause other parts to fail leading to costly replacement of parts. That is why getting your car’s air conditioning system checked in the spring before you begin running the fans at full blast.

Air Conditioning

Car’s didn’t always have air conditioning. The first car to receive a cooling system was in 1939 but it took almost 30 years before it was widely adopted in car manufacturing. by 1960 only 12% of cars were built with air conditioning. By 1969 54% of cars had air conditioning, and by 1970 it was a standard feature in almost all cars.

For decades, the automotive industry relied on the same refrigerant: R-12, commonly known as Freon. However, this seemingly innocuous substance had a dark side—it was damaging the ozone layer. Consequently, R-12 faced the ban hammer, and in its place emerged R-134a, the eco-conscious alternative mandated for all cars manufactured after 1996. But the story doesn’t end there. In 2012, a greener superhero arrived on the scene: R-1234yf. With a significantly lower global warming potential (GWP) compared to R-134a, it swiftly became the standard for refrigerant use. By 2022, a whopping 97% of new U.S. vehicles embraced this climate-friendly refrigerant. These advancements will help cars keep blowing cold air.

The Air Conditioning System

A vehicle’s air conditioning system operates through a network of intricate components. Here’s a breakdown of each part:

  • The Compressor: Think of it as the heart of your car’s AC system. Driven by a belt connected to the engine, the compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and sends it to the condenser.
  • The Condenser: Imagine this as a cooling station. The refrigerant, now in a liquid state, releases heat here. It’s like when you sip a cold drink on a hot day—the condenser cools down the refrigerant.
  • The Expansion Valve/Orifice Tube: This part allows the refrigerant to expand. As it does, it turns into a low-pressure gas, which makes it super chilly.
  • The Evaporator: Picture the evaporator as a cooling pad inside your car. Air blown over it by the blower fan gets colder. The evaporator absorbs heat from the cabin air, making it cool and refreshing.
  • The Return Line: The refrigerant cycles back to the compressor, and the whole process repeats. It’s a never-ending loop of heating and cooling the refrigerant

Remember, your car’s AC doesn’t create cool air from scratch; it separates the heat from the air leaving you only with cold refreshing air.

As you can see there is quite a bit that could go wrong in this system which is why it is important to have it checked every so often. One of the most common problems we see is parts wearing out and needing to be replaced, the refrigerant/ coolant needing to be “recharged” or replenished, or fixing refrigerant leaks. Sometimes you can use a leak detection kit, but if you have one problem there could be others which is why it is best to have a professional take a look under the hood to make sure nothing is missed.

Replacing the Cabin Air Filter

One thing you may want to check if you haven’t recently is the cabin air filter. While replacing it may not make your car air conditioning run cooler, it could make an impact on your experience in your car. Cabin air filters can get clogged which can restrict air flow and cause the air conditioning system to run less efficiently. In other words, your AC may be blowing air but you may not feel it if you need to replace your filter. This is often a very easy fix.

car air conditioning, car ac repairs

Need Repair

If you have noticed that the Air Conditioning system in your car isn’t running right or you are ready to bring it in for part of a routine check, give us a call. We can handle all car AC repairs from refrigerant leaks to replacing cooling fans. Don’t let yourself be caught in a hot car this summer.

 

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We Service All Makes and Models

We Specialize in Repair on 1996 and Newer Domestic and Asian Vehicles
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