Car Air Conditioner Maintenance
by Jamie Ruf
How to ensure a long, trouble-free operation of your car's air conditioning system
Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job.
Small leaks in the vehicle’s air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well.
Keepin Cool recommends that you regularly check your vehicles air conditioner system.
The obvious faults which are associated with an Air Conditioning systems breaking down are;
- The drive belt tension
- Blocked air flow through the Condenser and Radiator
- Visible signs of Refrigerant oil stain at the compressor, hoses, pipes or fittings.
- Loose or faulty compressor mounting brackets
- Service port caps missing
Anything beyond this visual inspection then requires a full Air Conditioning Service. Only a fully qualified air conditioning technician can carry out this service. Keepin Cool is a certified air conditioning repairer and can carry out all necessary repairs to get your air vehicles conditioner working to its optima performance Check out our license at Australian Refrigeration Council
Tips For Maintaining A Car Air Conditioner
Running the air conditioner once a week for 10 minutes will maintain the gas pressure. This prevents hardening of the hoses and compressor seals failure. Turn the air conditioner to its coolest setting and highest fan speed. Run the ‘defrost’ mode for five to ten minutes to clean out accumulated moisture. This prevents mildew and prevents that dirty wet cloth odour in the system.
Remember your air conditioning system does not only cool your vehicle but in addition one of its primary functions is to remove the humidity from the cabin. So it is good practice to use your air conditioner in winter to keep your windscreen free of fog which impairs your visibility.
By allowing all car windows to remain closed, even on the hottest days, the aerodynamics of the car remain at optimum, keeping fuel consumption low and exterior noise to a minimum, increasing safety to the driver and passengers.
You may not be aware that over 10% of air-con gas permeates from the air-con system every year, which means that it may not work as well as it should. This is why car manufacturers recommend your Air-Con system is recharged with gas and lubricant every 2 years.
It is good practice to get a full air conditioning service at least every two years. Try and do this before the hotter month’s start, as this will ensure that you are not caught out by a sudden heat wave at the start of the season.
This will enable you to keep ahead of any system faults or potential compressor failure.
A poorly maintained system operating on a low amount of oil and gas will reduce your compressors capacity to run efficiently costing you extra in fuel.
Maintaining A Healthy State For Your Car Air-Conditioning
A car air-conditioning system can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and fungus. This is particularly important for sufferers of asthma or allergies.
At Keepin Cool we have the latest Ozone machine to carry out this service we can treat the cooling evaporator also the cabin air filter and entire car interior, killing all the bugs and leaving your car air conditioning smelling sweetly.
This treatment is designed to protect you and your passengers and also help to remove the musty odour that can be evident from the air conditioner vents. For more information click here
What Is Included In A Car Air Con Service?
Keepin Cool Auto Air Conditioning specialist offer the most comprehensive Inspection available of your vehicles air-conditioning system
Items that need to be checked to interpret operating functions and diagnosis prior to a car air conditioner service include:
- Static & operating pressure checks
- In-car delivery temperature measurement
- Visually inspect the air conditioning compressor drive belt for cracks or damage
- Check the operation of the air conditioning compressor and other air conditioning components condenser, pipes and hoses
- Visually inspect accessible components for leaks or damage with an electronic leak detector
- Vacuum test the system
- Cleaning condenser fins
- Check for bad smells odour’s in vehicle
- Recover refrigerant from the system (record gas amount and oil recovered )
Re-Gas Service Procedures
- Replace Schrader valves
- Replace receiver drier filter
- Add required amount of refrigerant compressor oil
- Add UV dye for leak detection
- Evacuate system 20mins to remove moisture
- Charge system with recommended refrigerant type and capacity
- Perform leak detection procedure (UV lamp and electronic refrigerant sniffer)
- Performance test of A/C system
- Record pressure readings and temperature readings
Protecting The Environment
Refrigerant gas like R12 and R134a are extremely damaging to the ozone layer and any gas that is irresponsibly released into the atmosphere by owner's or backyard mechanics can harm the environment and contribute to global warming.
Keepin Cool offer's a Mobile Recovery/Disposal Service for those who are doing their own air conditioning repairs.
It is illegal to release Refrigerant gases into the Atmosphere. The penalty for this runs into several Thousand Dollars.
By law, refrigerant gas R12 and R134a must be reclaimed and sent to bodies such as Refrigerant Reclaim Australia to be destruction by special methods saving our ozone.
It is Law now that anyone that works on Automotive Air Conditioning systems throughout all States and Territories of Australia must have a Refrigerant Handling Licence.
As a result a Licenced Automotive Air Conditioning Workshop must display their Trading Authorisation and Refrigerant Handling Licences at all times see Australian Refrigeration Council for more information.