The summer months are officially here and hot weather has already settled in through much of the country. That means that owners are clicking on their vehicles’ air conditioning systems for the first time this season. Air conditioning systems are specifically designed to be largely maintenance free, but small issues can grow into big problems without regular checks. That’s why many experts recommend having your vehicle’s systems examined twice a year to make certain everything is in top working order.
Most air conditioning systems can function properly for well over 160,000 kilometres without needing a serious overhaul. But that’s only true so long as a qualified service individual makes sure everything is running smoothly.
These twice annual checks are a way to ensure that the air conditioning is not just cooling, but that it’s actually cooling properly.
That means running a few quick checks. Most air conditioning exams start by simply measuring the temperature of the air coming from the vehicle’s vents. Mechanics use specially calibrated thermometers designed just for this task and check the results against the operating parameters for your vehicle. Technicians also look for any leaks that may lead to the slow degradation of your system’s performance, and they check the condition of the belt that runs the air conditioning compressor.
If everything is operating properly and no visual problems are spotted, the climate control is given a clean bill of health. If the air temperature is too high even at the coldest setting, the technician will then move to the second stage of the check-up by examining the refrigerant pressure in the system. This is usually as simple as hooking up a special pressure gauge and reading the results with the compressor on and off. Typically, if an A/C system isn’t functioning at optimum capacity, the refrigerant levels are too low. If the pressure readings fall below the recommended levels for your vehicle, chances are there’s a leak somewhere in the system.
From there, it’s as simple as repairing the leak and filling the refrigerant to the proper pressure levels.
In some areas of the country where it can be very humid, these routine system checks can also detect when mould has formed in the vehicle vents. If caught early, the fix is an easy one that simply involves using a special spray in the ductwork. Left unchecked however, this problem can become a much more serious one that could require more time and money along with the replacement of system components.
Though your vehicle’s air conditioning system may not require frequent attention, routine maintenance is a key factor in keeping the cabin comfortable and your bank account safe from big repair bills. A routine examination by your dealer’s certified service personnel will ensure that your vehicle’s air conditioning system stays in top shape for years to come.