Is your AC working properly?

08/10/18
Is your AC working properly?

It’s hot and the last thing you need is a malfunctioning car AC. When you notice a drop in the performance or cooling, it’s time to check things out. But this leaves many of us scratching our heads. Where should you start? The AC consists of a complex system of parts working together: evaporator, fan, compressor, condenser, drier and expansion valve. Yes, we are still talking about AC parts! Here a few things you should understand before heading on down to the mechanic for servicing.

Common Troubles

  1. The buildup of dirt and moisture is a major problem. This blocks the flow of air through the filter and condenser, preventing an adequate amount to pass over the cooling coils. Sometimes debris along with dust accumulates in the fan, hindering optimal performance.
  2. Another dilemma is low levels of refrigerant. It could be due to a leak in the joints of pipes or other parts.
  3. If you ignore regular AC maintenance, load builds up on the system and effects the compressor. As a complex component, it is also the most expensive to repair or replace.
  4. Sometimes you can detect a musty smell when you switch on the AC. This a sign of mold or bacterial growth, which can cause allergies, headaches and colds. Water could be collecting in the evaporator.
  5. A portion of the system is an electrical component. Many times, there are issues with the wiring. It is quite common for rodents to get under your car and chew it away!

Routine Service

  • Basically, servicing AC entails rigorous cleaning. Dirt needs to be removed from different components of the system.
  • The fan, located behind the dashboard, is dusted.
  • The condenser, depending upon the model of your car, is typically located below the radiator. It is washed with a high-pressure water jet. It may be necessary to clean tougher blockages with reagents and a brush.
  • Next is the air filter. There are two types that are available in the market: the paper one has to be replaced, but the wire mesh kind can be reused simply by washing and drying it properly.
  • The refrigerant is recycled in order to improve performance. While some cars can go 5 years without re-gassing, it is better to have it serviced every 2 years, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate. The cost varies depending on the model of your car but taking the time for maintenance will save the life of the compressor down the line.
  • The job of the evaporator is to absorb heat and change it into vapor, which is then compressed to cool air through the refrigerant. That is why you will see water dripping underneath your car if the AC is working fine. But if you don’t see any, there may a blocked pipe or faulty evaporator.
  • The AC is meant to recycle the cabin air. You get bonus points for cleaning the interior of the car as this will help to eliminate extra dust that is inside the car.