This Summer don't let your car air condition ruined the drive, here are a few simple steps and checks to maintain the health of your car AC.
Tips For Maintaining Cars Air Conditioner
Although most the cars now comes equipped with an air conditioning system and their maintenance is often overlooked. Even if you leave your maintenance service to mechanics it will still be valuable to have some knowledge of how to perform basic maintenance. Or if you are akin to performing car AC repair by yourself a few tips can go a long way in better functioning of air conditioning system of your car.
Lets have a look to understand it better–
Compressor – It is relatively easy to find, it is driven by the engine through a V-Belt. There is a clutch at the front of the compressor, find the clutch wire and see if there is a fuse inline. Take down the rating and keep a spare in case of requirement. Check the Compressor clutch, if it is not engaging properly it will be unable to maintain the pressure causing hot air. It is easy to check, first turn on the AC and look under the hood of the car, then see if the centre of the pulley on the front of the compressor is turning or not, if not it means the clutch is not engaged. It could be because of a bad fuse or wiring problem or low refrigerant. Many car air conditioner problems arise from the compressor hence it is better to check it regularly.
Condenser – Located at the front of the car cooling system is the condenser, a hose connects it to the compressor. The condenser makes the refrigerant gas turn into liquid by absorbing heat at high pressure. The pressure in this hose and the valve may be as high as 270 psi and it causes faster deterioration. Be sure to check the hose and valve.
Receiver-drier – Follow the hose that comes out from the bottom of the condenser, you will find the receiver-drier which has a half inch viewing window near the inlet. Receiver-drier stores the refrigerant once it turns into liquid and a filter inside removes dirt and water. When the air conditioner is running you should see clear liquid inside, if it is milky in colour then you know there is water in the system. If there are bubbles or froth visible then there is air inside. It will be better to contact a service professional to clean it thoroughly.
Expansion Valve – In some cars, it is hidden behind a panel but normally one can find the expansion valve by following the hose from the outlet of the receiver-drier. Latest air conditioners use a thermostat connected to the expansion valve to regulate the cooling in the car by varying the amount liquid refrigerant sprayed into the evaporator. When the liquid refrigerant is sprayed on evaporator it converts it into a gas absorbing heat.
Evaporator – Its function is to absorb heat, not easily visible it is located inside the passenger compartment under the dashboard. It has a fan which blows air on the evaporator’s fins to help heat absorption.
Refrigerant – The formally used R-12 or Freon refrigerant was causing ozone depletion. Now a safer refrigerant R-134a is being used. Even though it is possible to recharge the refrigerant yourself, it is recommended to get it done by a trained service person.
Some easy tips for auto air conditioning and maintenance –
- One of the simplest tips to AC repair is to let it run for about ten minutes every week with the highest cooling and fan setting, it will help in maintaining coolant pressure and gas pressure in the compressor.
- It is ideal to replenish the gas in the AC every two years before the hottest months of the year. If the gas level is too low in your compressor then refrain from using it as it may cause compressor damage.
- Check the compressor drive belt for any sign of damage like cracks, hardening, and tension.
- Refrigerant fluid levels need to be checked and refilled if required.
- Some passengers may suffer from allergies and the air conditioning system may have harmful bacteria and fungus. Ozone machines are an ideal for cleaning the evaporator, cabin air filter, and the car interior. It is better to replace the cabin air filters every 12000 to 15000 km. New cabin air filters help in the efficiency of cooling, increases compressor life and keeps out dust and harmful particles.
- When not using air conditioning it is a good idea to keep the vents closed as this reduces the amount of moisture and dust entering the system. Also, when turning on the air conditioner make sure that the fresh air vent is closed.
- It is better to park cars in the shade as it will help in keeping the car temperature lower and put less pressure on the air conditioning when it is turned on. When starting the AC it is better to roll down the windows to allow the hot stale air to move out of the car by setting the blower to the maximum.
- When filling in the refrigerant do not overfill as it can detrimental to the air conditioning and will not improve the air conditioning.
- For carrying out auto AC repair be sure to refer to car AC manual provided by the car company.