Automotive air conditioning service is a term frequently used by auto mechanics. It could mean they are telling you to do maintenance work on your air conditioner. It might also mean your vehicle needs “air conditioning repair work”. It is important to understand what is recommended and why the shop is recommending it. In this article, we may abbreviate the term air conditioning as A/C, which is also common to see on auto shop repair orders. The purpose of this post is to share helpful information about your vehicles A/C system that can help save you money and avoid a system failure this summer when you need it most.
Why You Should Have an Air Conditioning Service
There are several reasons why servicing your auto air conditioning is important. The five main reasons are listed below:
- Avoiding an A/C failure when you need it most
- Saving money by catching a small failure before it becomes a bigger one
- Having work done by your repair shop that knows your vehicle’s history
- Identify subtle symptoms of A/C system weakness you might not be aware of
- Pinpoint air conditioning problems that could affect other systems on your car
Air Conditioning Services Vary
It should be mentioned that certified air conditioning technicians do not always agree on whether an automotive air conditioning service should be done. Some say it should be done to avoid a major expense in the future. Others say if it is working well, there is no need to do anything with it until it acts up.
At Tune Tech, here’s how we tend to think: Ask yourself how important a functioning auto air conditioner is to your vacationing family. Would the inconvenience and expensive of a major A/C system repair ruin your vacation?
Systems that function fine in mild temperatures may stop working under the extreme conditions of mid summer heat, especially if they are only slightly low on Freon. For this reason, we recommend your A/C system be serviced every few years. The year your vehicle was manufactured may affect how frequently we recommend services. Seals and hoses harden and become brittle with age making them more prone to leakage. Older vehicles should be checked more frequently than a vehicle only 3 to 4 years old. Additionally, the improved system components on newer vehicles seal better than those installed on older vehicles and may not need to be checked as frequently.
What Does an Air Conditioning Service Include?
Servicing usually refers to a procedure that checks all functions and components of the air conditioning system. It normally includes:
- Measuring temperature of air exiting the A/C vents
- Visual inspection of system components
- Movement of all A/C doors in the dash
- Verifying all electronic and mechanical controls are working
- Inspecting air conditioning compressor belt for wear
- Verifying Freon volume
- Verifying operation of all system fans
After a careful visual inspection of the A/C components, an efficient mechanic will use a thermometer to measure the air temp and verify airflow at each dash vent before doing anything else. What usually follows is checking that all doors and flaps move with adjusting dash temperature controls.
Checking the system to verify a proper Freon charge is usually done best by removing the existing Freon and measuring the amount removed. The shop then compares that amount to the volume specification for your car. If the system volume is down slightly, the tech will assume this is from normal leakage and will refill the system with the correct amount of Freon. When the Freon is low we reinstall the correct amount and only charge for the additional Freon along with the service fee.
Operation of the vehicle’s cooling fan is checked along with looking for restrictions of the air conditioning condenser located just in front of the radiator. Poor airflow can be the result of debris stuck in the fins or bent fins. Both conditions will reduce A/C cooling and can also cause cooling system overheating. An engine cooling system running at a higher temperature than it should is overheating and can affect cooling system hoses, engine performance, and even increase the temperature of the automatic transmission.
Don’t get stuck this summer with an air conditioning system problem. Contact us online or by calling 336-5315 to schedule an air conditioning service for the next time you come in for an oil change or other maintenance work. Our Tune Tech air conditioning mechanics are certified to properly maintain your vehicle’s air conditioning system so you don’t have to worry about keeping your family cool during the hot summer months.