Most Boise residents don’t think of having auto air conditioning service done during the cold winter months. We think of snow skiing or other mountain recreation activities, but sometimes during trips to the mountains you might find it a struggle to keep your windows from getting fogged up. Here are a few tips that can keep a small problem from becoming bigger.
The information that follows will answer some questions you might have on the topic and explain why winter auto air conditioning service is important to keep your defrosting and heating systems working well when they are needed most.
Why do my windows stay foggy in the winter?
The main reason the windows in your car seem to fog up during cold winter driving can be summed up in one word – moisture. Most people assume if the heater is warming their vehicle’s cabin air, it should also warm the windows and keep them clear. In reality, moisture that fogs the inside surface of your windows can be an indication your air conditioner is not working properly. And if you stayed comfortably cool running the A/C during the summer, you probably won’t suspect it as the cause of any problems.
The defrost dash setting, unlike the heater, runs with your car’s air conditioning compressor. Defrosting does two things: First, it directs large amounts of air directly onto the windshield and front side windows; Second, it allows the functioning compressor to remove moisture from the air that hits your windows. A weak compressor will struggle or fail to handle the increased moisture content of winter air.
Here’s another problem that contributes to foggy windows – dash controls that aren’t working right. The system’s electronics may fail to signal the defrost doors or flaps to move to the correct position, or the hardware may be damaged or broken resulting in a mechanical failure. Either of these conditions can result in persistent fog on windows.
Can I wait until spring to fix a problem with my air conditioning system?
You may already suspect you need auto air conditioning service if the system didn’t keep you cool during the hot summer months. After limping through the summer and fall seasons, you are now reading that the cause of your foggy winter windows could be from a problem in its A/C system. You know it will need repair but might wonder if it’s okay to wait until summer to take care of it. Here’s why that would be a mistake.
Over the previous several years, your air conditioner has probably had a normal but gradual leakage of Freon. When the Freon level gets low enough, the compressor will not turn on. That means even if you turn on the defroster, no moisture will be removed from the air because your air conditioning compressor is not running.
You might be tempted to think that annoying window fog is the only problem you have to deal with. In reality, while you delay the repair and the system becomes dormant, acid begins to form and build up internally. While not harmful to you, the corrosion eats away at parts within the system like the evaporator or condenser. Come spring, you’ll need more than auto air conditioning service to restore the Freon to the proper level. You’ll most likely need expensive repair or replacement of major A/C system components.
Like so many automotive repairs, putting off a minor repair frequently causes it to turn into a major repair that requires additional expense. Taking care of a problem as soon as possible may save you money.
What auto air conditioning service maintenance should be done during winter months?
Auto air conditioning service during winter months is usually confined to replacement of cabin air filters or serpentine belts that happen to fall due but not necessarily because its winter. A plugged cabin air filter will reduce airflow through vents and affect defroster and heater operation. Filter replacement is relatively inexpensive, running between $50 and $130 for most vehicles.
While bothersome, foggy windows are also unsafe as they interfere with your ability to see clearly while driving. If you’re noticing your windows seem to fog up and stay foggy even after the car is warmed and running, give us a call. Winter auto air conditioning service at Tune Tech Downtown can restore your system to proper working order.