As the hot summer months continue, it is important to keep your car’s air conditioner functioning optimally. Perform these preventative maintenance tips every two weeks throughout the summer to keep from having to have your car’s AC serviced.
- Do a simple test of the air conditioner to be sure it is working properly. Turn on the AC while the car is running. Put the flow setting on fresh air (not recirculated). You should feel cold air blowing out of the vents into the car. The air should not start cold and turn warm or blow warm air intermittently. Then, change the air pressure settings to see if the airflow changes accordingly. Open and close each of the vents to be sure that all of them are blowing out air. Listen for any unusual sounds coming from the AC. Finally, smell the air coming out of the vents for any strange odors that could indicate a leak.
- Clean all the carpeting and mats in your car. Dirt and grit from inside the car can get into the AC duct and clog it. Vacuum the carpeting, spray it with a carpet cleaner, and scrub it with a hard-bristled brush. Rinse with water and pat dry with clean towels. The car mats can be removed and cleaned with warm water and some laundry detergent.
- Check the AC filter. The filter catches carbon and dirt particles to make sure the air inside your car doesn’t become polluted. If the filter has debris built up inside, it will no longer function properly. Cleaning an AC filter requires removing it and using an air compressor with the right amount of pressure. If you are not able to do this properly, having the filter replaced is a relatively inexpensive solution.
- Look under the hood at the AC compressor. If the air pressure is normal but the air coming out of the vents is warm, there might be a problem with the compressor. Visually inspect the compressor clutch to see if it is engaging properly. The compressor is usually located towards the front of the engine, just inside the grill of the car. The tension on the belt of the compressor should be tight. If it is loose, your car needs a new compressor belt.
- Check for any leaks in refrigerant. Look for any oily residue on the hoses that attach the components of your car’s AC. If you find any oily spots indicating a leak, you will need to hire a professional to repair it.
- Check for freezing. If your car’s AC blows cold air initially but then the air stops being cold after a while, this could indicate freezing of the system components. This can only happen if moisture has gotten into the AC’s system, indicating faulty hoses, pipes, or seals. If this is the case, bring your car to a mechanic to perform a full leak check of the AC.
If you have found any problems with the functioning of your car’s AC, give Virginia Auto Service a call today at 602-266-0200 or schedule a visit with us online at your convenience.