Most cars now have air conditioning, but how many of us service our air-cons regularly?
With regular maintenance, your air-con will stay refreshed and operate at a consistent level. But if you ignore it, it will start to lose its efficiency. If you find the air coming from your vents if not as cool as it once was or the temperature in the car stays the same when the air-con is turned off, it’s probably time to re-gas the system.
What does re-gassing mean?
When you re-gas an air conditioning system, you take out the old refrigerant gas and replace it with new refrigerant. This will enable your air con to run cold again.
If you don’t bother to re-gas, your air-con system will gradually become less efficient. Not only does this make the car stifling in hot weather, it will also take ages to demist the windows.
In the long-term, failure to re-gas can cause your pipes to crack and other parts to seize up.
How frequently do you need to re-gas your air-con?
Most people will know when it’s time, as the air will stop blowing as cold. A manufacturers recommendation is usually about two years.
At the same time, you may want to change the cabin filter and have an anti-bacterial clean to stop musty smells coming from the vents. Dust and dirt build up over time can cause bacteria to grow – if this has happened, you may detect a mildew-like smell when you turn the air-con on.
Other air-con issues
If you hear a rattling or banging coming from your air con, it could be an indication that your condenser or fan belt is worn out or dirt is clogging the system. You may also notice condensation on the dashboard, or the cold air takes longer to come out.
If you have no air coming out or the flow is weak, you may have a leak in the system. Or it could be caused by a more serious problem such as a compressor malfunction. Parts in the air-con system made of rubber can decomposes over time due to contact with heat and moisture. This causes seals and hoses to leak, and refrigerant is lost.
Condensation, particularly from the dashboard, may be an indicator that something is wrong with your air con. If there’s water dripping from your vehicle, it could be a sign that a hose is blocked somewhere in the system. This can cause damp in the interior of your car.
Is it time to get your air conditioning serviced?
Most air-con systems will lose about 10 to 20% of refrigerant every one to two years. Generally, a simple service and re-gas is all that’s required to keep everything working efficiently.
It’s inexpensive and will help you avoid costly repairs and assist with fuel efficiency.
Would you like us to take a look at your vehicle’s air-conditioning system?
Foster & Heanes offers car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles including classic and vintage cars. We can arrange free collection and delivery if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.