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Driving in hot weather can be made extremely uncomfortable if your car’s air con system stops working.

There could be many reasons for the problem, though often it’s a case of the refrigerant gas needing to be recharged. Fortunately, this is a quick and easy job.

What is air con re-gassing?

If the air coming from your air con vents isn’t as cool as it should be or if it feels the same as when the air con is switched off, then it’s likely that your air-con needs re-gassing.

Most air con systems will lose about 10 to 20% of refrigerant every one to two years.
To re-gas the system, the mechanic will remove the old refrigerant gas from your car’s air conditioning and replace it with new refrigerant. After this, the air coming from the vents should run cold again, if you set the air con to cool.

This whole process won’t take more than an hour to do. The mechanic will ensure that the lubricant used, and refrigerant levels, are set to your car manufacturer's recommendation to ensure best performance.

However, there could be other reasons why your air con has stopped blowing cold air, and these may need to be investigated.

Other vehicle air con problems

There are other reasons why your car’s air con can stop working. These include compressor or condenser failure, system leaks or problems with the radiator cooling fan for circulation.

Sometimes, malfunctions can just be down to lack of use of the air con system. If you don’t use your air con for six months, its capacity can decrease by up to 30%. That’s why it’s important to use it all year around.

Before an air con re-gas, the mechanic will inspect the system for any faults or leaks. This would cover temperature and refrigerant checks, as well as an inspection of the key components of your car’s air con including the compressor, condenser, drive belts and hoses.

It may be that there is a leak in some area. Once these checks have been carried out, repair work can be undertaken and then the system re-gassed.

Why you should regularly service your car’s air con

Ideally, you should service your car’s air conditioning system every two years – your owner's manual will give guidance on the specific requirements for your car.

Even in winter, it’s important to make sure your air con is working properly as it is more difficult to demist windows without it. Because the air coming from the vents is dry, it will help to take moisture from the air and keep your windscreen, windows and internal mirrors free from steam and frost.

If you haven’t run the system for a while, try turning it on full, cold for about ten minutes to allow the coolant to circulate through the system to lubricate the rubber seals and pipework.

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