In the heat of summer, driving around without air conditioning can be nothing short of a nightmare. In such a confined space, the summer sun beating down can make your car feel like an oven. Ensuring that the air conditioning in your car is running strong is crucial to keeping your summer journeys from burning you out. Just like any part of your car, the air conditioner needs regular maintenance and tune-ups. Let’s look at some ways you can maintain the air conditioner in your car to stay cool while on the move.
One of the easiest and most obvious steps to keep your car’s air conditioner running smoothly is cleanliness. A dirty or clogged air filter impedes airflow and will block cool air from reaching you inside the car. Check the air filter to see if it needs changing or cleaning and wash it with water and a mild cleaner. Once an air conditioner filter has become dirty, it loses its effectiveness. It is advised to change or clean your filter once every 6 months. If the filter is damaged, be sure to replace it as soon as you have the chance.
Excess moisture in the evaporator core can also cause mildew and odors. When possible, run the air conditioner for about an hour and then activate the defrost system to remove moisture from the system. If an air conditioner goes unused for a long period of time, odors can come from the vents once it is turned back on. This is caused by mold that forms due to moisture in the system. It might seem counterintuitive to run your heater during the hot summer, but this can help remove moisture and prevent mold from forming. Simply run your heater for 2-3 minutes or turn your air conditioner off and run the fan at full power 2-3 minutes before you arrive at your destination. This simple method can be effective in preventing bad odors coming from your air conditioner. Using the recirculation setting on your car air conditioner when possible can help it run stronger and more efficiently. It also prevents dust and polluted air from entering the system. The recirculation setting is particularly helpful in dry and dusty conditions. However, it is helpful to let fresh air in to remove stagnant air and moisture. If you continue to experience odors coming from the system, it may be necessary to have a professional inspect the system and clean the evaporator.
Another important element of a well operating car air conditioner is the refrigerant pressure. Hoses and seals can harden and break if they dry out. To prevent this from happening, run the air conditioner at the coolest temperature and fan speed at least for about 20 minutes once a month (even in the winter). Leaks or cracks in hoses and gasket seals can also compromise the coolant pressure. You can look over the hoses to see if they are in good condition or if they look dry and worn. Covering the hoses and gasket area with soapy water is an easy method for identifying any leaks. You will see bubbles forming around leaks as air or fluid escapes from the hoses or gaskets. You can also have a specialist check refrigerant pressure regularly to be absolutely sure.
Pay attention to any unusual sounds that come from the air conditioner when you turn it on. If it doesn’t sound right, then it’s not right. Unusual squeaking or squealing noises are indicators of problems with the belt drive, the compressor or loose components. Tuning in to your air conditioner can allow you to catch problems early on and have them fixed before they become more serious.
Take care of your car air conditioner and it will take care of you when you need it most. You can ensure a cool ride and prevent more serious issues with the air conditioner system by taking these simple steps. While we specialize in keeping you cool in your homes and offices, we also hope you stay cool and comfortable on your way between both.