The UK has certainly felt the heat over the last few weeks and perhaps a touch of ‘Déjà vu’? Last year we also had some warm weather and many of the same questions about air conditioning. While many may have predicted the heat, weather is a fickle mistress and often difficult to read. At least when it comes to MOT’s, full services, tyre checks and car air conditioning, we know what to do.

Whether you’re a business person traveling for work or a student going to and from university, you need comfort. Air conditioning that blows hot air in summer is as useful as a hair dryer blowing cold air. Imagine going to gym and then shower to cool off only to drive back to class hotter than before. Getting your air con serviced or recharged is not overly expensive and, in this heat, certainly worth it.

If you have car air conditioning but don’t know much about it, keep reading as we share our expert insights. We’ll look at clear signs that your air conditioning needs attention as well as a few incredibly interesting benefits.

How do I know when my air conditioning needs a service or recharge?

The gas, or refrigerant, in your air conditioning unit is essential for the system to work effectively. The cold air in your car comes from the refrigerant flowing around the air con system. This process involves continually shifting states from gas, to liquid and back to gas again. As a result, some of the refrigerant filters through the system each year. Less gas means less cool air which is why refilling it every few years will keep it in good condition.

There are other reasons why air conditioning stops working but low gas is the most common and the easiest fix. If it still blows hot air after recharging, there is probably a leak in the pipes and the refrigerant is evaporating. Here are four major red flags that could suggest your unit needs replacing or repairs.

No Longer Blowing Cool Air

The most obvious cause for concern is that there is a noticeable loss in the overall cooling capability. As previously mentioned, the air conditioning system operates through circulating pressurised refrigerant. When the amount of gas gets too low, it will eventually start affecting the operation of the system. You may notice that the air is not blowing as cold as before or not blowing cold air at all.

A Bad Smell From The Air Conditioning Unit

If you notice a bad smell coming from your air con once turned on, your system may be failing. The bad smell could indicate mould growing inside the system. You should never ignore this problem as breathing in mould is very unsafe for humans. It could also cause a number of allergic reactions and other respiratory problems.

Air Conditioning Making Strange Noises

Most of us know what a squealing fan belt sounds like and that it is not a good sign. The same applies to hearing strange noises coming from under your bonnet when turning on your air con. A normal sounds should be the fan blowing cool air and not a banging or rattling sound. This is a telltale sign that something is wrong. These noises could be directly related to your car air conditioning system while grinding or grating might indicate issues with your car’s fan. Whatever strange noises you hear, it’s best to get it checked before it breaks completely.

Using a professional, friendly, family-owned service centre like Elite Garages will certainly put your mind at ease. Take a look at some of our online customer reviews and testimonials for added peace of mind.

Visible Signs Of Leaks

A more serious indication that your car air conditioning unit needs a recharge is visible signs of refrigerant leakage. If you see a greasy film on any of the air con components or fittings, or pools of refrigerant underneath the vehicle, your unit is leaking. This means that your car is losing refrigerant and will continue to leak until the system no longer functions.

Refilling a unit generally indicates the loss of refrigerant which means there is a possible leak somewhere in the system. If you suspect that your air conditioning may need a recharge, first have the system inspected to ensure that the recharge will in fact solve the problem. There is no point in adding refrigerant if it all leaks within a short period of time.

How long does it take to recharge or service my car air conditioning?

This process can take up to an hour. It involves completely removing the old gas and refilling the unit with fresh refrigerant. At Elite Garages, we also offer our customers an optional extra air sanitizer for £10. This antibacterial clean removes any nasty smells and harmful bacteria which can build up in your system and the vents.

How much does it cost to recharge my air conditioning?

While prices from service centres may differ slightly, our price is £59.99 + Vat which includes the following:

  • Vacuum test for leaks prior to the re gas.
  • Fresh system oil
  • Recharge the refrigerant to the recommended levels
  • Check the operation of the system
  • Full visual inspection which checks the temperature and looks for any leaks

We provide unmatched expertise and exceptional customer service. If you’re concerned about budget, we offer incredibly competitive prices with no hidden costs and full transparency.

How often should I recharge my car air conditioning?

While opinions on this vary, most vehicle manufacturers recommend every two years. This applies whether or not you use your air con every day or not at all. Regardless of how it is used, refrigerant will continue to permeate over time so a top-up is necessary.

We know how daunting it can be to take your car for a service but you are in great hands with Elite Garages. Our staff are trustworthy, knowledgeable and provide expert advice, putting your best interest first. We always keep our customers informed and will never do any work unless you give us consent.

When you are ready, get in touch with us for more information on air con servicing, prices and more. You can also book your vehicle for an MOT, a full service or tyre check among many other services we offer.

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