Car Air Conditioning and Vehicle Maintenance Tips
Car air conditioning is not only great for cooling your down in summer but also helps to demist the windows in winter. While most of us expect our car air conditioning to always work, it may stop functioning as well as it used to. As with many other components or parts, your car’s air-con also requires regular maintenance, which many motorists either ignore or don’t know about. The good news is that a car air conditioning regassing service is not an expensive or difficult job unless something has been damaged or broken. In this article, we look at the process involved, whether you can do it yourself, and everything else you need to know about a car air conditioning regas service.
What Happens During An Car Air Conditioning Regas Service?
During a car air conditioning regas, technicians remove the old refrigerant gas and replace it with new coolant gas so your air-con can blow cold air once more. When your air-con is not working as it should, a regas service should be the first thing to consider. A typical car air con regas shouldn’t take longer than an hour.
How Do I Know If My Car Air Conditioning Needs Regassing?
The first indication that your car’s air conditioner needs regassing is when the air from the vents is not as cool as it used to be or the cabin feels no different when the AC is turned off. If you can’t recall the last time the system was regassed, it’s probably time to have it done. Many service centres, like Elite Garages, would gladly perform a free air-con check so book yours today!
There may be other reasons why your car air conditioning is no longer working but a reputable technician can advise on any issues and make appropriate recommendations. One example is a leak in the system which may require further investigation and possible repairs. Some of the most common signs that you need to book an air con regas include
- damp, pungent, chemical or gas-type odours
- air con blows hot air
- the air con no longer switches on or off
Why Does My Car Air Conditioning Smell Bad?
The evaporator in your air-con system can be a great breeding ground for bacteria, mould and fungi. When this happens, you may notice a musty or “sweaty sock” smell when switching on the unit. With this particular problem, a simple air con recharge service won’t fix the issue and you may need to pay for an air-con debug. This process will decontaminate the system by killing any bacteria or mould.
How Often Does Your Air Con Need Regassing?
While there are varying opinions on the frequency of regassing, most vehicle manufacturers recommend performing it at least every two years. It doesn’t matter if you use your air-con a lot or hardly ever as the air-con gas continues to permeate. As such, an air con service every two years should keep the air-con gas at the optimum levels so you can enjoy the cool blast in summer and effective window demisting in winter.
What Happens If I Don’t Regas My Car Air Conditioning?
When your air-con system isn’t maintained, it will gradually become less effective. Your car will be intolerably hot during those summer heatwaves and take longer to demist the windows in the winter. It will also damage your car air conditioning system in the long run as, if it’s left unused, pipes could crack and components may seize up, leaving it unusable.
Why Recharge Your Car Air Conditioning System?
Besides keeping everyone cool in summer, there are several other reasons to perform an air-con regas. Interestingly, recharging your air-con can actually improve fuel economy. Remember, when refrigerant is low, the air-con works harder to cool the air and this extra effort results in using more fuel.
Furthermore, if you don’t want to spend money on expensive air conditioner components and repairs later, it’s a good idea to recharge regularly. Because the refrigerant in your air conditioner is so cold, it also cools down the air-con compressor. Without sufficient coolant, the compressor can get dangerously hot and is likely to cease.
We’ve already mentioned that air-con can help demist your windows in winter and to ensure it functions correctly, it’s important to turn on your AC throughout the year. This will help keep the system lubricated so there won’t be any hot air surprises when you need it most.
Is Car Air Conditioning Part Of My MOT or Service?
No, an air-con regas is not part of a service or an MOT as it’s considered a ‘nice-to-have’ feature rather than a critical component such as brakes or tyres. An MOT is a compulsory annual check to ensure a vehicle is safe to drive according to DVSA guidelines. MOT testers will not check whether your air-con is working.
At the same time, your car air conditioning is not part of a standard service schedule either. A car service helps keep your car in good running condition while extending its lifespan by replacing certain parts such as oil and air filters, spark plugs and other essential components. Some car manufacturers may provide a separate air conditioning service schedule which recommends a regas every two years.
How Soon After A Recharge Does Air Con Work?
With the new gas in place, you should notice a temperature difference almost immediately after switching on the AC. The new gas moving through the system will deliver plenty of cool air for some time to come.
Can I Regas My Car Air Conditioning System Myself?
While you can buy air-con regas kits, we would advise against it. Not only are they almost as expensive as paying an expert technician to do the job but if anything goes wrong, you are responsible for fixing whatever goes wrong which could be quite an expensive endeavour. Trained car air conditioning experts will also be better aware of how to check for leaks and other issues within the AC system. Safety is another concern as the refrigerant can cause painful freeze burns if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes.
What About Air-Con In Electric Cars?
The air-con system in electric vehicles (EVs) may be a little different compared to the AC in vehicles with internal combustion engines. With EVs, the AC pump is electric which is powered by the vehicle’s battery rather than an engine. Since it forms part of the EV high voltage system, any AC repairs should only be performed by trained technicians.
Is Air Con Different From Climate Control?
Yes, a car air conditioning system is different from climate control. A climate control system in a vehicle will automatically regulate the temperature by adjusting the AC or heating based on the user’s input. Based on the driver or passenger’s setting, the system will trigger the air-con or heating and once it reached the correct temperature, it levels off while keeping the temperature steady. The greatest benefit of climate control is that you don’t have to fiddle around with the switches and dials. to find the right temperature in the car.
Car Air Con Services Near Me
At Elite Garages, you can book a free air-con check where expert technicians will check for signs of leaks and make sure it’s safe and in good working condition. To avoid any serious issues, you must use your car’s air-con throughout the year, even in winter.
Most importantly, make sure you recharge your air-con at least every two years but keep an eye on it and book a free check if you suspect anything might be wrong. If you’re in the south and southeast of England and you are searching for car air con regas near me, you will find several Elite Garages in your area that can help.