When Should You Service Your Car Air Conditioning?
As we head into the warmer season, temperatures start rising and that means making sure you have a fully functioning car air conditioning system. After all, no one wants to be stuck in a hot and stuffy car on a road trip or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But when should you service your car air conditioning? How often is too often, and how long can you go without AC maintenance?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how to keep your car air conditioning in excellent condition.
Why Is Air Conditioning Maintenance Important?
Before diving into the specifics of when to service your car air conditioning, let’s talk about why it’s important in the first place. There are several reasons why regular maintenance is crucial, including the following:
- Improved performance: A well-maintained air conditioning system will cool your car more quickly and effectively, making for a far more comfortable driving experience.
- Increased lifespan: Regular maintenance can help prevent major issues from developing, which can extend the lifespan of your car air conditioning unit.
- Better air quality: Your car’s air conditioning system can collect dust and debris over time, which can reduce air quality. Regular maintenance can help keep your system clean and running smoothly. At Elite Garages, you can also add a special antibacterial air sanitiser from £10.
- Cost savings: Addressing small issues before they become major problems can save you money in the long run.
When Should You Service Your Car Air Conditioning?
So, when should you service your car air conditioning? The answer depends on several factors which we’ve summarised below:
- The age of your car: Older cars may require more frequent maintenance than newer models.
- How often you use your air conditioning: If you live in a hot climate or frequently use your air conditioning, you may need to service it more regularly.
- The manufacturer’s recommendations: Check your car’s owner manual for specific guidelines on when to service your car’s air con.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have the air con serviced every two years. This will help ensure that any small issues are addressed before they become major problems.
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Signs Your Car Air Conditioning Needs A Service
While regular maintenance is important, there are also signs to look out for that may indicate your air conditioning system needs service sooner. These include:
- Reduced cooling power: If your car air conditioning system isn’t cooling the interior as quickly or effectively as it used to, it may be time for an air con regas or maintenance.
- Strange sounds: If you hear any unusual sounds coming from your air conditioning system, such as hissing or rattling, it’s a sign that something may be wrong.
- Unpleasant odours: If your air con is producing a foul odour, it could be a sign of mould or bacteria growth within the system.
- Leaks: If you notice any leaks or puddles around your car’s AC, it’s important to have it inspected as soon as possible.
What About The Cabin Air Filter?
A cabin air filter filters the air that enters your vehicle’s cabin through the heating and AC system, removing dust, mould spores, pollution and pollen. It’s important for maintaining healthy air quality inside your vehicle. Eventually, the filter will become clogged and impact air quality at which point it needs replacing.
How Often Should You Replace Your Cabin Air Filter?
In addition to regular car air conditioning maintenance, it’s important to replace your car’s cabin air filter. This will help ensure that your system is running efficiently and that the air quality inside your car is at its best.
The answer to how often you should replace the cabin filter varies depending on the make and model of your car and how often you use your air con. In most cases, it’s a good idea to replace your filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. You may also notice the following:
- Reduced air flow when climate control systems are switched on
- Lingering unpleasant odours
- Increasing dust settling on vehicle surfaces
What Type Of Refrigerant Is In My Car?
The type of refrigerant used in your car depends on the make, model and the year manufacture. However, the EU implemented a new directive in January 2017 which requires all new cars to only use the 1234YF air conditioning gas with a global warming potential (GWP) of less than 150 instead of the R134A which has significantly higher GWP rating of 1430. This means it is 1,430 times the environmental impact than carbon dioxide.
In order to decrease the harmful effects on the environment, a different gas called HFO-1234YF had to be found. It is known for emitting 98% fewer pollutants that contribute to climate change than the old gas, R134A. If you require an air conditioning regas using 1234YF for your vehicle, Elite Garages has the necessary equipment and knowledge to provide the appropriate service.
How Often Should I Regas or Recharge My Car Air Conditioning?
Vehicle manufacturers generally recommend getting an air conditioning recharge every 1-2 years, although you can refer to your owner’s manual for specific recommendations. While some units may require less frequent recharging, it’s still important to periodically check your air conditioning, particularly before the summer and winter seasons.
The amount of time it takes for a car air conditioning regas can range from 30 minutes to an hour. However, the duration is not fixed and depends on the diagnostic results. The process involves a comprehensive inspection of the system, as well as the removal of the old gas before it gets replaced with new refrigerant.
Can You Service Your Car’s Air Conditioning System Yourself?
While there are some basic maintenance tasks you can perform on your own, it’s generally best to leave more complex tasks to a professional. This is because air conditioning systems can be complex and may require specialised tools and knowledge to repair.
However, there are a few things you can do to keep your air conditioning system running smoothly between garage appointments. These include:
- Running your air conditioning system regularly, even in the winter, to prevent the seals from drying out.
- Keeping the area around the air conditioning unit free of debris and dust.
- Changing your air conditioning filter regularly.
Car Air Conditioning At Elite Garages
At Elite Garages, our technicians will perform a vacuum test on your car air conditioning system to check for any cracks or damage that might lead to leaks. If they identify any issues, they will suggest recommended repairs and provide you with a no obligation quote. We will only proceed with repairs upon your approval.
Don’t put off checking your car air conditioning this year and book a free air con check at Elite Garages today. With service centres located across the south and south east of England and rave customer reviews, we’re here to help with all of your automotive needs.
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To keep your car air con in optimal condition, it is recommended to have the system serviced regularly. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend servicing your air conditioning every two years or 30 000 miles, whichever comes first. However, this may vary depending on the age of the unit and how heavily it has been used.
Car air conditioning problems can be difficult to diagnose without the right tools and expertise. If you suspect there is an issue with your car’s AC, it is best to take it to a professional vehicle technician who has the experience and tools necessary to accurately assess and repair the problem.
Common car AC problems include low refrigerant levels, blocked condenser or evaporator coils, a faulty compressor and damaged wiring or hoses. To identify the root cause of the problem, technicians will typically start by checking for any possible leaks.
They will also check for proper refrigerant levels and inspect the compressor and other components for signs of wear and damage. If necessary, they may also conduct a dye test to reveal any hidden leaks that cannot be seen on the surface.
When checking your air con, you should first do a visual inspection. Look for signs of wear and tear and make sure all parts are properly connected and secured. Check the external unit and fan to ensure they are free from debris or dust. Inspect the indoor coils for any damage or dirt buildup. Check the filters for any clogs or blockages which can affect the airflow. Make sure to change or clean the filters regularly. With that said, it’s always best to acquire the services of an expert vehicle technician.