Car Air Conditioning Issues and What is Causing Themby Ali's Woodinville on 06/20/14
Now that the summer is here in the Great Northwest, we thought we'd talk a little about your vehicle's air conditioning and what can be done to service or repair them.
We love our climate-controlled vehicles, don't we? But, what happens when the system is not getting you cool anymore? Something must be done. Quite simply, the main sign of a problematic car air conditioning system is the fact that it no longer keeps your car cool enough. In come cases the system may not blow any colder than it does on "vent mode". But, you may also need to consider a repair if it is running too loud or any funny smells are coming from the A/C vent. Being cold enough is the main sign, but not the ONLY sign that you may have to watch out for.
If you are a "do-it-yourself" kind of person, then yes, there are steps you can take to fix a lack of cooling. In most cases it will take a novice MUCH longer to get the situation solved themselves. It's better to find a good shop that actually handles this type of work. Not every auto shop is prepared to handle these issues and diagnose what's really going on. Our shop is prepared and we even have specialized equipment that helps us run diagnostics and pinpoint the problem.
So, what could be wrong? Over time, cars actually may need a "recharge" of the refrigerant. Newer vehicles us a refrigerant known as R134, and older vehicles use R12, also knows as Freon (Handling R12 actually requires a special license). You can't simply assume that this is the issue. Sure the refrigerant can "wear out" and no longer keep you cool, but instead, you could be dealing with an faulty system.
On a newer car, it's likely not as simple as changing the refrigerant. In all cases you should make sure that you haven't actually leaked out all of your fluid through a leak in the system. Checking for leaks is not an easy process, but you must do this first, before messing with changing the refrigerant chemical. A professional will be much more qualified and much more precise at finding the leak source. This is a bit of a complicated deal for an individual to take on themselves.
Lastly, like any other part of your car, there are components that could fail or break. You have a compressor, a condenser, an expansion valve, and an evaporator included in your air conditioning system. These parts are possible reasons that you aren't keeping cool, or hearing a loud noise. There is no easy way to pinpoint these issues on your own.
Ali's Woodinville Auto Repair would definitely recommend that you bring you vehicle to a professional that routinely handles automobile air conditioning issues. If you want to try doing something yourself, here is a great article that goes through the system and can help you understand how it works.
If you have no plans to fix it yourself, feel free to educate yourself (so you know what a good auto shop should be doing), but don't hesitate to get your car to a pro. You should be comfortable in your car. You should be able to keep yourself, your family, and all your passengers enjoying the summer sun, without getting too hot. Let us (or your local shop, if you don't live near Woodinville WA) help you stay cool!