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The Ultimate Guide to Your Car’s Air Conditioning

Have you jumped in the car on a hot day and discovered your air conditioning system is just blowing out hot air? There’s nothing worse, especially if it’s happened when the UK is experiencing good weather. Nobody wants a sticky and sweaty car journey.

But don’t worry; at Garden City Garage, we can help you stay cool and comfortable through the hotter months of the year. This ultimate guide will educate you on everything to do with your vehicle’s air conditioning.

Why You Shouldn’t Forget About an Air Con Recharge

Whilst your car’s air conditioning system is a sealed system, a vehicle is a harsh environment for it to operate in. 

Refrigerant is one of the most important components of your air conditioning system. If you don’t have the right quantity, you’ll get blasted with hot air. The amount of refrigerant you have can naturally be lost over time due to the rubber hoses that complement the fixed aluminium pipes.

This means the refrigerant (commonly termed “gas”)  will have to be replaced over time. 

Having an air conditioning recharge can help to prevent malfunctions and expensive problems arising. One way you can avoid this from happening is by running your air conditioning all year round. This may be a way to keep your levels of refrigerant healthy, as periods of inactivity can affect it too.

The Air Conditioning Process

Before we dive into how you can fix your air conditioning, we’re going to go through how it works. This is very useful and shows how it can cool your car. 

  1. Refrigerant will be transported by the compressor.
  2. It starts as liquid refrigerant but it turns to gas through boiling after passing through the expansion valve. Ambient air is passed over the evaporator.
  3. Heat is absorbed by the refrigerant at the same time.
  4. Refrigerant moves in the compressor – the temperature and pressure rise.
  5. The gas is now passed through the condenser, ambient air is blown over the condenser by your condenser fan.
  6. Heat is drawn out of the refrigerant and into the ambient air.
  7. Your air conditioning system has now moved the heat from the cabin to the outside of the vehicle and cooled the air in the cabin as part of the process. Your cabin is sufficiently cool and comfortable! 

An MOT – Do They Check the Air Conditioning?

During an MOT your air conditioning system is not checked. It’s also not common for manufacturers to check the air conditioning as part of their service schedule. Generally, they will have an additional air conditioning service requirement.

At Garden City Garage, we can offer you the air conditioning system check you are looking for. We recommend this should be every 12 months. In addition, a service should be completed at least every 24 months. This will ensure the system remains in good condition and will prevent any problems when it’s hot outside.

Why Air Conditioning Often Stops Working

Do you want to know why your air conditioning system has stopped working? This is most likely down to the refrigerant. If you don’t have the right quantity in your system, it’s going to show. You’ll notice the heat can’t be removed from the inside of your car.

Refrigerant leaks happen. This can be naturally or through a fault. This is an easy problem to rectify, and replacing this and can normally return your system to full health.

The Process of a Re-Gas and How We Refill Your Refrigerant

We follow some simple steps to re-gas your vehicle. Let’s take a look:

  1. We complete a performance test. This is going to let us know the temperature inside and outside the car.
  2. The refrigerant will be removed. We take the time to weigh it and see if it’s the correct quantity your vehicle needs.
  3. Complete a vacuum leak check.
  4. A pressure leak check is carried out. Some faults cannot be found with a vacuum check.
  5. The system is evacuated using a specialist vacuum pump to remove any moisture from inside the A/C system.
  6. Dye is added. This shows us leaks in the future.
  7. Oil is added if needed.
  8. The correct quantity of refrigerant is weighed into the system.
  9. We carry out another performance check to make sure that everything is working.

The re-gas process is a common procedure, and we complete many of these in the warmer months. It’s the most common A/C service we offer. But there is some additional attention that your vehicle may require.

What Happens During an Air Conditioning Service?

We know that refrigerant is important. But there’s a lot of components that make up your air conditioning system that have to be looked after. This can be done effortlessly with an air conditioning service. This should be every 24 months to make sure everything is working efficiently. It’s going to be worth it financially too.

Here are a few of the common items carried out on an air conditioning service to ensure your cabin remains cool and free of nasty odours.

  1. Inspection of the A/C condenser fan.
  2. Cleaning of the A/C condenser fan for debris.
  3. Inspection of the compressor drive belt.
  4. Check under the bonnet for A/C pipe security.
  5. Replacement of the refrigerant receiver dryer or accumulator.
  6. Inspection of the pollen filter.
  7. Decontamination with the A/C debug treatment for killing bacteria.

Making Sure Your Air Conditioning System Doesn’t Develop Faults

Your air conditioning can do more than just cool you down during the spring and summer. In fact, it can also help to clear your misty car windows and dehumidify the inside. But, importantly, your air conditioning can make sure your A/C compressor is working well throughout the year. This is why it’s advised to use your air conditioning system during the winter too. This can keep the system in good condition and avoid faults.

Do you feel like you know a lot more about your air conditioning now? But what should you do if it’s not working as it should?

The best thing you can do is call us at Garden City Garage. We know a lot about air conditioning systems, and how to make sure you’re not sweating more than you should during this warm weather!

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