Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym, but not in your car. With the unforgiving Minnesota humidity that summer brings, car owners will notice a problem with their vehicle’s air conditioning right away. While most people don’t service their A/C until it fails, your air conditioning system benefits from routine maintenance like every other part of your vehicle. Oftentimes some small preventative repairs can extend the system’s life and save you money on larger repairs down the line.
How does air conditioning work in my car?
For most of us, our thoughts about our vehicle’s air conditioning system begins and ends with pushing a button or turning a knob. We consider the A/C a “non-essential” part of the vehicle. Like the car stereo, it’s one of those things that’s just supposed to work. But if you’ve ever tried taking a long drive in the summer, you know that working air conditioning is essential.
Why should I maintain my air conditioning system?
Maintaining your air conditioning system means you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Any leaks in your air conditioning system allow refrigerant to slowly escape and over time, your A/C loses the ability to cool the air as well.
The refrigerant also contains a key oil that lubricates air conditioning components and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil mean that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and full air conditioning system replacements can be costly.
What can cause my air conditioning system to fail?
Corrosion is what leads to many air conditioning system failures for motorists. The small leaks mentioned earlier also allow air and water to leak into the system. This can lead to rust and dirt in the internal workings of the air conditioning components, which greatly accelerates wear and tear, ultimately, failure.
At Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service, we see this type of thing a lot. We recommend that you run your air conditioner regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.
Should I use my A/C in the winter?
Winters in Minnesota are cold enough as it is, so it may seem strange to make your car even colder by using the air conditioning. However, there’s actually a method to the madness. When you use the heater, it’s just venting warm air from the engine block into the cabin, leaving your A/C unused.
Periodically running your A/C throughout the year ensures the lubricating oil cycles through the air conditioning system and maintains its longevity. Kennedy’s knowledgeable service technicians can also advise you on your vehicle’s specific preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service.
The Air Conditioning Maintenance Process at Kennedy Transmission
Air conditioning service at Kennedy Transmission Brake & Auto Service starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. A belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, drives the compressor. Our team will inspect the belt for cracks or wear.
We’ll also check the compressor and other components proper operation and then perform a leak test If our team detects a leak (often in a hose or connection), we’ll repair it and retest the system.
After that, we evacuate the old refrigerant and recharge the system with clean, fresh refrigerant. Our final test ensures your vehicle’s air conditioner is working, and then you’re on your way!
Air Conditioning Maintenance for Older Vehicles
Own an older vehicle? You should consider upgrading your car’s air conditioning system. Vehicles manufactured before 1993 often contain a refrigerant called Freon. Dwindling Freon supplies and skyrocketing prices lead to the substance being phased out of air conditioning systems.
If your vehicle still uses Freon, have it retrofitted with a new, EPA-approved R134A refrigerant. This retrofit will actually pay for itself by reducing the cost to recharge the refrigerant in your vehicle.
How do I know if my air conditioning needs to be serviced?
If the A/C in your car stops blowing cold air, you should bring it in for repairs immediately. Also, if you hear strange sounds when you turn the air on, there might be a problem with the compressor or clutch.
Though it’s not an exact standard, a good rule of thumb is to get your A/C serviced every two years. Your owner’s manual will contain the manufacturer’s recommendation your friendly Kennedy Transmission service advisor can also help you.
There’s one more factor that impacts air quality in your vehicle—your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution, and other impurities in the air that blows from the heater and air conditioner. If your car has a cabin air filter, replace it when it’s dirty, or it will start to smell.
Count on Kennedy to Keep You Cool
If you live in Minnesota and haven’t had your vehicle’s air conditioning system serviced in the past two years, it’s time to make an appointment with Kennedy Transmission Brake and Auto Service to avoid major damage and costly repairs. Schedule an appointment at your local Kennedy Transmission shop and let us keep you cool for years to come.