Before the weather starts heating up, we recommend having your air conditioning system checked. It’s inexpensive and can prevent a more costly repair. If your air conditioning refrigerant* is even slightly low, your vehicle will not cool properly. Most vehicles hold less than 24 ounces of refrigerant.* If your vehicle is even 10% low (it could be 2.4 ounces), the air in the passenger compartment will not feel as cool as it should–especially on a hot day. If you notice this symptom, bring your car or truck in and have it serviced promptly. Even at 5% less than full capacity, you may feel cool inside your car, but you are shortening the life span of one of the most expensive systems to replace in your vehicle.
Running an A/C system that is not cooling properly is like turning the air conditioning on in your house with the front door wide open. You are adding wear and tear on the compressor. In addition to refrigerant, the A/C system uses a special lubricating oil. When the system is low on refrigerant, it is also low on oil and the compressor is running hotter than designed. If the A/C is not cooling properly, we would recommend not using it until you have it serviced. Running the A/C low is like running your engine without oil.
When we check your A/C system, we check to make sure that the system is completely full, that it has A/C lubricating oil and we add a dye. If the system is not full, we immediately let you know and we add a lubricating oil that contains an ultra-violet dye. This dye can help us find a leak in your system. Usually, if it’s a big leak, it’s immediately obvious. If it’s a small leak, we may ask you to come back in a day or two so we can recheck it. Some leaks are the size of a pin hole. That’s why you may have your refrigerant topped off and feel in the cool for a few days or even weeks and then suddenly on the hottest day of summer, all you feel coming from your vents is hot air. There are also situations where cars may have more than one leak. They may have a big leak which is obvious and a tiny one which is not. Leaks can come from hoses, A/C compressors, A/C condensers, expansion valves–just about anywhere. If you have your A/C system checked annually, most of these problems can be detected before you really are counting on the A/C to keep you comfortable.
We post these car tips because we believe at Adolf Hoepfl Garage that you should have safe and reliable transportation. We can help you extend the life of one of your principal investments.
We can fix anything. We just choose to fix cars.
*Some people call A/C Refrigerant Freon. Freon is a brand name for R-12 that has been banned in the U.S. The current refrigerant in newer vehicles is called R-134.
By Kathryn van der Pol