Sunday, September 2, 2012

Does Your Car Need an Air Conditioning Tune-Up?

Can you imagine going on a long drive in the middle of a hot summer day without your air conditioning system properly working? What if you were on the way to an important meeting or interview and the AC went out? Nobody wants to spend a miserable car ride sweating or getting blown around by open windows. Avoid having your car's air conditioning fail by performing preventative maintenance at the first sign of trouble.

Signs you may have a problem

Your car will typically display warning signs before your air conditioning goes out, but these signs are typically only seen when you pop the hood. Here are several things to watch out for:

• Your car AC is blowing hot or warm air instead of cold.

• You have a disconnected or damaged drive belt.

• There are damages on the refrigerant hoses.

• There is oil on some of the AC components. This is a sign that you are experiencing refrigerant loss.

• The compressor shows signs of failure such as a paint damage, rust, or off-center drive hub.

• The drive belt seems to be squealing or slipping while the A/C controls are on maximum.

• The air conditioning system does not seem to stay on steadily for a long time, and may show on and off cycles every few minutes.

• The condenser fan seems to work with varying and unstable speed and volume.

• Since 2000, most vehicles have a cabin air filter (sometimes known as Pollen Filter). It should be replaced once a year, after all it filters the air you breathe inside your vehicle.

These are all indications that there may be a problem with some of your car's air conditioning components. Because your mechanic is typically going to notice these signs before you do, it is important to take your car in for regularly scheduled maintenance.

The Tune-Up

It's recommended that you have your car's air conditioning system checked once a year, preferably before you will need to use the AC. Prevention is definitely the best way to go, but you can also drop by your neighborhood mechanic at any time if you notice something going wrong.

When you take your car in for your annual air conditioning check, your mechanic will perform a system check and inspection. He or she will thoroughly examine the components for leaks, cracks, damages, and temperature readings. Most car service centers and mechanics can conduct such inspections quickly and then give you a full report, including an estimate. This way, you'll have some idea of what, if any, repairs or replacements will be necessary to keep you cool all summer long!

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