What is Involved in a Car’s Air Conditioning Repair?

Summer will be here before you know it! That means it is important to have working air conditioner in your vehicle so you are drenched in sweat while driving during the warmer months. Last month, we talked about what your car’s air conditioning system actually does. At Asher Automotive, these are some of the common A/C repairs we see come through our shop. There are many types of repairs that can be made to the air conditioning system – anything from repairing a refrigerant line to replacing any component in the system that may have failed or is leaking Freon.

Replacing a Failed A/C Compressor

One of the most common repairs to a vehicle’s air conditioning is the replacement of a failed compressor, because it contains moving parts. Often when this part fails, small pieces of metal or other debris can come apart from the compressor and enter the other parts of the system. Therefore, compressor manufacturers require replacement of the accumulator and expansion valve at the same time (because the debris cannot be removed), as well as flushing out the rest of the system to clear this debris. Many suppliers even sell these components as a repair kit, and the warranty on a compressor is often voided if these other parts are not replaced at the same time. In the case of any other component replacement, the failed part is typically the only part that needs to be replaced.

Repairing a Refrigerant Leak

Every car leaks some refrigerant past seals and through microscopic pores in hoses. The older the car, the higher the rate of seepage. Newer cars have better seals and barrier style hoses, so they generally leak less than a few tenths of an ounce of refrigerant a year. However, system capacities also tend to be smaller on newer vehicles, so any loss of refrigerant will have more an adverse effect on cooling performance.

Leaks can be found by adding special dye to the system (available in pressurized can premixed with refrigerant), an electronic leak detector or soapy water (spray on hose connections and watch for bubbles — requires adding some refrigerant to the system first and turning the A/C on). Once the leak has been found, the repairs should be made prior to fully recharging the system. The majority of leak repairs involve replacing O-rings, seals or hoses. However, if the evaporator or condenser are leaking, repairs can be costly.

Other A/C Component Repairs

Signs of failing air conditioning components may include loud screeching that’s continuous on upon starting the vehicle, coupled with loss of cooling output. Other symptoms, such as rattling or poor air flow from the vents, can help determine the difference in a major repair such as an A/C compressor, or a minor one such as a bad blower fan. Issues attributed to the car’s air conditioning itself can often turn out to be the air distribution system, which includes the vents and a blower motor for the fan. Disassembling complex interior pieces such as the dashboard may be necessary for some A/C repairs.

Refilling Freon

In the case of virtually any air conditioning repair, the Freon remaining in the system is recovered from the system in an environmentally-friendly manner before the repair begins, and the system is refilled to the proper refrigerant level once the repair is completed.

You may have seen advertisements on TV for do-it-yourself Freon refill systems. While these refill kits are generally cheaper than a professional recovery and refill, they only read pressure on the low-pressure side of the system and not the high-pressure side. As a result, these kits only give half the information necessary about how much Freon to add. The professional A/C equipment we use at Asher Automotive allows our technicians to see the pressure readings across the entire system for a precise refill. Air conditioning systems will only perform at its best when pressures are perfect throughout the system. This means that having too much Freon in a system will make it just as inefficient as having too little.

 

Different systems also have sensors to tell it pressure and temperatures, but they are unique to a make and model of vehicle. If you need some work done on your car’s A/C system, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Asher Automotive with the link below!

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