What’s the first thing you do when you get in your car on a hot day? Probably roll down the windows and crank up the air conditioner. But what if your A/C is blowing hot air instead of cold? That is not what you want to happen on a hot day. Now what?
Well, to start, try not to get into that situation in the first place. Your air conditioner is one of those things that you don’t realize how much you rely on until you don’t have it. Once considered a luxury convenience when introduced in 1939, today vehicle air conditioning is standard on practically all new vehicles.
The air conditioner is both a simple and a complex machine that hasn’t changed much since its introduction. Its purpose is to cool and remove humidity from the air and it has three main parts: compressor, condenser, and evaporator. They work in concert with the vehicle’s engine and radiator to maintain a consistent cool temperature inside the vehicle. We won’t go into all of the details, but both liquid and gas are involved, with heating and cooling, and many moving parts. An issue with any of those moving parts can mean no cool air greets you on a hot day.
Common issues that arise with air conditioners are:
- Weak airflow
- A leak
- A damaged or failed part
- A smell when the A/C is on
So what’s a responsible vehicle owner who loves their A/C to do? Be sure to have your system checked regularly and especially at the beginning of the summer. You’ve probably seen ads about “recharging” air conditioning systems, and sometimes that is necessary. When the fluid level drops it needs to be topped off, similar to oil or wiper fluid—and if it drops too low, the system must be drained and refilled to avoid damage.
As the weather warms, check with your favorite shop to schedule an A/C check-up. It may be as quick and simple as a fluid and leak check with everything working properly – done! And if it’s more complicated or expensive – better to find out and fix it now, before it’s a major problem.