Car air conditioning servicing and repairs

Virtually every new vehicle on sale today is fitted with air conditioning as standard, and it has been considered a 'must have' option for decades. Although its most obvious benefit is keeping you cool when the weather is hot, it also reduces humidity, so is equally important in damp and cold weather, as it helps to keep car windows free of condensation. There are two main types of systems available: standard air conditioning and full climate control. The latter monitors and automatically adjusts the temperature to your desired level, but the fundamental aspects and components of both systems are the same. Similar to a domestic refrigerator, they include a compressor (driven directly by the engine or by an electric motor) and a condenser, which usually looks like a smaller version of a car's normal radiator.

Although actual faults with air-conditioning components are fairly rare, the system contains gas at a high pressure and leaks or physical damage to the condenser and other parts are certainly not unknown. More importantly, systems commonly lose pressure over time. The gas itself that is used in the system contains a proportion of lubricating oil, so it is essential to have routine maintenance carried out to avoid potential costly damage to the compressor. There are a number of different gasses that have been used in vehicle applications, but unless your car was manufactured before the early 1990s, there should be no problem with simply 'topping up' the system.

For earlier units, the requirements are more complex, as changing to the newer, properly approved and environmentally-friendly compounds will require total cleaning out of the system and replacement of seals and hoses with suitable equivalents. However, the vast majority of older vehicles are likely to have already had this work carried out at some stage. We have the correct equipment and training to be able to quickly identify the refrigerant used in your vehicle and can carry out any necessary work.

It is not abnormal for car air conditioning systems to lose anything up to 15% of pressure a year, and all manufacturers recommend the system is checked and serviced at regular intervals. However, it is easy to forget this, as it is rarely included in routine servicing. It is certainly worth doing though, because maintenance is always better than repair.

Repairs, leak detection and re-gassing

You will know if there are problems with the air conditioning in your car, because it will be apparent that it is not blowing out suitably cold air. If this happens, or it seems as though the air is not as cool as it should be, you can use the 'normal' hot/cold air supply. However, please switch off the air conditioning to avoid potential damage to the compressor. Book the vehicle in with us and we can check the entire system. It is normal for only a re-gas to be required, but in the event there is an actual fault, we have specialised leak-detection equipment. This enables us to find and identify any leaks or problems rapidly, thereby saving you time, and of course, money.

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