Why Isn’t My A/C Working?

Summer weather is here and our vehicle’s A/C’s are coming back on! When you first get into your hot car, there’s nothing that feels better than that ultimate chill blasting out of the vents. However, when you crank up the A/C only to have hot air blasting your already furnace-y vehicle, it’s time to visit the mechanic! To avoid getting to that point, we’ve put together a Cliff’s note version of how you’re A/C works and what you can do to prevent A/C mishaps.

A/C INSPECTION

You should have your A/C inspected at least once a year. We can easily catch problems beforehand, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars with simple preventative maintenance. An A/C inspection can also allow us to catch problems sooner rather than later, preventing further damage or from damage getting worse over time. We’re currently offering A/C Inspection Services for just $9.95 – over $40 in savings.

A/C SYSTEM RECHARGE

When you start to feel like your A/C isn’t getting as chilly as it used to, it’s time to get an A/C system recharge. A very well-maintained A/C system can sometime go its entire life without needing a recharge – but often only for those who are very lucky. If you start to notice that your A/C is no longer soothing you with a refreshingly cool breeze, it’s time to get your system inspected and possibly recharged.

A/C REFRIGERANT

A/C refrigerant is commonly referred to as Freon, which is similar to motor oil and radiator coolant. It’s designed to cool hot air into cool air by absorbing and releasing heat. This is the fluid that turns your hot, stale car into your personal refrigerator. Low Freon (caused by a Freon leak) is one common cause of a failing A/C system.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN R-134a AND R-12?

R-12 is an older version of Freon that was used until it was discovered that it was destroying the ozone layer. Once this was discovered, environmental scientists quickly went to work to develop an alternative cooling agent from ozone-depleting Chlorofluorocarbons. That new formula is known as R-134a and is the standard and only refrigerant permitted in automotive A/C systems today.

A/C SYSTEM PARTS

Most A/C systems are composed of 5 parts – compressor, condenser, receiver dryer or accumulator, orifice tube or expansion valve, and evaporator. It also consists of hoses and refrigerant charging parts.

The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and senses temperature changes. It is powered by the serpentine belt, which is used for other crucial components of your vehicle as well. If your compressor is worn, you may notice freon leaks, noise, or erratic operation of your A/C.

The condenser radiates the hot refrigerant gasses, reduces its temperature and pressure, and turns it into a liquid that moves to the A/C dryer. If you notice leaks, clogged tubes, or poor air conditioning performance, your condenser may need to be repaired or replaced.

The receiver/dryer separates gas from liquid, removes moisture (using desiccant), and filters out contaminates. If your notice poor air conditioner performance or moisture on your glass on windows that the defroster doesn’t remove, your receiver/dryer may need repaired.

The accumulator monitors and control refrigerant, filters debris, and removes moisture from the A/C system. Anytime the A/C system is opened up for repair, the accumulator will need to be replaced.

The thermal expansion valve/orifice tube has the job of constantly monitoring the pressure and temperature of your A/C system. It determines the exact amount of refrigerant needed to enter your evaporator.

An evaporator cools air with refrigerant and spits out the cold air flow. The evaporator is the last and most important step before you can enjoy cold air.

Keep in mind that only properly equipped and qualified mechanics should perform A/C recharging services and inspections. Take advantage of our $9.95 A/C Inspection Special to save big and enjoy your refreshingly cool vehicle worry-free all summer long!

If you have any questions about your vehicle’s heating and cooling systems, we would love to help provide the answers. Give us a call today or schedule an appointment to come see us.