Early spring is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioning system is working properly. Who wants to be stuck in a hot car once the temperatures rise, or worse, when you’re taking a summer road trip or vacation? Conducting a periodic under-hood inspection can help you spot A/C issues before they cause you to break a sweat—literally.
Here’s what to look for:
- Are A/C component mounting bolts in place and tightly secured?
- Are caps installed on the A/C system service ports? This keeps out dirt, and also provides a seal for refrigerant.
- With the engine running, does the compressor clutch engage when the A/C is switched on? If it doesn’t, this usually indicates a low (or empty) refrigerant condition, or an electrical problem. Also, listen for rapid clicking or cycling noises at the compressor when the A/C is switched on. If this is happening, it could also indicate low refrigerant or some other problems. A technician here at Aardvark can check it for you.
- With the engine running and the A/C switched off, listen for knocking or rumbling sounds in the vicinity of the compressor. These could indicate a failing compressor clutch, and/or loose mounting hardware.
- Check all belts for cracks, wear, and glazing. Have them replaced at the first sign of any of these conditions. Also, check for belts that vibrate while the engine is running and the A/C is on. This may indicate a belt that needs to be tightened, or a defective automatic belt tensioner.
- Examine all A/C and cooling system hoses for cuts, abrasion, weak spots, and signs of leakage. Leakage from A/C system hoses is often indicated by an accumulation of dirt and oil, particularly at connections and fittings.
- Make sure the condenser (in front of the radiator) is free of any obstructions, such as leaves or insects. This could reduce airflow, resulting in reduced A/C performance. You can rinse the condenser clean with a garden hose.
Even when your air conditioning system is working properly, it can still take some time for your car to cool down on a hot day, especially if it’s been sitting in the sun. Open the door for 30 seconds to let out some of the built-up heat. Start your car and turn on the A/C with the fan on high speed and the windows up, closed completely. Leaving the windows down will actually take longer to cool your car’s interior. If you need help with your A/C give us a call!