Most of us don’t even think about an air conditioning service for our vehicles – as long as our air conditioners are blowing cold air. But your air conditioning system is a complex and expensive system that all drivers should think about before it starts blowing hot air, especially here in Alamogordo and all the driving we do in the desert southwest.
Tierra del Sol Automotive performs air conditioning service year round because temperatures in Southern New Mexico are never too cold and during our summer months it can be downright hot.
As our temperatures rise in the early summer months each year, we notice that there is a significant increase in vehicles that require A/C repair work at the auto shop here in Alamogordo.
The most common air conditioning (A/C) service and repair issues that Tierra del Sol Automotive encounters when drivers report the loss of cold air blowing from their A/C systems can be directly related to refrigerant and leaks.
Other contributing factors might include contamination, worn out, or broken parts.
A vehicle’s air conditioning system uses refrigerant, a gas in the system, to create cold air.
Clean and fresh A/C fluids will protect the air conditioning components in your A/C system and keep the system operating at peak efficiency so it doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you cool.
As refrigerant ages, it tends to gather moisture and become corrosive. Corrosion leads to leaks in your A/C system.
Leaks in your A/C system allow the refrigerant to escape. When there is not enough refrigerant in an A/C system the system can’t cool the air well.
Even minuscule holes in a hose, seal or coupler can allow enough refrigerant to leak out and prevent the creation of cold air.
When refrigerant leaks out, your air conditioner may still cool the air in the air conditioning system, however, this can create another common leak problem with A/C units in vehicles.
The refrigerant in the air conditioner also contains a special oil.
Vehicle A/C units use a special oil that circulates throughout the A/C system with the refrigerant. The oil lubricates the parts, keeps the seals of your vehicle’s air conditioning system resilient, and cools the air conditioning components.
So, in addition to refrigerant escaping, your A/C system parts may not have enough oil to protect them if your system has a leak.
Lack of sufficient refrigerant and/or oil means that the air conditioning parts will end up wearing out faster than they should and that can lead to some costly auto repair.
Over time the inside of the rubber hoses can deteriorate, and little bits of rubber can clog up various filters and other parts of the vehicle A/C system, preventing proper circulation of the refrigerant.
A/C Parts Simply Wear Out
Even with regular service, A/C parts can just wear out. Normal vehicle wear and tear affects all moving parts.
Any of the many A/C system components can wear out or even break.
Another common A/C system failure is the clutch that turns the air conditioning compressor on and off.
Addressing problems as soon as they are noticeable is always a good idea because it can help you to avoid more extensive repairs resulting from auto repair delays. The A/C compressor clutch is a perfect example.
Replacing a bad A/C clutch when you first start noticing problems, may allow you to be able to save the compressor. But if you postpone repairs for too long, both the clutch and the compressor will need to be replaced.
Sometimes, drivers overlook a worn serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt drives the A/C compressor and worn serpentine belt leads to belt slippage. A slipping belt will place additional strain on the compressor. Replacing your serpentine belt and belt tensioner routinely will extend the life of your A/C compressor as well as other belt driven accessories.
Maintaining your vehicle air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly cool your air.
The first step to take when your vehicle’s A/C system is not cooling air is a thorough air conditioning inspection.
The inspection should include looking for leaks and worn parts.
Don’t skip the inspection step because Federal law requires an inspection before adding refrigerant. Many states won’t allow topping off a leaking system.
Once the inspection is completed and any repairs are made, the refrigerant is added. At the same time, the special oil is added to the system. Remember, this oil helps to cool and lubricate as it circulates through your A/C system with the refrigerant.
If you have a leak, it’s important that both the refrigerant and oil be replenished for proper function and protection of your A/C system.
So, if you’re hearing strange sounds when your air conditioning turns on, or if it just isn’t as cold as it used to be, have Tierra del Sol Automotive in Alamogordo give it the once over and see what it’ll take to keep you cool.
Tierra Del Sol Automotive Air Conditioning Service
Air conditioning service at Tierra Del Sol Automotive in Alamogordo starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The belt that drives the compressor is inspected for cracks or wear.
The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired and the vehicle system is retested. Your Tierra Del Sol Automotive technician will also perform a temperature drop test.
If needed, the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test ensures that the air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.
Regularly Scheduled A/C Service
How often your air conditioning system needs to be serviced varies from vehicle to vehicle, but it’s typically every two years.
Your vehicle owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your friendly and knowledgeable Tierra Del Sol Automotive service advisor can also access that information for you.
Check your owner’s manual or ask your Alamogordo service advisor at Tierra Del Sol Automotive for service recommendations.
A/C systems can be expensive to repair, however, if you service the air conditioner as recommended by your vehicle’s owner manual you are much more likely to avoid those costly air conditioning system repairs.