If the summer heat drives you to distraction, the last thing you need is a malfunctioning air conditioning (A/C) system when you’re on the road. Checking your vehicle’s A/C annually will help you keep your cool when temperatures soar.
Getting stuck in traffic is stressful enough, but getting stuck in traffic during the heat of summer without a functioning A/C is the pits. It is important to always have the A/C system properly maintained to keep it in tip-top shape and avoid costly repairs down the road.
A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. A thorough inspection should be performed annually and a typical A/C service consists of the following steps:
- A service technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.
- If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.
- Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system, although some states do not allow “topping off.”
- A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.
- A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.
Checking the A/C once a year is key to making sure your cooling system is running efficiently all year long. A properly running HVAC system will help improve your gas mileage, is more environmentally-friendly and will keep you comfortable and alert.