Is Your A/C Ready for the Summer?
The temperature outside may be rising but that doesn’t mean the temperature in your car should be too! If you are like most Floridians, you rely on your AC to keep you cool in our hot and humid summers.
Understanding when your AC is about to go out is critical to keeping you and your family comfortable inside your vehicle. A good air conditioning system in your vehicle will cool your car off in a matter of minutes, if not, your vehicle may be in need of an AC repair.
These four items will help you know if your vehicle's AC is about to break.
Your fan is not consistently blowing cold air
Inconsistent cold air is most commonly the result of low freon - this is the refrigerant that makes the air cold. When the freon level is too low, the air coming out of the vents may just feel room temperature. A simple AC recharge may be able to solve this issue and can be done at most local auto repair shops. (plus it only takes about 30 minutes)
A worn serpentine belt (drive belt)
Replacement intervals vary depending on many factors, such as the climate you live in and even your driving habits. Inspecting your serpentine belt every 30k miles for uneven wearing or cracks is best practice. A simple visual inspection can be done with a flashlight, but to be certain you can pick up a belt-wear gauge for a few dollars from your local auto parts store. (Belts with 3 or more cracks per inch need to be replaced)
Your serpentine belt, also known as a drive belt, provides power for multiple components in your vehicle, including the alternator, power steering system, but importantly your air conditioning system and compressor. Over time, your drive belt gets worn out and needs to be replaced. Failure to replace your vehicle’s serpentine belt in a timely way may result in a dramatic break in your vehicle’s ability to function.
The air in your car smells stale and your vents ‘don’t work’
Stale air can be a sign of an old cabin air filter. Your cabin air filter removes dust, pollen, mold, spores and other harmful airborne contaminants as air enters the passenger compartment of your vehicle just like your home furnace filter does for your home. A clogged cabin air filter will make it harder for air to flow, putting a strain on your ACs blower motor and reducing your AC’s overall effectiveness. Your cabin air filter should be changed around every 12,000 miles.
A clogged or damaged condenser
The condenser is the metal mesh-like object that sits behind the grille or bumper.
Your condenser is like a glass of cold water with ice cubes sitting outside on a hot day. The condenser takes freon from a hot high pressure gas to a cooler liquid state which is ready to be used in your AC. Your condenser may not be able to do this properly if it is full of dust, bugs, or other debris. To clean it, you can use a hose or pressure washer to spray it out. A cracked condenser can lead to a loss of freon and result in an underperforming AC.
If you like physics or animations, here is a video which explains how the condenser works to keep you cool.
These are some things you could potentially check yourself to know when your AC needs help. The best thing you can do is get a professional AC performance test done at the start of each summer where all of the components are inspected and measured.
At Victory Automotive Service, you will have peace of mind knowing that every time your vehicle comes to our shop a Multi-Point Safety Inspection is completed on it, which includes inspection of your air conditioning system and serpentine belt.
One of our expert ASE-certified technicians will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have, as well as address any potential repairs that could help you avoid future unexpected expenses, stress, and inconvenience later.