A/C Pro

What You Need to Know About Car A/C Care

So you got up this morning thinking it was just going to be another day in Paradise. You drank your morning coffee, scanned your emails, showered, shaved and were out the door. So far so good.  You noticed that today might be a little muggy. Your tie clings a little closer to your neck. Your shirt is a little sticky. No problem—you are only twenty five feet and seconds away from the sweet, sweet air conditioned comfort of your car. You slip into your car, buckle up, turn the key, and switch the A/C fan on high. It is at that moment you realized that your car has betrayed you. It’s blowing nothing but hot air.  What do you do?

Number one…don’t panic. Yes, A/C repair can be expensive.  I am sure that a part of you is already calculating how much of your vacation fund you will have to raid in order to fix it.  But before you write off the summer vacation there is some fact finding to do. Once you determine the “facts on the ground” you can then determine how expensive solving the problem really is. The good news? In about 80% of the cases the problem can be solved for under a $100.

So let’s get started. The first thing you want to do is sit and give a moment of thought about you’re A/C situation (and I don’t mean sit and think about how rotten the situation is). Think about how you’re A/C has been acting over the last couple of weeks. When was the last time that it was blowing really cold? Did it gradually begin blowing hot air say over a two week period, or did it happen all at once? Has there been any weird noises coming from the engine when you turn the A/C on? If your car is making really strange or unusual noises when you turn the air conditioner on, you should seek professional help immediately. Also check to see if the compressor clutch is actually turning. Here is a video that shows you how to tell if your compressor is turning on or not. If your compressor is not running seek the advice of a professional. If everything seems fine (compressor is running and no strange noises) then you may have landed in that lucky 80% that I referred to earlier.

The most common reason that a car gradually loses its cool is a small refrigerant leak in the system. If your system slowly loses refrigerant over a two week period then a leak additive will most likely fix your problem. Typically refrigerant leaks occur in cars that are over 5 years old because the rubber O-rings that seal the different components of the system have become brittle and inelastic allowing the refrigerant in the system to leak past them.  In most cases this can be cured by adding a refrigerant with a proven stop leak additive and O-ring conditioner. Premium refrigerants such as Arctic Freeze® and Sub Zero® contain stop leak additives and O-ring conditioners that will stop these leaks in most cases. These refrigerants also contain special lubricants that help to extend the life of your compressor. Also check to make sure that there are dust caps on the service ports of your A/C. If there are none spend five bucks at your local car parts store and put them on. Dust caps on service ports are not an “optional” item. They are an integral part of maintaining the refrigerant in your car’s A/C system.

In some cases pin hole sized leaks occur in the metal components of the car’s A/C system. Components such as the dryer, evaporator, or condenser are made of metal and require a different type of sealant to stop the leak. A sealant such as Super Seal® is perfect for this type of application. Super Seal circulates within the A/C system of the car as a liquid until it is exposed to a crack or pin hole. When exposed to moisture and the outside air it forms a permanent seal in metal components to stop the leak. Super Seal® is completely safe and is proven in over million vehicles. Furthermore Super Seal acts like added insurance for your system—if other leaks occur, Super Seal will still be in the system and be able to seal them.

Now that you have determined that a leak is your problem you will need to fix it. Don’t worry; if you can check the pressure and add air to your tire, you are perfectly capable of adding sealant and refrigerant to your car’s A/C system. I will cover how to put refrigerant and sealant in your car in tomorrow’s blog post.