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Air Conditioner Maintenance for Your Car

July 11th, 2017

With higher temps being the peak during the day, being trapped in a hot car isn’t fun.  Rolling down the windows won’t always suffice either.  Fortunately, the air conditioner in your car functions in a similar fashion to the system you find in your home.  A compressor changes the pressure of a refrigerant to help cycle cool air into the cabin of your car.  But, just as with your home’s cooling system, your car’s system requires some basic maintenance and an eye for when problems arise.

Common Car Cooling Problems

Clogged Cabin Filter – Replace your cabin air filter regularly.  This filter is different from the intake filter on your engine but both filters should be replaced often.  The cabin filter works in a similar manner to your home’s central air filter, so replace it when it gets dirty or you find the internal air smells musty.

Squealing Noises – This is the most common complaint about car air conditioners.  A squealing noise from your vehicle’s AC system is usually an aging/slipping belt or dirty compressor motor bearings.  You’ll need to take your vehicle in to have it serviced.

Damp and Warm Air – Just as with your home’s air conditioner, if your car is delivering damp, warm air, there’s likely a lack of refrigerant in the cooling line.  Low refrigerant means the compressor has to work harder and often can’t build pressure to the levels it needs, leaving you with excess external condensation and warmer air.

Hot Air – The compressor is either no longer working or you’re out of refrigerant entirely.  With either system offline, your blower fan will simply run outside air into your car’s cabin, filling the cabin with hot air.

As you can see, the cooling system in your car is very similar to the air conditioner in your home.  And in the same way, excessive humidity from condensation can lead to similar problems with mold or mildew.  Likewise, running a compressor without enough refrigerant can damage the compressor.  All of the standard maintenance and repair you’d expect with your home you’ll need to follow through on in your car.  So don’t forget to have your vehicle serviced regularly too!

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