Now that summer is here, you’re likely running your car’s air conditioning more often than usual. Not only do you need to stay cool as you’re driving, but you also need to remove the heat that collected if your car was parked in direct sunlight.
If your A/C system stops working suddenly, it won’t take long for your everyday work commute or a weekend road trip to become extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are some warning signs to watch out for that will clue you in to your air conditioner’s health.
Along with regular tire rotations and oil changes in Longmont, CO, periodic A/C checks should be at the top of your car maintenance to-do list. Beat the heat by looking out for these common symptoms of a faulty A/C system.
Hot Air Coming Through Vents
When you turn on your A/C, do you notice that only warm or hot air is making its way through the vents? You might be dealing with a refrigerant leak. Since A/C systems are pressurized, they must be completely sealed in order to function correctly.
As a result, when a leak occurs, your refrigerant levels cannot simply be topped off. Your system must be recharged with pressurized refrigerant before it will begin blowing cold air again.
Strange Noises from Car AC
As with any other car issue, you should be concerned if you hear unusual sounds coming from your air conditioner system. When functioning properly, you should only be able to hear your fan running quietly in the background as it blows out cool air.
If you hear a banging or rattling sound, there might be sticks, trash, or other debris stuck in your blower motor. There is also a chance that your condenser or compressor belt might be worn and in need of replacement.
Humid Inside Car
In addition to keeping you cool, your A/C is also responsible for pulling moisture from the cabin air. This water is siphoned away and deposited outside your vehicle in the form of water—on a hot day, you might notice this as a puddle underneath your car.
However, if you notice condensation inside of your vehicle, your air conditioner system might not be functioning as it should. This could be due to a clogged drain or hose that is causing water to back up and drain directly into your vehicle instead of the ground outside.
We’re in the dead of winter right now, and that naturally makes most of us want to be warm and cozy. It’s positively the worst time for your heating system to give out. And when it comes to your air conditioning system, you don’t want to wait until it’s practically boiling outside before you discover your AC needs help. Here’s a rundown of some of the problems you may come across with your car’s heating and air.
Like humans, your car should get a periodic “wellness check” to make sure everything is in proper working order. This includes your heating and air conditioning system. Obviously, if you have an immediate problem it needs to be handled, but getting regular maintenance can help you identify small problems before they get bigger. Hose leaks are an example, something which make your system less efficient.
Common AC Problems
There are quite a few signals that your AC system may be having some problems that need to be addressed. If the air pushed out is only slightly cooler than the exterior air, there might be a problem that’s impacting your efficiency. Also take note if your AC pumps out air that smells musty or like mildew. And obviously, if the AC is blowing out warm air instead of cold, you have a problem.
Common Heating Problems
If in cold weather you notice that the car’s interior cabin just doesn’t get warm, or maybe only slightly warmer than the outside, you’ll probably want to check it out, especially if you live in a cold climate. Another point to be aware of for heating and air is if the defroster is working—does it appear to lag or not work at all? Again, if you notice cold air, take your car in for service as soon as you can.
In heating and air, one problem you may notice is that the heat or air only works when the car is in motion and not when it is idling. This can be a sign of a larger system issue. A technician can check for leaks, cracks, and other problems that may impact your system, and again, catching problems before they get worse can often mean a smaller price tag, but it does depend on the specific problem. There are a lot of moving parts to maintain, including belts, compressors, the radiator. Correct pressure in the system is also crucial.
Contact your Longmont auto repair center to follow up on your vehicle’s heating and air issues, and don’t wait for the problem to get worse before you deal with it—depending on the issue, it could get more expensive the longer you let it linger. Here’s to having a warm car this winter!
Whether a person lives in a sunshine state like Florida or a colder state like North Dakota, they are still going to benefit from a functional car air conditioner. During the summer season, it can be crucial for drivers to have access to air conditioning, which is why mechanics are often ready for AC repair come summer. Although many people are aware of their car’s AC levels, some are not, which is why it is important to look for clues when determining whether or not one’s car AC needs a tuneup. The following are the top 3 signs that your car needs AC repair.
A Decreased Air Flow
One of the most obvious signs that one’s car AC is no longer up to par is a decreased airflow. Commonly, when a driver turns on their AC they are met with sufficient airflow levels. This allows them to cool down when the day is warm and properly ventilate their vehicle. A driver might begin to notice that their AC airflow is weak due to low performance. If one’s car used to cool down within seconds and now takes minutes to manipulate the air quality, this can be a sign that it’s time to call a mechanic. As a test, drivers can hold up their hands to the AC vents to see if there is indeed a sufficient airflow.
The AC’s Airflow Is on the Warmer Side
When a driver cranks on their AC, they want to feel an immediate burst of fresh air. However, this isn’t a possibility when a car’s AC levels are nearing empty. If this is not a pressing matter, a driver can wait to ask their mechanic about it until they visit their Longmont garage for an oil change. Should it be pressing, however, making an appointment to have one’s AC unit checked out can be in order. Sometimes, mechanics might find that a driver’s AC vents are blocked with dust or that they are low on AC fluid.
There’s a Strange Smell Emanating From the AC Vents
While most people will encounter car AC troubles that revolve around poor performance, some will experience more puzzling issues. For example, there are some drivers that make appointments due to their car AC emanating a strange smell when turned on. If a foul odor is making one’s car AC intolerable, it is important to bring it in for examination. More often than not, there might be some water contamination that is causing mold and mildew growth. Having this issue taken care of is crucial, as mold and mildew can be detrimental to one’s health.
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A car with a busted AC unit in the summer is like driving around in a sauna. It might be all right with open windows when driving around the neighborhood, but on the highway things will get pretty sticky in no time. Even though repairing an AC unit should not break the bank, checking on the system to ensure it is functional is always a good idea. The funny thing with AC units is that they will not give much of a warning sign before plunking out completely.
A conscientious car owner that wants to save some money and some sweaty car rides should regularly check the status of their unit. It is important to remember that the unit in not simply blowing cold air into the interior of the car. The AC unit is a circulatory system that works to remove hot air from the interior and replace it with cooler air extracted from outside. This process involves the coordinated work of an evaporator, condenser, and compressor. Then there is the refrigerant liquid that turns hot air into cold. As with all mechanical gear, these pieces will experience normal wear and tear over the years and will require consistent checking and semi-consistent maintenance.
A car owner should do the following things to keep their AC unit healthy:
Run The Unit Regularly – It’s advisable to run the AC unit for a few minutes at a time about once a week. This should be done all season long regardless of the external temperature. The purpose of this task is to keep all the tubes, pumps and valves well lubricated. If these components become too dry they could possibly disconnect or at least become less fluid.
Ask Mechanic About The Refrigerant Levels – At the next general car check-up, have the mechanic check the refrigerant levels. Not all mechanics in Longmont will consider the AC as part of their general check-up routine, so clarifying before an oil change and regular check up is always helpful. If the refrigerant levels are low it’s nothing to worry about. It is sold at Walmart and many other locations.
Might Have Fungus – The older the car, and the damper the climate, the more likely it is for mold or fungus to build up within the AC unit. Most people will not even recognize the fungus or mold smell in the car. Those with asthma or allergies will recognize the presence of these unwelcome growths and will most likely experience poor breathing because of it. This is a rare case, but it can certainly happen if the car is over 10 years old. Luckily there are some cleaning liquids that can be applied to the AC unit to clear it out.
These are some great tips for car owners to prevent the breakdown of their AC unit in the hot summer months when they need it most.
Getting a regular flow of cold air throughout a car is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning a vehicle. In the muggy summer months there is really no replacement for it because opening windows only brings in more of the muggy air. The funny thing is that you only realize how important a functional A/C unit it is when it stops working. The car quickly goes from being heat relief to a scorching sauna, and driving suddenly becomes immensely unappealing.
As with all mechanical things, there are a number of different reasons why the A/C in a car stops churning out cold air. Here is a detailed run-down of the most common issued with air conditioning:
The Black Death? This ironic reference to the bubonic plague that swept Europe in the 14th century refers to the breakdown of the refrigerant. The refrigerant is a mixture of coolant and water that is spread throughout the car when the engine is started. A refrigerant breakdown means that the liquid will have seeped out of where it should be kept and begun damaging the compressor and other parts of the car. The compressor really is where all the damage emerges from, and soon enough particles of metal will spread through the A/C system and wreak havoc to various parts of the car and block the proper transference of the refrigerant. For anyone worried about the potential for ‘black death’ in their car it is recommended to book an A/C performance check with a local car mechanic.
Weak Airflow? The air might be cool, but it’s so w