We’re here to explain the benefits of getting your air conditioning system regularly serviced. Like most other parts of your vehicle, your air conditioning system is subject to wear and tear over time. When getting your air conditioning system serviced, technicians are assessing the various components of the systems to ensure everything is operating as it should be.
With so many parts and pressurised components, regular maintenance is one of the best preventative measurements you can take to avoid costly repairs.
How often should I get my air-con serviced?
We recommend getting your air-con system serviced every two years. Over time, things like moisture, dust, debris, pet hair and bacteria build up in the various components in your air conditioning system.
If left unchecked, these buildups can cause damage to major components and result in costly replacement or repairs. With regular maintenance, these components can be inspected and any potential issues can be identified at an early stage.
What do we do during an air-con system service?
Contrary to what many people believe, there is much more involved in an AC service than just a simple regas, or top-up. During our air conditioning service, and before we regas the system, we complete the following:
- We check the temperature of the air conditioning
- We check the system for its pressure levels
- We inspect for any leaks, if UV dye is present, and also oil stains;
- We recover all the gas from the system
- We pressure test the system with nitrogen
- If the system holds pressure, we evacuate the system and then regas the system with R134A and UV dye.
In addition to the standard air conditioning service, we can also provide replacement carbon filters and antibacterial treatments.
How do we identify leaks?
As I mentioned, one of the steps in our air conditioning service is to add UV dye when regassing the air con system. If there is a leak in your system, as the refrigerant evaporates away, the oil dye mixture leaks into the engine bay and leaves a traceable stain. Shining an ultraviolet light near the various components will show where the leak is.
The other method that we use is a sniffer. A sniffer is an electrical tool that will basically take a measurement of the air sample around it and detect if there’s any refrigerant in it. This will give us an indication of where the leak is, so to look closer.
What happens if there’s a leak or fault in my air conditioning system?
If a technician identifies a leak or fault, we are unable to regas the system due to licencing restrictions on the refrigerant used in air conditioning systems.
The gas that is inside a car’s air conditioning system is known as R134A. R134A is an ozone-depleting substance and synthetic greenhouse gas, and if released in the atmosphere, it can damage the ozone layer and have a negative impact on the environment. As ARCTick licenced technicians, we are required by law to fully inspect and repair any leaks prior to putting in any refrigerant back in our system.
So what are the dangers of running your air conditioning system when it’s low on gas?
One of the most important we recommend is not to wait for your system to fail to get it checked out. If you notice slight changes in airflow, sounds, temperature or smells, get your air conditioning system checked out as soon as possible. Usually, by the time you notice a change in temperature, the system has already lost some refrigerant.
Our advice: don’t wait until it stops working, because the chances are you will be up for a major repair if it gets to that point.
So when your air conditioning’s running low on gas, it’s also running low on lubricant. I’ve got this here to show you. Basically what happens is inside your compressor, and there are lots of different variations in compressors, but the simple crux of it is, it’s full of seals. Some can be ceramic, porcelain and other materials.
When those seals breakdown from lack of lubrication, it goes throughout your entire system. When a compressor fails, it’s not often that you need to replace just the compressor.
Quite often you need to replace the compressor, condenser, and TX valve. The condenser is the part in front of the system that removes all the heat, but it’s full of small little fins and all the debris from those seals can get in those fins. And on the modern vehicle, your condenser’s behind your bumper bar, so quite often then it means bumper bar off, condenser off, and new condenser. So waiting until it fails can mean that it cost you an awful lot more money.
The best thing I can recommend is if there are any changes or it’s due for a service, come down and see us. Give us a call at 1300 227 353 or email us at [email protected].