The Dos And Don’ts Of Car Air Conditioning

Woman turns on air conditioning in a car

Automobile air conditioning systems can be costly to repair and replace, which is why you want them to last as long as possible. To do this, below are a list of car air conditioning dos and don’ts that you should always keep in mind when operating your vehicle.

Things You’ll Want to Do

Check Your Refrigerant Levels Periodically

The refrigerant level which is present within your vehicle’s A/C system will usually remain optimal for a few years. However, leaks are common issues that can occur due to things such as small openings which are difficult to visually detect. Even if your compressor is working, there are components connected to it that will sustain wear and might eventually leak. Experts recommend checking your refrigerant levels every six months, but you can also check them during your yearly car inspection.

Be Sure to Use the Right Refrigerant

If you decide to refill the refrigerant yourself, it is absolutely critical that you use the correct version, as using the wrong one can completely destroy your vehicle’s air conditioning systems. Pre 1994 vehicles use R-12, most cars manufactured after 1994 use R134a, and the newest models use R-1234yf. If you’re not certain which one your vehicle uses, check the manual or contact the manufacturer.

Keep the Vehicle’s Interior Well Ventilated

Those that drive at least fifty miles on a weekly or monthly basis should take time to let the interior of their vehicle air out. This is because doing so will disinfect the cabin and prevent the onset of mold and mildew which often accumulate inside the air conditioning system. Just leaving the windows open for a couple of hours in a safe location is a great way to air it out.

Things You’ll Want to Avoid

Running the A/C While the Refrigerant Levels are Low

If you operate the vehicle’s air conditioning while the refrigerant is low, the seals might leak and dry out. Worse, the compressor will have to work harder which will increase its likelihood of becoming damaged, which would prevent the A/C from operating,

Removing the System Valve Caps

Those that enjoy tinkering with their automobile’s A/C system might be tempted to remove its system valve caps; don’t.  Since the refrigerant is usually held beneath high pressure, doing so can lead to serious burns and if the substance gets into your eyes you could suffer blindness.

Using Leak Stoppers, Boosters, Cleaners or Enhancers

The problem with using leak stoppers is that they may clog essential components like an expansion valve, condenser or evaporator. In fact, experts state that it can reduce the overall efficiency of your vehicle’s air conditioning by ten percent, and some technicians will not service a system that has been exposed to them.

Delay Getting Your A/C Repaired

When some drivers encounter a problem with their air conditioning, they roll down their windows and put off repairing it. While this is understandable if you’re strapped for cash, the thing to remember is that modern automobile A/C systems are interconnected with other vehicle components and depending on the problem, the damage can spread to other parts of the vehicle that may shut it down completely, and the cost to repair it will be much higher than it would have been had you repaired the A/C earlier.