There is nothing as bad as sweltering in your car, this week Suzanne Keane gives you a short guide to how air conditioning works
Air-conditioning is a luxury that comes as standard in most new cars these days, and like everything else needs regular servicing…. but it’s not until we get a rare heatwave that you will notice it’s not working 100% – and as DIY recharge kits have sold out as quickly as paddling pools in the last week it’s safe to assume that by the time you notice it’s not cooling the car it’s too late!!
So how does it work?
Air-conditioning uses refrigeration to chill the incoming air – taking advantage of the fact that when a liquid converts to a gas it absorbs heat – therefore cooling the air around it. Your air conditioning systems consists of a closed system of coils which forces this process to repeat over and over again – hence cooling the air coming into the car via the air vents and basically turns the car into a big fridge!
Why does it need to be serviced?
If your air conditioning is working properly the air you feel coming out of the vents will be cold, very cold – like putting your hand in the fridge.
If it isn’t cold your gas probably needs to be replaced or topped up. You can buy DIY kits for this but after some research at the weekend unless you’re doing 2 or more cars this generally works out more expensive than going to a specialist. If you do fill your own gas make sure not to overfill as this will reduce the performance of your a/c rather than help it!
If refilling the gas doesn’t work there could also be issues such as a leak in the system, bad switches, fuses, broken wires or broken fanbelt (a serious one). Worst case scenario your compressor could have given up….
If you feel your air-conditioning isn’t working like it should it’s best not to use it at all until you get it looked at. Even just having it on with the gas running low can cause other more serious issues in your a/c system! Wait until our Irish climate gets back to normal and i’m sure there will be plenty of special offers available so you can gets yours sorted out before the next heat wave!!
15th of July, 2013