For the system to work properly, several key components, including the compressor, condenser, evaporator, valves and hoses need to be in tip-top shape.
Firestone Complete Auto Care recommends having your air conditioning system serviced at the beginning of the warm season, or according to the vehicle's owner's manual, to ensure the refrigerant level in your vehicle is adequate and all of the system components are working properly. Although air conditioning systems are typically very reliable, they can break down.
Air conditioner warning signs include:
- The AC system doesn't cool to the desired temperature.
- Loud noises when you turn on the AC.
- Water on the vehicle's floor mats.
- Unusual odors coming from the vents.
- The vehicle overheats, stalls, or idles roughly when you turn on the AC.
- The blower doesn't work when you switch on the AC.
- Your defroster doesn't work.
If you notice any of these warning signs, ask your service provider to perform an AC performance check. In many cases, inadequate cooling is caused when refrigerant leaks through worn seals or loose fittings.
Although air conditioning systems are resistant to leaks and contamination, they are not leak-proof. Over time, contamination or leaks can appear and affect the cooling performance of your air conditioner.
During an AC performance check, your technician will inspect the air conditioning components and refrigerant for leaks and performance to make sure your vehicle is ready for the warm summer months.
Your technician may also suggest you change your cabin filter, which removes impurities from the air. You should change your cabin filter according to the maintenance schedule in the vehicle's owner's manual.
Before hitting the road this summer, beat the heat by taking your car into your local automotive service center to have your air conditioner checked-especially if you have black leather seats!
Trisha Hessinger is a former racecar driver and nationally recognized automotive education specialist for Firestone Complete Auto Care.