• air conditioning

Why do I need to have my cars air conditioning serviced?

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Updated 17 Nov 2020

Chris Notte

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Air conditioning systems are like a lot of things in life that we take for granted until they no longer work.

And like the battery that dies only when it’s raining, when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and when your phone has just died, the A/C always tends to stop when it’s hot!

Keeping the system well-maintained is, then, pretty important.

You’ll certainly appreciate that you have done so on those steaming summer days.

When should you service your A/C?

First of all, to reduce the chance of premature failure or the need to service you’re A/C, there is one thing you can do that costs nothing.

Just turn it on. That’s it.

Why? Well, the A/C system is filled not only with gas but oil too - oil that helps keep the compressor and other moving parts lubricated and prevents leaks by keeping the seals and the lines from drying out.

When you run the A/C regularly, parts are kept moving and well-oiled.

And you should use your A/C in all seasons, not just when it’s hot. Running the A/C in winter will help keep it in tip-top shape.

Outside of turning it on all-year round, your A/C would be better off with a service every 12 months.

Depending on the age of your car, all that may be required is a performance check – an examination that includes a visual leak check, pressure check and temperature check.

Generally, however, your service provider will re-gas and service your system by doing the following:

  • Remove any remaining gas from the system and safely dispose or recycle it.Fill the system with new approved gas, oil, and a dye that, with the help of UV light, will find the smallest of leaks.

  • Check the system with special equipment, as well as visually using the UV light, whilst checking the pressures and seeing what temperature the system reaches. This last result will depend on ambient conditions of the day.

  • Other checks and tests may include inspecting and replacing the cabin filter and, in other cases, replacing the receiver dryer which helps filter the system and remove moisture.

What's that smell?

Sometimes, your A/C may appear to be working properly but a particularly unpleasant odour is being emitted by the system.

This does not necessarily mean your A/C has a leak. Rather, the cause may be a bacteria build-up on the evaporator located behind the dash.

This build-up is caused from changing temperatures that allows moisture to collect on the evaporator forming a nice environment for bacteria to grow.

If you turn your A/C on and you get that musty smell, you may need an anti-bacterial service.

This generally involves using a non-intrusive machine that uses chemicals to kill the bacteria, removing the odour.

So, if you are starting to notice your A/C is just not as cold as it used to be, get it serviced before the thermometer hits 40 degrees!

If your A/C stinks, get an anti-bacterial service.

if it’s working fine, awesome, but don’t forget to turn it on and give it a run, even in winter.

If you do, your system will be ready to keep you and your precious cargo cool come summer!

You can find the best mechanic to get your air conditioning serviced on AutoGuru. We’ve got awesome high-quality air conditioning mechanics near you!

Thumbnail image: 20th Century Fox Television

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Written By

Chris Notte

Chris Notte has had a curiosity and passion for fixing things since his childhood.

Learning to drive around the age of six, he recalls dropping the clutch so hard he put the cooling fan through the radiator.

From that point on, his passion for fixing things was focused on cars.

A trained technician, Chris has now worked in the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is the Managing Director of AutoplusWA, a family-owned business that offers a comprehensive range of mechanical, auto electrical and 4x4-specific services.

He is also chairman of AASDN WA, a not-for-profit group of automotive workshops committed to helping each other and the automotive industry.

He lives in WA with wife Sarah and their two children.