When the temperature is on the rise and you’re in the car, there’s nothing better than a cool blast from the air con to make your journey more comfortable. If you’re heading off on a staycation this year, it’s worth checking your air con is fully functional before you load up the car and head off. We’ve put together a handy checklist to work out if you need to book a car air con service.
How To Tell If Your Air Con Needs To Be Serviced
Before you hit the road, there are a few checks you should carry out to determine whether the air con in your car needs a service. In order to perform your manual assessment, you’ll first need to turn the engine on.
1. Switch your air con on and set it to a low temperature, then take note of whether the air being blown out is cold. Air con relies on refrigerant to fully function, so if the air’s not cool, it may need to be topped up or recharged, a process known as ‘car air con regassing’. This is one of the major tasks performed as part of a car air con service.
2. If you turn your air con on and feel a low powered jet of air, or nothing at all, then there could be a car air con leak. This can be caused by either age or moisture, which will be assessed by a mechanic during a service.
3. Aside from the sound of a gentle breeze, your air con shouldn’t make a noise. If it does start to rattle, it could be a sign there’s a mechanical malfunction. This can be looked at when you have your system serviced.
4. Check your windscreen and dashboard to see if there’s any signs of condensation. If you find any then it can mean there’s an issue with your air con system, which will be resolved as part of your service.
5. When air starts to flow out of your car’s vents, it should be scentless. If you detect a bad odour then that’s an indicator that your air con needs a service. Over time, dirt and dust can get caught up in the system and will need to be cleared out during a service.
6. Finally, listen under the bonnet for the compressor. The air conditioning compressor should make a clicking noise, this sound is the compressor engaging and disengaging.
How Often Should Your Car Air Con Be Serviced?
When you send your car in for its annual MOT, it’s important to remember that your air con won’t be tested. This is down to the fact that it’s seen as a non-essential component and not something that’s considered when it comes to checking your car’s general condition. If your refrigerant starts to run low, then it can affect your fuel efficiency. As a result, it’s important that you make sure to book your vehicle in for a specialist air con service.
In order to keep your air con running at its best, and to ensure that it doesn’t cause any potential long term issues, it’s recommended that you have it serviced on average every two years.
What Is An Air Conditioning Service?
UK garages offer a variety of air con packages, however, most will typically include:
-Recharge of the refrigerant
-Replenishing the systems lubricant
-Vacuum test for leaks within the system
-Evacuation of moisture from within the system
How Much Does An Air Con Service Cost?
The cost of an air con service varies, due to the fact that cars have different systems and require different refrigerants. There are two refrigerants used by cars: R1234YF and R143A.
R143A is used in cars that were built before 2014 and it costs around £60 for an air con service. It has a global warming potential (GWP) of 1430. This means that it creates direct greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the total CO2 equivalent emissions – such as the carbon footprint – of mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems over their lifetime.
R1234YF was brought in as a more environmentally friendly gas, as a result of the EU Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) Directive of 2006. It became a permanent feature in cars that were manufactured after 1 January 2017, with the target of reducing GWP down to 150. This gas is more expensive to recharge, with an air con service costing around £130. It’s important to note that R1234YF can’t be retrospectively fitted in older vehicles.
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