Here comes summer and the forecasters say that it is going to be even hotter than ever. Luckily, Australians can take advantage of that ever-so-important invention called air conditioning and it's something that is really important in your everyday runaround. However, if you remember back to last summer, do you suspect that something wasn't quite right with your car's A/C system? If so, you need to fix it before that heat really arrives this year. What could be playing up?
In many cases, the cause could be traced to a lack of refrigerant in the cooling system. Over many years of use this refrigerant will simply run low, perhaps due to a pinhole leak in part of the evaporator or condenser system. Many of the hoses are made of rubber and the seals can also perish, so your system does need to be checked for refrigerant from time to time.
Is the Compressor Working?
Have a look at the compressor before doing anything else. If there is a lack of refrigerant it probably won't turn on, as a safety switch is built in to try and save it from damage if the pressure is insufficient. If this safety switch wasn't there, the compressor could overheat and leave you with a big bill.
Check the Fuse First
If you turn the A/C on and nothing happens, have a look at the fuse first to see if it's okay. If the fuse has indeed tripped or blown, then changing it may get you back on the road. However, you need to look into the reason why the fuse failed in the first place.
If you can turn on the A/C and hear a high-pitched squeal, this means that the clutch is trying to engage, but the compressor may have seized. Unfortunately, this means a complete replacement is on the cards. Before you do replace a compressor however, have a look to see if there are any blocks in the system. You should also see if there are any pinhole leaks, faulty seals or O-rings.
Watching the Oil
An A/C system requires a certain type of oil if it's going to function properly. Be careful when you choose the oil as mineral-based products may not work in your car and this could lead to another failure.
Getting a Recharge
If the system seems to be okay mechanically, then it could be that it needs to be recharged. This is a way of reinserting pressure into the system and requires special equipment. Take the car into your local auto repair shop for this work and you will be able to give your system the once over to get ready for the dog days of summer ahead.