5 Signs you need a car air conditioning service

Fir Tree Motors – Your guide to car air conditioning re-gassing, cleaning and repairing

Your car air conditioning is a great tool in helping you to remain cool on the roads in the warmer summer months and to demist your windscreen in the winter. Air conditioning is a bit of a luxury, but most cars are built with air conditioning embedded into the system which can help to remain comfortable in your car, especially when you’re stuck in traffic. A car air conditioning service helps to keep the system working efficiently all year round and can actually help save you money on fuel and repairs.

A woman turning on her air conditioning

So, when was the last time you had a car air conditioning service? At Fir Tree Motors, we see a lot of people coming in for their annual car service that don’t realise your air conditioning isn’t part of the service. You need to book a separate appointment and it is recommended your air conditioning is changed every 2 years or so.

We’ve put together a list of things you need to look for that indicate you need to get your car air conditioning system checked out. Here are 5 signs you need an air conditioning service:

1. The air isn’t cold

If your air conditioning system is still (sort of) working but the air coming out of it isn’t cold enough to do its job, then your refrigerant may need to be topped up of recharged. If you don’t use your car air conditioning for long enough particularly in the winter months or on shorter trips, the problem can go unnoticed. As a result, turning your air conditioning on in the summer months, when you need it the most can be rather unpleasant if it’s not working!

2. Bad odour

If there is a bad smell coming out of your air con system, it can mean that your system just needs a good clean. Over time dust and dirt can pass through the system and get stuck. If this is the case the bacteria builds up and can cause a foul smell, a bit like mildew, that comes out when you turn the system on.

3. It’s making a rattling sound

Your air conditioning isn’t just joining in with the music coming from your car radio – if you hear a rattling or banging sound coming from your air con, it can mean that the condenser or fan belt could be worn out or debris could be clogging the system somewhere. In this case, you might also notice some condensation on the dashboard or the cold air taking longer to come out than normal.

4. Weak or no air coming out

Sometimes leaks are caused in the system, which can cause your car’s air conditioning to stop working as efficiently as it used to. It can also indicate a more serious problem including compressor malfunctions. So, what causes your car air conditioning system to leak? Well, it’s mainly two things, moisture and age. Some of the lines within your air conditioning are made from rubber, which decomposes over time after being in contact with heat and moisture. This can, therefore, cause the seals or hoses to cause a leak and the refrigerant escapes out the system. Similarly, if the system is contaminated with moisture, it can affect other parts within the air conditioning.

5. Condensation

Condensation in your car, particularly coming from the dashboard, can indicate there’s something wrong with your air conditioning system. Your air con contains a number of different components that helps it to function including a compressor, condenser, refrigerant and evaporator. It goes through a complex system of changing the gas to liquid and back to gas whilst cooling the air. If there is water dripping from your car, it can mean that a hose is blocked somewhere within the system. This can then affect carpets and the interior and cause damp.

Whether your air conditioning is struggling to generate enough energy to fully function, projecting hot air out into the body of the vehicle or a funky strange smell released when the system is on and running, your air con is trying to tell you that it needs a service. A car air conditioning service can actually help save you more money in expensive repairs and helps with fuel efficiency.

All systems will have about 10-20% of their refrigerant escape from the system every 1-2 years, so most of the time a simple service is required where the air conditioning is recharged and topped up with refrigerant. At Fir Tree Motors, we recommend getting the system serviced regularly to avoid major repairs, like the ones we mentioned earlier.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your car booking in for a car air conditioning service before the summer hits. You can book online at your local West Drayton garage with just a click of a button.