We all take our car’s air conditioning (and heating) for granted. Today, 99% of all vehicles are so equipped, however it wasn’t always that way. The 1940 Packard was the first car to offer factory-installed air-conditioning. By 1969, more than half of all new cars were equipped with A/C.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s cars not equipped with factory air, could order dealer-installed, under-dash units. After the freon used in A/C units was blamed for depleting the ozone layer in the 1980’s, automakers were required to switch from R12 to the less harmful R134a refrigerant. Today, dual-zone automatic climate control allows for separate temperature settings for driver and passenger and some cars have additional zones for rear-seat passengers.
What to look for
The biggest air conditioner maintenance and repair problem people experience is a lack of cold air. Although you can’t do much work on A/C systems yourself, there are some ways to help yourself be aware of what’s involved. Car air conditioning systems contain refrigerant under pressure, which can injure or blind you if it escapes, so be careful, don’t attempt to work on the air conditioner system or its hoses yourself!
But there are two simple things you can do safely, to help maintain your vehicles air conditioner, to make sure it will be ready when you need it –for the summer or any hot weather:
1. Clean leaves and twigs, dead bugs, and other debris from the surface of your A/C condenser using a soft brush (like a toothbursh) and water. (The condenser looks like a small radiator and is located in the front of the vehicle next to your engine’s radiator.) If your car has either no grille or a small one, you’ve got an “underbody breather.” This means that its not easy to get to the condenser and it’d be best to have us look at it.
2. Start the engine and turn the A/C on high, and then low, and then high again. Listen for the A/C compressor to click on and off, which will indicate that the compressor clutch is working correctly. If it does not click on and off, it may require service.
What we do at E.A.T.
Your car air conditioner is one of those things that makes driving so much fun, however, for those of us living in Southern California, we know that your car’s air conditioner better be working properly for our hot summers. The quality of your car’s A/C is the difference between a pleasant drive, and a miserable one. Here at Escondido Auto Tech, we service a lot of A/C systems, in fact its one of our specialties.
We will restore your air conditioner to optimum power, making driving a pleasant and ‘no sweat’ experience for you. Our auto technicians will repair your car’s system, and we’ll take the time to explain to you:
• What was wrong with your A/C
• What repair is needed to correct the problem
• How you can properly maintain your car air conditioner and avoid other problems ‘down the road’
If your car’s A/C is not blowing cold, come to E.A.T. in Escondido. Bring it in and let us have a look. We provide expert comprehensive auto maintenance services. Call or email us to learn more.