What's Involved in Servicing Your Car's Air Conditioning Pierre SD

While most newer vehicles may simply be able to get away with having their A/C recharged, older cars and trucks may require a little extra attention. If you're confused by the laundry list of parts your mechanic says you need, don't worry, DriverSide is here to help.

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What's Involved in Servicing Your Car's Air Conditioning

What's Involved In Servicing Your Car's Air Conditioning By Zach Bowman, DriverSide Contributing Editor 
Summer is here in a big way, and that means your vehicle's air conditioning system is going to be under a serious strain before long. If you haven't had your system serviced in a while, now's the time. While most newer vehicles may simply be able to get away with having their A/C recharged, older cars and trucks may require a little extra attention. If you're confused by the laundry list of parts your mechanic says you need, don't worry, DriverSide is here to help.
 




If you think your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, you may be able to get away with simply recharging your system. While manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, researchers have found it is a leading cause of ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in your car today. Since as late as 1994, manufacturers have used R-134a to keep things frosty in the cabin. 
 
While you can technically recharge your vehicle's refrigerant yourself, its best left to a qualified professional if you're not confident in vehicle maintenance . All refrigerants have a tendency to displace oxygen, which means if you accidentally evacuate the system, the stuff could literally push the air out of your lungs. Not fun. Once you take your car to a shop, most technicians will measure the amount of pressure in your system, and if it's low, they'll add enough to get the reading within your manufacturer's specifications. They will then run your car for a few minutes with the A/C on high and use a special thermometer to measure the system's output. If it's not within the necessary parameters, you may have a leak somewhere in your system.
 
If you do have a leak, your technician will hook your vehicle up to a special refrigerant recovery system and drain any of the harmful gas from your car. At this point, most responsible shops will inspect all of your air conditioning hard lines to make sure there are no obvious cracks. They may add a tracer dye to the system to help out. The good news is, your expensive hard lines are usually made of aluminum and rarely fail. Instead, it's likely one of your system's components is the culprit. First up is your compressor.
 
An air conditioning compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. Simply put, it's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. An A/C compressor spins at a dizzying rate, and the more you use the cool side of your thermostat, the more likely it is to eventually fail or leak. One of the main differences between R-12 and R-134a is that the new refrigerant requires supplementary oil to be added to the system to make everything function. R-12 did not. If your compressor has run low on oil, it's possible the interior ...

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