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A Quick Guide to A/C Maintenance and Repair

By maintaining your vehicle’s A/C and recognizing signs of trouble, you can ensure your vehicle keeps its cool throughout the sticky heat of Knoxville summers.

AAMCO Knoxville  | 06/28/2022  | Auto Repair & Maintenance

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A Quick Guide to A/C Maintenance and Repair

Why A/C Maintenance and Repair Is Important

Like any vehicle component, your A/C should be properly maintained throughout the year. Where a few reasons (and bonuses!) why A/C maintenance and repair are essential:

1. Avoid costly repairs - Some air conditioner components, such as the compressor, can be expensive to fix. You can save yourself from more serious repairs by keeping up with routine maintenance and knowing the warning signs of a failing A/C unit. 

2. Keep your mind on the road - Knoxville summers can be wretchedly hot and humid, causing discomfort and irritation. A properly functioning air conditioner can solve both problems, creating a better mood and focus on the road. 

3. Safety - Summer storms and sudden temperature drops can cause your windows to fog while driving. Your A/C removes humidity in the cabin and clears up fogged windows fast, increasing your visibility and safety. 

4. Fuel economy boost - Maintaining your A/C can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. When your A/C system is properly charged, and the compressor is working correctly, your engine has less strain, which helps save on fuel. With today’s gas prices, every little bit helps!

6 Symptoms of a Failing A/C

Here are some signs that your A/C may need to be serviced by a trained and certified technician.

1. Warm or hot air

The most common reason for warm air is low refrigerant caused by a refrigerant leak from a compromised hose or sealing ring. The other usual suspects are a damaged condenser, a  faulty compressor, or electrical issues. 

2. Reduced cooling

The condenser may be a component to blame if you are not getting cold air through your A/C. A damaged condenser, or one severely clogged with debris, will affect how the refrigerant flows and cools. Similarly, parts such as orifice tubes and expansion valves experiencing a blockage or leaking hoses could also have the same effect. 

3. No air

There can be a variety of different reasons why you are not getting air through your vents. A worn-out blower motor, blower resistor, or an electrical issue can all be reasons; or it could be the ductwork isn’t opening correctly and obstructs the flow of air or the power to the blower motor.

4. Unpleasant smells 

Getting a whiff of musty, sweet, or earthy odors can indicate a blockage in the air intake vent and the cabin air filter by dirt and debris, allowing all sorts of nasty things to grow. Other reasons could be that the A/C evaporator is leaking refrigerant, or engine coolant may be seeping into the A/C ducts from a leaking heater core. If you haven’t had your cabin filter changed in a while, now is an excellent time to freshen the air.

5. Unusual noises 

Typically, when you hear unusual or loud noises from your vehicle’s A/C, it is caused by a bad compressor or compressor clutch. If you hear a rattling noise, the compressor’s clutch, mount, or another hardware component may be to blame. If bearings are worn out, a squealing noise may result. 

6. Wet vehicle floor

Noticing water on your vehicle’s floor mat can mean debris is blocking your A/C’s condensate drain line. It could also mean that your condensate drain may not be adequately attached to the ventilation system. Additionally, low refrigerant due to a leak could cause lower pressure on your A/C system. A Low refrigerant charge and pressure can cause your evaporator coils to freeze, causing the condensate drain pan to overflow and leak water when it thaws.

Why You Should Always Get Your A/C Repairs Done by an Expert

Even if you are handy with most repairs associated with your vehicle, A/C issues should be left to an experienced technician certified and trained to do this type of work. Usually, when there is an issue with the A/C, most repairs require special equipment for testing, diagnosis, and recharging the system. Leaks can be difficult to spot because they are colorless and odorless; an A/C check involves using specialized equipment, including a dye and a UV light to detect refrigerant leaks. 

There are laws in the U.S. that must be followed when servicing air conditioning systems and reclaiming and recycling materials associated with the A/C. For example, it is illegal to let refrigerant vent from the vehicle’s AC system and escape into the atmosphere. It must be serviced properly using the proper approved equipment, and only by technicians HVAC tested and certified by the EPA.

Tips for Optimizing Your A/C

Be kind to your vehicle’s A/C system to ensure it’s in peak performance, especially during the hottest season of the year. Here are some tips to get the most out of your A/C this summer. 

Regular maintenance

Maintaining your vehicle's A/C unit will significantly reduce the chances of running into major A/C-related problems. Take the time to bring your vehicle to a technician for regular tune-ups, which include an A/C check. 

Moisture encourages the growth of bacteria and mold in your A/C. In the defrost setting, you can remove the moisture in the evaporator core by running the A/C occasionally while driving. 

Smart cooling

You can give your air conditioner a break by not turning it on the second you start your vehicle. Rolling down all the windows and driving for a few minutes to let the hot air escape can save your air conditioner from cooling down superheated air. Parking out of direct sun will make the cooling process easier. If it is sweltering outside, running the system in recirculation mode re-cools the air already in the cabin and prevents hot outside air from coming into the vehicle.

We’re Here to Help You Chill Out This Summer!

At AAMCO Knoxville, we can help with any A/C issues or concerns you may have. Make an appointment to have one of our expert technicians conduct an Air Conditioning Service Check to ensure proper operation of your A/C’s compressor, evaporator, condenser, and electrical controls. Visit your local AAMCO Knoxville Center or schedule an appointment today!

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