Most people don’t service their air conditioning until after it fails. Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well.
Along with the refrigerant, a special oil circulates in the system. The oil lubricates air conditioning components and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil mean that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and we all know that air conditioning repairs can be costly.
Air conditioning service starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear.
The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired, and the system is retested. The technician will also perform a temperature drop test.
If needed, the old refrigerant is evacuated, and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test ensures that the air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.
How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your service advisor can tell you. It’s typically every two years.
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