Car Air Conditioning FAQS
You ought to send your vehicle to a reputable workshop such as Vermont Automotive Services (AU49766) on a regular basis to make sure the air conditioning system continues performing in top conditon as well as having the mechanics appraise the condition of the whole vehicle.
Repco Authorised Service mechanics perform a 65 point Vehicle Inspection with every service and are able to give you a heads up about any components that may need to be replaced in the near future or those that are already worn beyond repair.
Vermont Automotive Services care about the environment and have Arctick Authorisation (AU49766) to reliably and responsibly conduct automotive air conditioning service in and around Vermont and the surrounding areas.
Air Conditioning FAQ's
How does Car air conditioning work so efficiently?
A car air conditioning system could be seen as having four basic parts - a pump, driven by a belt and known as a compressor (to compress and ciculate refrigerant gas), a radiator like unit called a condenser to release heat and condense gas to a liquid, an expansion device, called a thermal expansion valve (TXV) or an orifice tube (dependent on the sort of A/C system used). Systems using orifice tubes also have an accumulator before the compressor to remove moisture from the refrigerant while TXV systems have a receiver-dryer before the evaporator to perform the same crucial task. Both the accumulator and receiver-drier are also used to store refrigerant.
An automotive air conditioner system is designed to extract excess heat from the air in the vehicle and transfer it out of the vehicle, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. Hot air is passed across a gas filled evaporator, where the heat is easily absorbed by the refrigerant (in gas form), effectively removing the heat from the air in the car.
The now heated gas is pulled through the compressor where it is further heated (via compression). The next stage involves the refrigerant being forced through the condenser to quickly extract the heat from the refrigerant. The refrigerant, now condensed to a liquid, then moves through the expansion device (either a TXV or Orifice tube), which regulates the flow of refrigerant going to the evaporator, changing the high-pressure liquid to a low-pressure mist (gas). A fan blowing over the cold fins of the evaporator produces the cold air being blown into the car and the entire process then begins all over again.
What happens during a car air conditioning service?
A typical air conditioner service may include some of the following items;
Air vent temperature assessment
Inspect condenser temperature
Test suction line temperature
Pulley and drive belt correction
Ensure correct operation of valves and thermostats
Confirm condenser fins are clean
Check condition of hoses and components
Evacuation and recharge of refrigerant (where required)
Use electronic leak detector to ensure no system lines and components leak
Why do I need a car air conditioner system service?
The oil level in the refrigerant passing through the compressor must be checked or changed to avoid it seizing up. If the air filters are choked with dirt and bacteria it will affect the performance of the entire system and it can even cause it to fail to operate completely. As well as inhibiting air conditioner performance, dirty air filters can cause all kinds of health problems too.
Your automotive air conditioning system must be checked for problems annually for any signs of decay of the hoses, connections and seals to ensure too much regfrigerant is not being lost over time. Regular service of your vehicle air conditioner keeps refrigerant at optimum levels meaning the system does not need to work as hard and this in turn protects the system from damage and means less fuel is being used.
Why does the car air conditioner need to be serviced?
An automotive air conditioner system is designed to extract excess heat from the air in the vehicle out of the vehicle, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. This is achieved using a special compound called refrigerant, capable of readily absorbing heat as a gas and quickly losing heat as a liquid.
Being exposed to the mercy of the elements and very extreme operating temperatures and being expected to operate occasionally rather than being 'Always On' can have a detrimental effect on the seals, hoses and connections. A vehicle air conditioning system should be examined on a regular basis to ensure there are no problems or refrigerant loss due to failure or leakage from these points.
Simply by cooling the air in your car under normal running conditions, the filters of the air con get dirty and intermittent use can cause seals to dry and crack, allowing them to leak. Even without leaks, the gas in a car air conditioning system will eventually begin to degrade or evaporate over time and should be recharged where required to keep the air con system in peak running condition.
Can I service my own air conditioner?
Only qualified mechanics with the appropriate training should attempt to service a car air conditioner. Specific licences are required to be able to service or repair some types of car air conditioning systems, especially where regas (recharging of the refrigerant) is concerned. Strict guidelines and procedures must be adhered to when handling certain refrigerants, which must always be fully recovered and not allowed to escape into the atmosphere during servicing.
Refrigerant can also pose serious health risks if handled incorrectly. Specialist equipment is also required as the air conditioning system is under extreme pressure and must be pulled into a deep vacuum to remove any moisture, to avoid seriously damaging the system. You can find out more about licensing on the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) Website.
What is creating the bad smell in car air conditioners?
The core of the evaporator can become a breeding ground for microbes, bacteria and even fungus due to the damp environment. This can lead to nasty smells and possibly even be bad for the health of any vehicle occupants. Modern evaporator units may be more efficient but they are often more likely to trap moisture allowing microorganism growth.
Vermont Automotive Services mechanics can use specialised ultrasonic technology to actively target any micro-organisms that may be the source of unpleasant smells or health issues.
Just ask about our MIST service, which will kill any bacteria that may be lurking in your car's air system. These bacteria can cause odours and even make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma. A MIST service doesn't just make your car smell better - it makes it healthier for you and your family.
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