There are a few specific things that can go wrong with your vehicle’s air conditioning. The biggest reason for a routine AC check is refrigerant; your vehicle will use up around 15 percent of its refrigerant each year, so eventually you’ll need to get that replaced. Also, each individual part of the air conditioner can sustain damage through everyday use, but a routine AC service check can help you identify problems and get minor repairs made before they snowball into big issues. How Often Do You Need an AC Recharge? Generally speaking, you’ll only need to get an AC recharge when you notice that the air isn’t as cool or as refreshing as it used to be. With that said, make sure you’re getting the unit inspected at least once a year, just to make sure there aren’t any underlying problems that need to be addressed.
Contrary to popular belief, your auto air conditioning doesn’t simply create cool air. Actually, the process is quite a bit more complicated and multifaceted than that. It begins when the compressor condenses your vehicle’s refrigerant—raising its temperature and sending it to the condenser, where it begins to lose heat. Passing through a dryer, the air is stripped of pollutants and airborne contaminants. In the accumulator, it’s cooled further still, and also depressurized. It eventually makes its way to the ventilation system, where it’s cooled down completely, and is released into your cabin as nice, refreshing air.
Your auto air conditioning system takes a lot of wear, day in and day out, so it’s only a matter of time before individual components can fall into disrepair. Routine air conditioning service helps you prevent this. Additionally, a regular AC recharge ensures that you don’t run out of refrigerant—which is vital for the regular functioning of your auto air conditioning.
The good news is that most vehicle owners don’t have very frequent auto air conditioning problems—and you can minimize the risk further still by investing in a routine AC check. Having an AC recharge every year or so is likely enough.
The question is, when is it time to get an AC check? For starters, you should get one any time you notice that your auto air conditioning isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. If there’s no cool air coming out, that obviously spells trouble. Moreover, it’s prudent to get an AC check as part of regular preventative maintenance—say, at the same time you have an oil change or tire rotation. This will help you spot any small problems before they turn into big ones.
How well do you understand the workings of your auto air conditioning system? Many drivers are surprised when they learn that their auto AC doesn’t simply push out cool air, but rather it starts with warm air, cools and depressurizes it, filters out its contaminants, and then—at the end of a multi-stage process—it finally pushes that cool air into the cabin of the vehicle. If that sounds like a laborious undertaking, well, it is. The auto air conditioning takes on a lot of wear and tear. It goes without saying, then, that regular maintenance is a must.
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