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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.
Most of us assume we know how the auto air conditioning system works. You press the button and your car’s air vents produce cool, refreshing air—right? Well, actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The quick synopsis: Your air conditioning unit produces air that’s actually quite hot, but through a multi-step system it’s both cooled down and also cleared of moisture and contaminants. This is a process that begins with your vehicle’s refrigerant and ends with cool air coming through the vents—providing you with a comfortable ride no matter the weather.
As for when it’s necessary to get your AC looked at, the short answer is: Any time you find that you’re not getting cool air like you used to. Additionally, it’s typically smart to have an AC check once or twice a year, as part of your preventative maintenance. This helps you keep ahead of any potential problems, resolving them before they turn into bigger or more expensive repair needs.
A lot of drivers have the auto air conditioning system all wrong. They assume it’s pretty straightforward, creating and then disseminating cool air. Actually, it’s quite a bit more complicated than that. In a multi-step process that begins at the compressor and ends at your air vents, the auto air conditioning actually creates warm air, then strips out all the moisture and contaminants—cooling and depressurizing it all the while. Obviously, this requires a lot of work, so it stands to reason that the auto air conditioning system might need to be inspected and repaired from time to time.
Certainly, you should be getting an AC check as part of your regular vehicle maintenance. This helps you to stay on top of any potential issues, and address small problems before they become big ones. Getting an AC check once or twice a year, perhaps when you get your oil changed or tires rotated, can be a great way to invest in the lifespan of your car.
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