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Auto AC Repair and AC Check Services

Our certified technicians can perform many air conditioning services from testing and regular maintenance to complete A/C system repair. A Meineke Car Care Center near you can check your vehicle’s system, quickly diagnose the problem and provide cost-effective repair solutions.

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Car Air Conditioning Repair Inspection

Vehicle air conditioning repair can include a variety of tasks ranging from small to large-scale. Everything from an annual inspection or performance check to diagnosis and replacement of system components can be completed at your local Meineke shop by a qualified technician. Regular inspections help ensure cooling efficiency and identify possible refrigerant leaks. Additional services your vehicle might need include:

  • System fan level check
  • System PSI pressure reading to verify Freon level
  • Output temperature check
  • Blower fan and compressor examination to ensure proper operation
  • Belts and hoses inspection to discover indications of aging and potential failure
  • Diagnosis of possible problems with faulty switches, fuses, wiring, the condenser, or internal compressor seal failure

Car AC Recharge Service

While a car’s air conditioning system is sealed, leaks can still occur. When that happens you need an air conditioner recharge, which includes:

  • Recharging with additional refrigerant to bring pressure up to specifications
  • Introduction of fluorescent dye to visually reveal system leaks

Meineke auto A/C recharge services include everything from inspection to repair. So, if your A/C has developed problems and you would rather be cool than cooked, let the highly trained and experienced technicians at Meineke have a look.

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AC Service FAQs

The compressor, the “heart” of the car’s air conditioning system works like a pump taking refrigerant, (R-12 in older cars, R-134a in 1995 and newer cars) and pressurizing it, passing it along to the evaporator.

Common signs include higher than normal cabin temperatures, loud noises when the compressor is running, and the compressor clutch not moving.

  1. First you are going to locate these specifications for the exact vehicle you will be performing the task on. You will need to know the oil type, weight of the oil, the amount of refrigerant in the system, and what type of system it is (TXV or Orifice Tube).
  2. Next start the vehicle and let it run until it is at proper operating temperature.
  3. Now that you have located all of the information that you need and properly warmed the vehicle up, you will need to locate the high side and low side ports. The high side will have a red cap on it, and the low side will have usually a black or blue cap. You may want to consult the service manual for the location of these to save time.
  4. Next you will want to connect the red hose from your A/C Recovery System to the high side port, and then you will want to connect the blue hose to the low side port.
  5. Once you have the hoses connected, open the caps all the way by turning the valves open.
  6. Now that your hoses are connected the sides should both have pressure on the gauges. I am assuming that you already discovered that the system needed to be recharged, so I will not go into great detail on the differences in the gauges throughout the procedure.
  7. Before starting the machine, you will want to take a note on how much oil is in the tank on the side, because after you are done you will then compare the levels to see how much oil you need to add.
  8. You will also want to identify and make sure that there are no sealants in the a/c system, these can damage recovery equipment and the system needs to be equipped with a filter if dealing with sealants.
  9. Now you are going to want to turn the AC Recovery System on. It will basically walk you through the steps. You will want to push the recover button on the machine.
  10. The machine will begin recovering the refrigerant. You will notice that the pressure is dropping. You may want to take a heat gun to the receiver dryer/accumulator to help in recovering all of the refrigerant.
  11. Once the AC Reclaimer is done it will automatically shut off. At this point you will want to look at the pressure. It should be a vacuum which means it is below zero. If you have removed all of the refrigerant then it should stay below zero for five minutes. If it goes above zero then restart the recovery.
  12. Once you have finished recovering all of the refrigerant you will want to write down the amount that the AC Recovery recovered. You will also want to check the oil level and determine how much oil was recovered also.
  13. Now before recharging the system you will need to add the proper oil and the amount needed to make up for the amount recovered. You will always want to add one more ounce than you need to the fill container. This is because when filling the system with oil, a hose sucking air will lead to air in the system and the system will need to be recovered again. Add the oil you need plus one ounce. Press the inject oil button and hold watching the container until you have added the amount that you have removed. Once you have added the oil that you recovered you can pour the extra ounce back into the bottle where it came from.
  14. Finally you will want to set your A/C recover machine to the amount of charge that your vehicle needs. Once you have done this let the system charge the vehicle. Be careful you do not want to bump the machine.
  15. Once the AC Robinair Reclaimer is done it will tell you what to do with the hoses, and how to properly remove them. You will need to follow the machines instructions and remove both the high side and low side hoses.

A/C Recharge Steps to Run a Performance Test - NEW ADDITION TO FAQ
Now that you have recharged your a/c system you are going to want to do a performance test on it to make sure that it is working properly and in good performance. You will want to look up in the service manual for the exact procedure. Here is a basic procedure that may be applied to most vehicles.
The Procedure

  1. You will need to acquire an A/C gauge set to read the pressures. Once you have properly connected the gauge set to the vehicle and opened the valves you will want to read pressures.
  2. Now you are going to want to start the vehicle and turn it to MAX AC and RECIRCULATE with the blower on the highest setting.
  3. Now allow the vehicle to run for five to ten minutes to allow it to heat up to operating temperature. Once the vehicle has you will want to take note of the high and low side pressures on the gauges. Check this to match the specifications within the service manual.
  4. Now you will need to acquire a thermometer such as this ATD Digital Thermometer. You will need to take your thermometer and place it in front of the condenser. You will record the temperature of the air coming into the condenser. Then with the car still running on all of the settings above take the thermometer and stick in the center dash with the air coming out of the ducts. Record the temperature. There should be at least a temperature difference of 30 degrees F.
  5. Next take your thermometer and measure the temperature of the condenser outlet and inlet tubes. You want to measure the temperatures as close to the condenser as you can. Record both of these temperatures. You will then want to subtract the inlet temperature from the outlet temperature and you should get a difference of between 20 and 50 degrees F. If you have less than the 20 degree difference then this could be due to a poor condenser air flow or a possible overcharge. If you have a difference over 50 degrees then you may have a possible restriction inside the condenser or a possible undercharge.
  6. Finally if you can get to the inlet and outlet tubes of the evaporator then measure the temperatures as close as possible to the evaporator. Once you do record the temperatures for the inlet and outlet. If everything is perfect you don’t want any difference in the temperatures. If you have a 5 degree F or greater temperature difference on the outlet than on the inlet you may have a possible under charge. If you have an outlet temperature that is 5 degrees F or greater than the inlet temperature then you may have a possible overcharge.

The most common practice is to add a special dye to the air conditioning system. This dye is usually very difficult to see with the naked eye, but will glow brightly and obviously when illuminated by an ultraviolet (UV) light. To discover where your refrigerant leak is coming from, add UV dye to your air conditioning system and enough refrigerant to ensure the compressor actually turns on. While the engine is running, have a friend turn on the air conditioning and blower. While he turns the AC on, watch the front of the compressor in your engine bay. The belt should always be spinning the AC compressor pulley, but right when the AC is turned on, the front of the compressor pulley should begin to turn as well. If you can see this happen, then you can ensure refrigerant, and your newly added dye is circulating through your air conditioning system.
After leaving the motor running for a few minutes, up to a few days of driving time with the air conditioning on, park your car in a very dark place like a garage with the lights off. Shine your UV light around the engine bay focusing on the air condition lines around the compressor and the condenser at the front of the car. If you don’t see where the dye is leaking from, don’t forget to check the expansion valve and dryer under your hood. If you still haven’t found the leak, check inside your vehicle under the dash. The evaporator will be under your dash usually just after the fan blower motor and the heater core. This may be more difficult to find but you may find dye in the air vents, on the carpet, or on the cabin air filter.

Repairing a cars A/C condenser is not a recommended practice. If there is an issue with the condenser, replacement is the best approach for both customer and shop. To replace the A/C condenser you must follow these steps:

  • Install an AC gauge set to measure the pressure.
  • Inspect the condenser for leaks.
  • If condenser is bad, remove all of the refrigerant.
  • Remove and replace condenser.
  • Evac and recharge the AC system.
  • Leak check for any system leaks.
  • Check for proper operation of the AC system.

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