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auto maintenance June 08, 2019

Does Your Car's AC System Need Recharged?

Does your car's AC system need recharged?  It’s a good question and once we get on a pretty frequent basis from our customers.  The short answer is, it might. Sooner or later it certainly will, but how do you know?  If you’ve been wondering the same thing but weren’t sure who to ask, we’ll answer the question just below!

Does Your Car's AC System Need Recharged? – Here Are The Signs That Point To Yes

The first and most obvious sign that your vehicle’s air conditioning system needs some attention and a recharge is if you see any visible signs of refrigerant leaks.  AC refrigerant leaves a greasy film on the components of your system and most of the time, you’ll also spot small pools of refrigerant under your car when you leave it parked for any length of time.

If left unchecked, all the refrigerant will eventually run out of the vehicle and your air conditioning will stop functioning altogether.  Of course, if you see something like this, then a simple recharge isn’t going to be enough. There’s obviously something else going on, but don’t worry, AC repairs are on the list of the services we provide.  Just bring your car, truck, or SUV into our shop and we’ll get it taken care of for you.

Second, and perhaps the single most noticeable symptom is the fact that your vehicle’s air conditioning system simply stops cooling as well as it once did.  Your car’s air conditioner works by circulating pressurized refrigerant. As refrigerant begins to leak out, there’s less of it, so the total pressure drops, with a corresponding drop in the total cooling power of your system.

In this case, if you have a very slow leak, a recharge might be all you need for a season or two, but something’s causing it to leak out in the first place, so the superior solution would be to let us perform a check of the system so we can isolate and fix the problem before giving you a recharge.

Finally, the click.  You’ve almost certainly noticed that when you’ve got your air conditioner on and set to its lowest setting—maximum coldness--sometimes you’ll hear a clicking sound coming from the system.  That’s the AC clutch.

Your air conditioner constantly monitors the pressure of the coolant circulating through the system and periodically, the clutch will engage.  Unfortunately, the clutch is pressure dependent so again, if you’ve got a slow leak, you may stop hearing the clutch engaging reliably even before you notice a drop in the system’s cooling capacity.  When you stop hearing that familiar click, it’s time to bring your car in and let us have a look.

Whatever the source of your AC woes, the solution is simple.  Just call us to schedule your appointment or swing by our shop and let us have a look.

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