Auto Service World
News   December 6, 2022   by Auto Service World Staff

Get Ready For The Heat Wave: Tips For Recharging Your Car’s Air Conditioner


As summer approaches, average temperatures begin to rise. As a result, you start heavily using the air conditioner in your car, which in turn leads to higher chances of failure. Most car owners take their car’s air conditioner for granted, assuming it’ll operate efficiently without developing mechanical problems. Yet when it fails and requires repair, they become distressed.

To enjoy your car’s air conditioner during heat waves in summer, you’ll need to carry out regular maintenance. And the key aspect of air conditioner maintenance is recharging it when necessary. Mastering how to recharge your car’s air conditioner will ensure it runs effectively throughout. Here are six tips:

1. Monitor Your Air Conditioner’s Hose

The air conditioner hose helps in cool the car during heat waves. However, it’s susceptible to wear and tear, as it’s exposed to heat from your engine. If not maintained, the hose can deteriorate. 

Heat, age, and other combined forces are responsible for causing damage to your air conditioner hose. If this occurs, you’ll need to replace it for the air conditioner to be ready for the summer heat wave. Damage to the hose can occur in the form of a crack, damaged connectors, and refrigerant leak. If you suspect a problem in your hose, you might want to work with an experienced mechanic who can diagnose and fix the issue. 

2. Assess Your Air Conditioner

Before recharging your car’s air conditioner, you need to assess its status. You want to ensure that it’s is in good condition and ready for use during summer. To do that, run it for 10 minutes once a week. Doing this helps maintain gas pressure, allowing the compressor to run efficiently. Ensure that it runs at its maximum speed while performing this task.

You can visit website specializing on automotive parts and repairs to learn more on how to replace the air filters, as dirty ones inhibit the air conditioner from running efficiently. Additionally, ensure the engine fan and belt are running smoothly. This is vital for cars with electric cooling fans mounted on their radiator. If your fan is not running effectively, it builds up pressure in the system, which subsequently causes the hoses to burst.

3. Find Leaks Using Air Conditioner UV Dye

Finding leaks in an air conditioner can be challenging, but you can easily do so using UV dye. UV dyes work by going into the unit and dissolving the refrigerant. Afterward, you can shine a blacklight on the unit, allowing the leak to fluoresce.

With the leak visible, assessing the problem becomes straightforward; you can then devise effective methods to solve it. When using UV dye, ensure it’s solvent free, concentrated, and compatible with your air conditioner system’s refrigerant glasses. 

Solvent-free UV dyes protect your seals, hoses, and other sensitive parts against damage. Furthermore, the more concentrated the dyes are, the more efficient they become. 

4. Recharge Your Car’s Air Conditioner

Before you recharge your car’s air conditioner, you must have recharge kits. You need a rubber hose, pressure gauge, and refrigerant can. The hose usually comes attached to a gauge.

Turn your gauge anticlockwise or counterclockwise to retract a piercing pin. This pin is used in piercing your refrigerant can when needed. Take your hose, attach it to your pressure gauge, and tighten it using a screw. Note the day’s temperature and turn on the calibration dial on your gauge to match it. 

First, locate the low-pressure port on your air conditioner system and clean it. It is typically labeled ‘L’. Clean it before and after removing the top. Then, attach the hose to the low-pressure port and ensure it is attached safely.

Using your gauge, assess the pressure by starting the engine and turning your air conditioner to its maximum. Wait for the pressure to build and equalize to have a correct reading. 

After measuring the pressure, disconnect the hose from the port and retract the pin by tilting the gauge anticlockwise to avoid puncturing the refrigerant can. With that done, you can now start recharging your AC unit. 

Attach a rubber hose to the lower-pressure port while your car’s engine is off. Before spinning your gauge anticlockwise, give it a while and release the refrigerant into the unit. Monitor as the pressure gauge increases until the air conditioner system is full. Once full, disconnect the hose from the low-pressure port and put the cap back. Your air conditioner is now fully recharged.

5. Ensure The Air Conditioner Compressor Is Engaging

The air conditioner compressor is run by an accessory belt, which helps convert refrigerant liquid to gas. It features a clutch that spins along with the accessory belt once the unit works on high. 

If the refrigerant isn’t on low, you need to assess the compressor’s clutch and ensure it’s engaging when the system blows cold air slowly. When the AC clutch is not engaging, you’ll need to tighten it or replace it if necessary.

6. Clean The Condenser

A dirty condenser can be the primary reason behind your air conditioner’s poor performance. Cleaning the condenser enables the air conditioner to reach its optimum performance. By taking care of the condenser, you’ll greatly benefit from your efficiently running air conditioner during heat waves.

Although cleaning the condenser is vital, the process can be challenging. It features a mesh-like design behind your bumper. Depending on your car, you’ll be required to remove your bumper to access the condenser when cleaning it. 

Once you’ve accessed the condenser, spray it with clean water to eliminate dust and dirt. While cleaning it, don’t wet the wires in your engine bay, as it can result in a short circuit. Air-dry your condenser thoroughly once you’re done cleaning it.

7. Always Work With A Professional

When your car’s air conditioner requires more than just DIY repairs and maintenance, such as cleaning your condenser, you should consider hiring a professional. Otherwise, you may create more problems. It would be best to hire an auto shop with expertise in air conditioners who can help fix technical problems as soon as they arise.

You should always hire a professional when you want to:

  • Check the correct amount of refrigerant for your car.
  • Assess refrigerant leaks using dye detectors.
  • Secure refrigerant that must be removed from the unit instead of releasing it into the atmosphere illegally.
  • Measure airflow via the evaporator coil.

Takeaway 

Your car’s air conditioner is a blessing during heat waves and this is why you need to make sure it’s in top shape before summer officially starts and then throughout the season. If you have no idea on where to start, this guide rounds up useful tips you need to know. With these tips, you’ll be able to enhance the functionality and longevity of your car’s air conditioner. This is especially ideal if you reside in an area where summers can get really hot. 


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