Focus on: Air Conditioning

Cool Cars….


Summer is great isn’t it!  It’s such a sociable time of year where many enjoy barbeques with family and friends, long walks, or perhaps even a cheeky drink at the local hostelry…  And, if you are lucky enough to own a convertible, the top comes down and it’s time to enjoy driving with the wind through your hair!  For those of us who don’t have this option, it is always a relief to turn on the Air Conditioning to help us feel a little more comfortable.

As we put more pressure on our air con, is also the most popular time of year for it to break down.  So, is there anything we can do to prevent this or is it as predictable as a nail in a tyre?!


The majority of vehicles are fitted with air conditioning or climate control systems.  Like other components in your car these need regular attention to ensure they are working efficiently.


Do I have to get my Air Conditioning Serviced?

Air conditioning, like the rest of your car, is mechanical and needs looking after.  It is not something that is covered in the regular service, so it can get overlooked.

The majority of manufacturers recommend an Air Con Service every 2 years as it is important for your health and 10% efficiency is lost every year.  In addition, without a service, you make the system work harder, which will in turn use more fuel!

It’s also a safety feature as a stable body temperature allows you to concentrate better on the road ahead.

The gas inside is clear and odourless and hard to see when it is leaking.  There are many things that can cause it to leak.  Among these are stones through the condenser which sits in front of the radiator on most vehicles.


Can I just have a re-gas/recharge?

Yes, it is recommended that you should recharge your air conditioning system every 2 years with gas and lubricant, in order to keep it running efficiently.  However, it is a complex system, so often re-gassing isn’t the reason it’s failed.  Just recharging the system may leave you needing another re-gas or recharge.  As with all things, regular maintenance is cheaper than fixing a repair at a later date.   Compare prices before you take the risk.  A service is often a more economical choice.


Where do I go?

You have to be licenced to refill air conditioning because it is a gas, so make sure your chosen garage/technician has the licence!

There are many reputable garages offering an Air Con Service which will involve:

  • A full visual inspection, temperature and leaks are checked. This will include the recovery of refrigerant, evacuation of air and moisture from the system.
  • Checking the compression of the gas – this is the first check to ensure you are receiving maximum efficiency.
  • Dye is run through the system, so that identifying any leaks becomes more obvious.
  • Filters are changed and pipes cleaned to ensure they are not clogged with pollen or bacterial build-up which may create unpleasant odours.
  • The refrigerant is recharged ensuring your engine isn’t under additional strain, using more fuel. A system that has not been recharged in 2 years will dramatically reduce its efficiency.  This should be done to manufacturer recommended levels.
  • The system is regased and fresh lubricants added.
  • The system is checked to ensure its efficiency

Beware!  Many garages offer this service, but do not have the knowledge or the capability to carry out any repairs.  This includes fast fit and mobile style garages.


Is there anything else I can do to ensure my Air Con is running efficiently?

Run your air conditioning at least once a week throughout the year.  It is a misconception that it is not fuel efficient to do this.  It is actually more costly to put it right!

It is a little known fact that although motorists mostly use their Air Con system more in the summer, it is also important in the winter.  It creates dry warm air rather than the humid air from outside.  This demists your car windscreen quicker!

Chill out this summer and ensure your Air Con is efficient.  If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your local garage or give us a call.  We are always happy to help and advice is free!!!



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