As the summer rolls in, it is time for you to pop the hood, open the vents, and check for these signs of a properly functioning system. From there, you can determine whether your car is due for a tune- up or is ready to cruise in the summer sun. Below are some useful tips for making sure your air conditioning system is up to the task of keeping you cool this summer.
Get the most out of your car AC this summer with these tips on how to check your car AC
There are a variety of problems that can crop up in a car’s air conditioning system. Often the defect is minor, but sometimes, the problem is significant. Some of the most common issues that occur are when a car is not blowing out cold air, there is a rattling noise, or the air smells musty and stale.
1. Start your car AC on a low setting
The first car AC test is to check how your AC fans handle different speeds. Test the fan speeds to ensure they are all working – from low to medium to high. Turn the AC to the coldest setting and make sure all vents are blowing. Start on the lowest setting and adjust your fan accordingly. Turn your air on low and start warming up your engine by driving.
2. Make sure that your filter is clean and sound-free
You should change your air filter every 12,000 or so miles because of dirt and debris that can get in there and clog up your system. If there is a lot of dirt accumulated on your filter, it is about time you take your vehicle in for a filter change. You should also look out for unusual sounds coming from your car’s AC system. When you turn it on, there should not be any strange sounds coming from it at all. So, if you hear squealing, squeaking, or banging – this is an indicator that your system is not operating correctly. Listen for any noises or rattling under the hood. If you hear anything, it could mean that there is something broken or loose and should be checked out. It is important to change your cabin air filter regularly.
3. Check for odours and unusual sightings
If you smell a foul odour, it could mean bacteria or mildew is growing in your system, and you should have your car checked out. Car air conditioning should have a neutral scent. When there is mould, dust, and other things collected in your air conditioning system, this can often result in a musty smell. Along with odours, also check for unusual visuals. Like any other air conditioning system, the refrigerant is one of the essential parts for keeping your car cool this summer. Make sure your coolant stays dry. Condensation can cause severe damage to your engine. Take a quick peek at the sight glass under your hood; the refrigerant should be clean and clear of any bubbles or foam. If it has a milky-like substance, this means that liquid has gotten into it, and it will need to be replaced.
4. Keep an eye out for leaks
In order to cool your car, the air conditioning components rely heavily on refrigerant. Without enough refrigerant, other components of the air conditioner will not work properly. To check for refrigerant leakage, you need to use a fluorescent leak tracer on your vehicle’s AC unit.
To identify the leak, you will need yellow glasses and UV light. Use a UV torch to shine a light on the compressor, along the pipework of the AC, its condenser, etc. A yellow glow is a sign of a leak.
5. Ensure the compressor is functioning properly
If you want to know how to check the AC in your car, the compressor is probably the best place to start. To check if the compressor is running, you will need to locate the air conditioner in the engine bay and try to see if the center pulley is turning along with the pulley itself. If the AC and the blower are on, but the pulley isn’t rotating, it may indicate that the compressor’s clutch isn’t engaged. Common causes for this are a broken AC pressure switch, a faulty fuse, a wiring problem, your vehicle being low on refrigerant, or your AC requiring charging.
Other ways to prepare your car for hot weather
While a functioning AC is probably one of the most important considerations for driving in comfort during the scorching summer months, there are numerous other things to keep an eye out for when preparing your car for summer.
Check Your Tires
Swap out your winter tires: Canada is known as the land of ice and snow, so we have special tires to help us navigate those conditions. If your car is sporting winter tires, you should swap them out for either summer tires or all-season tires. Both these tire options are more rigid and will be better equipped to ensure your car is ready to handle the hot asphalt.
Have you rotated your tires? Rotating your tires (switching your front and back tires) can help improve your car’s gas mileage, as well as its performance and safety in the warmer summer temperatures.
Check the tire pressure: It is important to inspect all four tires as well as the spare (if you have one). Check for sidewall bulges, cuts, or gouges. As needed, inflate the tires to the pressure recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. It will be listed on the sticker on the driver’s side door jamb and in the owner’s manual.
Feel and hear your brakes
When you apply the brakes, if you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration, you should get your brakes inspected. A professional will be able to check the brake system for any fluid leaks or problems with the pads, shoes, drums, or rotors.
Top up your engine oil and other important fluids
You need to check that the fluid levels in your car are at the correct levels to operate your vehicle safely. This includes coolant, brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid. Be sure to use products that meet the specifications listed in the owner’s manual when adding fluids.
Don’t sweat it! Have your AC checked over and professionally serviced before the summer heat arrives. CRS Automotive can handle your car’s air conditioning service and take care of any other car maintenance necessary to keep your vehicle running cool and smoothly all summer long. For more information, contact us today and book an AC service.