It’s getting hotter and hotter outside and it looks like the right time to have your annual air-conditioning system check-up. One of the most important things to remember about is to have the AC system checked for leaks and, if necessary, refilled with the cooling agent.

AC in modern cars is a standard feature but it still needs to be attended to. If, however, you want to be sure that the air in your car is nice and clean, you must take good care of the cooling system. One of the most common causes of the air-conditioning system failure are leaks . They may decrease the system’s efficiency and result in serious malfunctions. The cooling agent is required for the proper operation of the air-conditioning system, but it also plays another important function, namely, it lubricates and seals up the AC system components (e.g. the compressor). In this respect it is similar to engine oil. Therefore, you should have its level checked and, If necessary, have it re-filled. A properly operating AC loses 10-15 per cent of the agent annually. So, doing nothing about it for 2-3 consecutive years may have serious consequences for the entire system. An insufficient amount of the cooling agent may cause the compressor to overheat, while an insufficient amount of lubricant in the system may cause the compressor to fail altogether. The AC won’t work properly if the level of the cooling agent is insufficient. A defective AC system affects the comfort of using a car.

What should an AC check-up procedure include

You should first find a garage that specializes in AC systems maintenance. There a lot of companies offering AC re-filling services using popular, automatic devices. This is ok, but a good idea is also to have the entire AC system checked for potential defects. . Now, this should be done only by specialized garages.

If you have your AC system checked once a year, the cooling agent level should not decrease by more than 10-15%. This is a natural decrease ratio, which results from the operation of the system. The AC system is filled with a pressurized cooling liquid, which is introduced into the circulation by the compressor and which absorbs the hot air from inside the car to release it outside thanks to the condenser. As you use your AC, the cooling liquid gradually evaporates. Its excessive evaporation causes a noticeable decrease in the efficiency of the system. If, in turn, you notice that cool air is not supplied into your car, it will most likely mean a significant decrease in the cooling liquid level.

If in this case you only have the cooling liquid re-filled without having the AC system checked, such malfunction won’t be detected. A proper and comprehensive check-up should include: checking the level of the agent

changing the lubricant in the system, checking the cooled air temperature, the hoses, as well as the radiator and cabin fan.

The system replacement process should be performed very carefully in conformity with the car manufacturer’s recommendations. Changing the cooling liquid is easy and boils down to making sure that it has been refilled in the right quantity. You will find the necessary guidelines on the compressor's plate or on a label on the engine chamber. The exchange process consists in removing the cooling agent from the system, creating negative pressure in order to check the tightness of the hoses, refilling it with the appropriate amount of oil which lubricates the compressor. This procedure usually takes about one hour.

You should take good care of your AC system.

Checking the level of the cooling agent and the cooling system for leaks is the least you can do. You should also follow other rules of proper use of the system. To make sure that is operates properly and for a long time, you should have the cabin filter changed regularly. The filter cleans the air of contaminants before supplying it into the system. If you fail to have the air filter changed in time, the system may not work properly and you may feel an unpleasant smell in the cabin.

You should also keep the cooling system clean. The air ducts are filled with microorganisms and bacteria which affect our health and may cause allergies. Therefore, you should have your cooling system cleaned once a year. This can be done by means of ozone or ultrasounds. Both methods are equally effective and are offered by most garages providing AC maintenance services.

Taking good care of the AC system is very important - improper operation of the system may affect the engine. This is particularly important in the case of old cars, where the AC system operates at full blast, putting a lot of strain on the engine. . When driving in the city, you should control the engine temperature to avoid its overheating.

Air conditioning not only in the summer.

You should also keep in mind that the air-conditioning should also be used after winter. This is done to make sure that the compression is properly lubricated all over the year. Secondly, the air pumped into the cabin by the AC system is dry, which helps on rainy days. You can easily defog the windscreen in several seconds by turning the AC on.. This significantly improves visibility and safety.

In short, there is no reason to be afraid of AC in your car. If you use it properly, you will only benefit from it. Remember, though, that the AC system is not maintenance free. Its annual maintenance cost ranges from 100 to 200 zlotys.

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