ooking for good air conditioning repair shops and services can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. The needle is a mechanic who knows a thing or 2 about how air conditioners work and the haystack is the myriad of car air conditioning repair shops and quick lube chains that try to repair your air conditioner without the correct tools or experience. Air conditioning repair services can be difficult to find because the air conditioning system in your car is significantly different from the other systems in your car. Most of the mechanical systems in your car are based on gears, bearings, and oil rather than refrigerant, high pressures, and heat exchangers.
At the end of the day, the air conditioning system in your car is not a complicated system and with the right tools may be something you can diagnose on your own! The other benefit of learning how to work on an air conditioning system is that they’re all surprisingly similar across almost every make and model of car.
Your air conditioning system is comprised of a few key parts; the compressor, condenser, expansion valve or orifice tube, evaporator and connecting lines and hoses. When it comes to diagnosing problems, often a simple peak under the hood can tell you quite a bit about your AC system. You can identify your AC compressor as it will be one of the accessories on the front of your motor with the engine belt going around it. It will have a large pulley, two large lines (1/4”-1/2”) going into it and is often towards the bottom of the motor. You can check it for normal operation by watching the center of the pulley while your AC is on full. With your car at idle on a warm day you should see the center of the pulley start to spin and then stop shortly thereafter as the compressor cycles on and off the maintain pressures in the system. Also, you can check the lines in your system while the AC is running to see if any of them feel chilled or extremely hot and to see if any are damaged. Lastly, you can check the condenser in the front of your vehicle to see if it’s blocked, damaged or cracked anywhere.
If the visual inspection checks out and everything looks to be in good shape and operating as it should, the next step is to use a set of AC gauges to measure the actual pressures in the system. Your air conditioning system is split into two halves. The high pressure side runs from the outlet of the compressor, through the condenser, to the expansion valve and the low pressure side runs from the outlet of the expansion valve through the evaporator to the compressor. There may be as few as 1 or up to 4 pressure ports on each side of your system.
The pressures in your air conditioning system can tell you everything you need to know about how your system is operating. Too low of a pressure rise across your compressor means your compressor is worn out and starting to operate inefficiently. A lower than usual high pressure can mean your compressor is going out, or you have a low refrigerant level. A higher than usual pressure can mean there is a clog somewhere in your system and you can check multiple high pressure ports to try and identify the leak. A lower than usual low side pressure usual indicates that you’re low on refrigerant.
It is not unusual for air conditioning systems to come up low on refrigerant as it can leak very easily. Often times tracking down the leak can be difficult since it is an odorless colorless gas when it leaks out. The best way to seal leaks in your air conditioning system is to use Red Angel A/C Stop leak. Red Angel A/C Stop Leak comes in a convenient aerosol can which you can use it inject the sealant into the low pressure side of your system. Once inside your system, Red Angel A/C Stop Leak will find any leaks and seal them from the inside. This will keep your refrigerant in your system so it can continue to operate properly!
You find Red Angel A/C Stop Leak at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
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