Do I Need a Car AC Service
Nobody wants to be without air-conditioning, but the question is do you need a car AC service to assure reliable performance. Here we’ll talk about a few different twists to this popular add on service and how to determine whether you should approve these operations on your own car.
Standard Car AC Service
The auto repair center can view an air-conditioning checkup two ways.
The first is an easy way to add an additional forty-nine dollars, or whatever the going rate is in your area, to the repair order. The items listed in most checkups are performed quickly by an experienced mechanic. A large number of the individual areas are visually inspected. The most valuable part of the service is when they connect a set of manifold gauges to obtain pressure readings. Modern automotive AC systems with R134A Freon utilize quick coupler connections so even this operation only takes a few minutes.
Secondly, an auto repair shop might look at this service as an opportunity to perform high profit margin repairs that can turn a maintenance visit into a large windfall for the shop. It’s not uncommon for an automobile to produce pressure readings just outside the recommended zone of operation. This can lead to further diagnosis or replacement of components.
Climate Control Service
Even if the car AC service goes perfectly there are still other items related to the system that can be recommended as additional services. Some auto repair centers and dealerships are selling a climate control service that can run a couple hundred dollars depending on the year, make and model. Although this service can differ greatly between the shops that perform it, generally speaking, a climate control service is when they replace the cabin air filter, deodorize the duct work, and clean the evaporator coils.
This service is not without merit if it’s needed. A lot of people overlook replacing filters and some automobiles can develop musty odors from the moisture created by the air-conditioning system. Keep in mind, not all cars are equipped with a cabin filter. I have written an article on the subject here at auto repair.answers.com providing details on how to determine if your model is equipped with a cabin filter and tips for handling the repairs individually.
Do I Need an AC Service
Some of the main variables that we need to identify to answer the question are the age of the vehicle and the miles on it. Due to the design of standard automotive air-conditioning systems it’s possible for very small amounts Freon to leak out over the years. Most mechanics will agree that the best way for a driver to determine the need for an air-conditioning service is to measure the temperature coming out of the center ducts.
When the air conditioner is set on recirculation or max air and the blower speed is set on its lowest possible level the coldest air is found at the center vents with all others closed. Drivers can take a standard thermometer and get a temperature reading. If it’s the middle of the summer and you’re reading is somewhere between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit these should be considered good results. If you lived in Florida readings of up to 50 degrees would be considered pretty good during the dog days of August. And if you obtain these readings or better, purchasing an air-conditioning service will most likely not improve these numbers.
Do I Need a Climate Control Service
One of the major selling points on a climate control service is air quality. The shop will spray a disinfecting solution throughout the ducting and on the evaporator. This can eliminate musty odors and mold depending on how careful the service is performed. People who are sensitive to these allergens might consider this service more valuable than those who are not. Age of the vehicle can be a deciding factor as buildup of unwanted substances accrues over time.
Another thing to consider about this type of service is the beneficial results can often be short-lived as automobiles that tend to develop musty odors in their air-conditioning systems do so from poor design. The incomplete evacuation of water is often the root cause of these types of situations and can quickly return after the services are performed. In conclusion the Environmental Protection Agency has identified the automotive air-conditioning service as problematic for consumers and the environment. The agency provides a good amount of support and information on this subject.