If you are located in a region that reaches extremely high temperatures during the summer, it can be devastating when the air conditioning unit in your car goes out. Having a functioning air conditioner is vital to both the comfort of the driver and passengers, and prolonged amounts of time in a car without a venting source can be very frustrating. One option is to take your car into the shop and let the mechanics work their magic, however it is also possible to fix your air conditioner from your own home. Here are the steps to learning what the causes are, and how to fix the broken air conditioning unit inside your vehicle.
- The first step to fixing your car’s air conditioning is to get a decent feel for how the overall unit functions. The structure of the heating and cooling unit in your car is very similar to that of a refrigerator, but with a bit of a funky layout. Its main purpose is to remove the heat from the inside of the cabin to the outside, and lower the temperatures of the new air coming in to cool everything off. What you want to do is just get a general feel for all the parts that are involved so you have a better understanding of how it works.
- Next, it is in your best interest to learn more about all the different sections inside the air conditioning unit. There are several components that work together inside the car that allow this unit to function, and some of these parts include: the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, evaporator, receiver, dryer and the refrigerant. It is really important to get to know each of these parts individually so that you can better identify what you are working with.
- The following step involves understanding the air conditioning process. The compressor is the lead section of the overall system, so take some time to refer to some online car literature and your owner’s manual to get educated on that aspect of the unit.
- Next, go to your local auto parts shop and purchase some fluorescent dye to put into the system to check for leaks. Leaks are generally easy to spot because you will be able to see where the dye comes out. This process is called checking the R-134a, and if the system is totally wrecked, then there will be no pressure coming out of the tubes at all. If that is the case, you will have to check the PSI level of the valve.
- After this part of the process is complete, turn on your car and pop open the hood to see if compressor unit is functioning. What you will be looking for is a small pulley-like piece that moves back and forth with steel pieces going into a rubber piece. If you have your air conditioning unit turned on, but this pulley is not moving, then it is likely either a bad fuse or a wiring problem.
- The next thing to do is to see if there is any cooling air coming out of your vents. If you feel some of the air coming out but it isn’t a whole lot, the issue could just be a matter of low pressure. This can be corrected by filling it up with refrigerant, but be careful not to overfill the system. Adding too much coolant can cause your vehicle to experience a decrease in performance over time. If all else fails, take your car to the mechanic to get an estimate on what the cost will be to repair your air conditioning system.