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How does car air conditioning work?

An air conditioning system controls the temperature in a car and works in a similar way to a kitchen refrigerator. When the fluid inside such appliances (also called refrigerant) changes from a liquid state to a gas, it cools down. Outside air is blown past the coils in which the gas flows, and is therefore also cooled before it is blown into the car’s cabin. The air con gas then returns to liquid form in the system's compressor, heating it up, but the resulting warm air is directed outside the car.

Why is air conditioning important?

Air conditioning in a car serves two purposes. It cools down the interior of a car, dramatically so if needed, which improves passenger comfort and prevents the type of heat-related irritability that may lead to an accident. Also, because air conditioners generate air that is less humid than outside air, it can be used to demist a fogged-up windscreen more quickly than when air is blown out of a standard ventilation system. This might also prevent an accident from occurring.

What is an air conditioning system recharge/re-gas?

A simple check of the temperature of the air emanating from an air conditioning vent will tell you if the refrigerant needs a recharge - some garages use the term 're-gas'. A warm air temperature would suggest that the refrigerant is low or old. Manufacturers typically recommend a recharge no matter what every couple of years to keep the system running efficiently; this involves topping up or refilling the system with fresh refrigerant. This may be all that is needed, but an efficient air conditioning system also needs to be serviced occasionally. If the refrigerant is replaced but the air conditioning system does not seem to be operating properly, either due to warm air or low system pressure, an air conditioning service will be required.

What is an air conditioning system service?

If the pressure in the air conditioning system is particularly low, there might be a leak. This can be checked during an air conditioning service that manufacturers suggest performing every 3-4 years. As well as a test for leaks and the inspection of refrigerant levels, the condenser, the compressor, the hoses and the drive belts are checked. The service also involves a cleaning to take any contaminants, bacteria or moisture out of the system before any new refrigerant is added, followed by a full recharge. It is important to note that an air conditioning service is not included in routine car services but has to be booked separately. Remember to do so because an inefficient air conditioner places greater demands on a car’s engine and requires more fuel to generate cool air, not to mention that any resident bacteria might cause illness.

What causes air conditioning problems?

  • Insufficient or old refrigerant.
  • Low system pressure, typically caused by a leak or the failure of a component.
  • Lack of use can place unexpected stress on components when the system is eventually turned on.
  • The build-up of bacteria can make the air from your air conditioning system unhealthy.

What are the possible signs that a car needs an air conditioning service and recharge/re-gas?

  • If warm air is blowing out of the vents.
  • When the air conditioner only intermittently functions correctly.
  • Foul smells emanating from the air conditioning vents are signs that mould and bacteria have infested the air conditioning system.

How long does an air conditioning recharge/re-gas and service take?

  • A recharge takes about an hour; a service can take up to an hour.

How much does an air conditioning recharge/re-gas and service cost?

  • A recharge costs usually costs at least £40, but you may be quoted more if a garage suggests using newer R1234yf refrigerant rather than the old R134a variety. Also, some garages include the cost of a service when pricing a recharge/re-gas.

Enter your registration and location now to find a trusted, local garage to carry out an air conditioning check at a fixed best price.

Coventry

Coventry is the 10th largest city in England, harbouring a population of more than a third of a million inhabitants. It was once the country’s capital, and its rich heritage includes the Lady Godiva legend and St. Mary’s Guildhall where kings and queens were entertained. Coventry has been through its economic ups and downs, but has flowered in recent decades into a thriving and culturally rich city, unrecognisable from the ‘Ghost Town’ referred to by The Specials in their 1981 hit.

The 14th century St. Michael’s Cathedral is the city’s best-known landmark, and German bombing during the Second World War left only the outer walls and soaring spire intact. This evocative space remains one of the most important international symbols of peace and reconciliation in the world, and Graham Sutherland’s celebrated tapestry, ‘Christ in Glory,’ poignantly echoes this sentiment. Nearby, the Cathedral quarter connects Coventry old and new. Regeneration has revived original and reconstructed buildings with a range of excellent pubs, cafes and restaurants.

A number of chain and art house cinemas, plus a diverse range of theatre and arts centres provide regular, traditional and cutting-edge entertainment. Following a recent multi-million pound expansion, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is a great place to go with all the family, and The Coventry Transport Museum holds the largest collection of British transport in the world.

Much of Coventry city centre is pedestrianised but you’ll find on-street, short and long stay car parks in the centre. For specialist shops go to medieval Spon Street, Hertford Street and in the City Arcade. If you’re looking for a more distinctive browsing experience, you’ll find independent shopping and creative arts at Fargo Village on Far Gosford St.

Coventry is served by the M45, which connects to the M1 and to London. The M40, served by the A45 and A46 dual carriageways, is ten miles south of the city and offers an alternate route to London. A dual-carriageway runs north–south and links the city centre with the M6 motorway. The inner ring road circles the city on concrete stilts, and can be confusing for drivers visiting for the first time.

The roads around Coventry, however, are some of the safest in the country, showing no medium- to high-risk roads at all. The motorways and single carriageways of the West Midlands have the greatest in-built safety of any region.

Find the best garages for a service or repairs in Coventry at BookMyGarage, or call our Concierge service on 03304 004439 for free advice from an expert mechanic.

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