When your car’s air conditioning system is working properly, you can enjoy a comfortable, safe driving experience.
On the other hand, a fault with your car’s air conditioning system could lead to increased fuel consumption, or even a costly compressor replacement.
That’s why it's so important that you book a car air conditioning service when needed, so that you can spot potential problems early on.
Whilst we may not think to use our A/C units all the time here in the UK, it is important that we look after them throughout the year, and turn the system on even in winter.
Read on and learn how you can take good care of your car’s air conditioning, how to tell when your A/C isn’t working, and why it is so important to book a service or recharge when needed.
- What Is Car Air Conditioning?
- How Does Car Air Conditioning Work?
- Why Is My Car Air Conditioning Not Working Properly?
- What Happens During a Car Air Conditioning Service?
- Why Should I Book a Car Air-Conditioning Service?
- How Often Should I Book a Car Air Conditioning Service?
- How Long Does a Car Air Conditioning Service Take?
- How Much Does it Cost to Recharge Car Air Conditioning?
- Is a Car Air Conditioning Service the Same as an Aircon Regas?
- Does a Full Car Service Check The Air Conditioning System?
What Is Car Air Conditioning?
Your car’s air conditioning system is a complex air cooling and filtering system which lowers the temperature of your vehicle by circulating a refrigerant gas.
When it is working correctly, the air conditioning system will filter out pollutants, pollen and other bacteria in the air.
Almost every modern car has air conditioning fitted as standard. Despite this, only the BookMyGarage major car service includes an air conditioning check, as the air conditioning system is not included in a standard car service.
How Does Car Air Conditioning Work?
Your car’s air-conditioning system is made up of several key components:
- Refrigerant gas
- Thermal expansion valve
- Evaporation coils
When you switch your air conditioning system on, the gas - stored in the compressor - travels to the condenser. The temperature of the gas will lower as a result, and turn into a liquid.
This liquid can then travel to the drier to be purified, ready for the expansion valve - the part that controls the cabin temperature when you adjust the dial.
The liquid will cool rapidly and turn into vapour, entering the cabin as refreshing air. The refrigerant gas will then travel back to the beginning, so that the process can start all over again.
The refrigerant gas is the most important part of the air conditioning system. Every year 10 to 20% of this gas is depleted, so you must take care to regularly refresh it so that the system continues to work effectively.
A lack of refrigerant gas will put additional strain on the compressor. If the compressor overheats and fails, you could be faced with an expensive repair bill.
Investing in an air conditioning service when needed can help you to avoid such an expense.
Why Is My Car Air Conditioning Not Working Properly?
If your air conditioning system is not blowing cold air, then you should consider booking an air conditioning service.
There could be a fault with the system if you notice that it is only blowing warm air, with this being an indication that you need to book an air con recharge.
Alternatively, there could be a leak in the system if the air produced is cool, but the flow is weak.
Leaks can occur if the rubber lines within your air conditioning system have worn away, allowing refrigerant to escape.
A professional mechanic will be able to advise you or suggest a repair during an air conditioning service if this is the case.
In the event that you notice a bad smell like mildew coming from the system, then a CV1 shot disinfection will help to kill 99.99% of the bacteria or viruses that could have built up over time.
If you notice a rattling or banging sound when you turn on the air con system, then it is likely that a fan belt or condenser has worn out.
You will need to have this checked out by a skilled garage, so that they can determine the cause for you, as this could also be a sign that debris is blocking the system.
What Happens During a Car Air Conditioning Service?
When you book a car air conditioning service, a technician will be able to replace the old refrigerant gas and will check that the system’s lubricant is at the appropriate level.
The technician will also check for any leaks or cracks, to ensure that your air conditioning system continues to work effectively.
If a leak is found, the mechanic will be able to advise you on the repair and offer a transparent upfront estimate for the work.
Using a specialist vacuum pump (pictured above), a mechanic will remove all traces of moisture from the air con system, thereby reducing the risk of further bacterial growth.
Once the refresh is complete, the mechanic will turn the system on to check that the air conditioning regas has worked and that the system is working correctly.
Why Should I Book a Car Air-Conditioning Service?
If the gas levels are low, then the air conditioning system will be working even harder to produce cold air, using up more fuel in the process.
Helping the system to function all year round, an air conditioning service can help you to save money on repairs and fuel.
Not only can an air conditioning service ensure that the air produced by your A/C is cool, but it will also keep the air clean.
This is especially important for those with allergies, who could end up breathing in contaminants that have built up in the air.
Important for demisting your windows in winter, a functioning air conditioning system can also help to keep you safe.
In the summer months, you will rely on air con to keep you cool - a necessity as dehydration caused by sweating can reduce your concentration and increase the chances of an accident, particularly on long drives.
Stay safe and focused on the road by ensuring your vehicle is comfortable to drive, and book an air conditioning service, regas or repair today.
How Often Should I Book a Car Air Conditioning Service?
Generally speaking, you should book a car air conditioning service every 3 years, though some manufacturers recommend opting for the service every 2 years instead.
How Long Does a Car Air Conditioning Service Take?
It will take approximately 1 hour for a professional garage to complete an air conditioning service. Though, the process can take longer if a repair is required, perhaps if a leak is identified.
How Much Does it Cost to Recharge Car Air Conditioning?
Prices start from £69 on BookMyGarage. As some garages charge up to £200 for a car air conditioning service, it pays to shop around and find the best deal. An air con recharge should last you 2 to 3 years.
You can see instant prices and availability when you compare local garages, to find a great deal on an air con regas near you today.
Is a Car Air Conditioning Service the Same as an Aircon Regas?
During an air conditioning service, a professional mechanic will perform an air con regas, by flushing out the old refrigerant and replacing it with new refrigerant.
An air con regas - also known as a recharge - is when the refrigerant gas is refilled. Generally speaking, manufacturers recommend that your air conditioning is refilled every 2 years, but you may need to invest in an air conditioning regas sooner.
Depending on the car you drive, your vehicle may need the new 1234yf gas, or the older R134a gas. All cars built after 2017 will need the 1234yf refrigerant gas. You must use the refrigerant gas recommended by your manufacturer.
Whilst an air conditioning recharge is the same thing as an air conditioning regas, an air conditioning service offers more steps. During an air conditioning service, a technician will complete the recharging process, as well as:
- A pressure test
- A check of the entire system (all switches, thermostats etc.)
- A check of the temperature of the condenser while it’s in use
Though, the list of checks included in an air con service can vary from garage to garage. These additional checks mean that a service is more expensive than a recharge.
Does a Full Car Service Check The Air Conditioning System?
You should know that a full service will not cover the air conditioning system, so you will have to book an air conditioning service separately if you want a professional garage to take a look at your car’s air conditioning system.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what a car air conditioning service is, and the importance of booking one when needed.
If you would like to book an air conditioning service and/or recharge today, you can do so easily by searching for local garages on BookMyGarage. With regular maintenance and servicing, you can take good care of your car's air conditioning system.