As the weather is warming up it's time to make sure that your AC in your vehicle is performing optimally for those hot temperatures that have finally arrived.
Here at Westwood Auto Tec, our highly trained technicians can diagnose any problems that may be causing your system to not be performing to the best of its' ability.
We have up to date training and our technicians are Manitoba certified to handle all aspects of your air conditioning needs. Our shop adheres to stringent Manitoba laws governing the safe testing for leaks and disposal of Ozone depleting products using approved leak testing methods.
What is air conditioning diagnosis?
When the air conditioner stops blowing cold, or starts making a strange noise, a properly trained and certified technician must perform a set of diagnostic tests to understand what component is at fault, and what is needed to complete the repair.
How does the air conditioning system work?
The air conditioner is a group of several components that are responsible for removing heat from the interior of the vehicle, and introducing cool air into the vehicle.
Specific parts of the A/C system perform this function by changing the refrigerant to liquid or gas as needed to cool the evaporator. Air is then passed across the cooled evaporator, and into the cabin for the occupant's comfort.
What are the symptoms of an AC problem?
When the air conditioner fails, the most common symptom is warm air from the vents, but squeaking or grinding noises may be heard from the engine, even through the A/C is working normally. When the air conditioner is activated, the engine idle speed will not dip as it normally would.
Can I drive with an AC problem?
In most situations, a vehicle with a faulty air conditioner is perfectly safe to drive. However, if grinding is heard from the compressor pulley, bearing failure may occur, causing the serpentine belt or drive belt to work its way off the pulley. If the belt breaks or falls off, other necessary belt driven components will stop working as well. If this occurs, the battery warning light will illuminate, and the engine will stall due to lack of electrical power.
How often does the AC system require diagnosis?
Air conditioning diagnostics are so common that many service shops are specialized in heating and A/C repair for motor vehicles. The chances of having the air conditioning serviced during a vehicle's lifetime is very high, but not typically before the 100,000-mile mark has been reached. The most common failures are expansion valves, orifice tubes, and accumulators, since those components are more prone to clogging with contaminants.
How is the AC system diagnosed?
Diagnosis of the air conditioning system requires advanced knowledge of air conditioning systems, and a good understanding of the relationship between temperature and pressure of a liquid and gas. A technician with proper training, and certification is required to repair an air conditioning system. Professional grade equipment is used to read high and low side pressure, and the technician must rely on hours of classroom and hands-on training to understand the readings, diagnose the faulty part, and recommend a repair.
What will be the outcome of an AC system diagnosis?
Replacement of most air conditioning components requires complete evacuation of the air conditioning system with a refrigerant recovery machine. Once components are re-installed, the technician will remove all air from the system in preparation for recharging the system with new refrigerant.
Recommendations for AC systems
Refrigerant is environmentally harmful, and should never be released into the air. Instead, a proper refrigerant recovery machine must be used to protect the technician, and the environment. We do not recommend attempting to recharge the A/C system at home, as products available to consumers tend to contain substances that can cause damage to expensive refrigerant recovery equipment. Lastly, if your vehicle has not been converted from R12 to R134a refrigerant, the best time to have this service completed is when the air conditioning system is already being serviced.
What to look out for with the AC system
Refrigerant is a dangerous chemical that can cause severe chemical burns to the skin and eyes if improperly handled, and discharging into the atmosphere will cause damage to the ozone. Refrigerant types are updated over time, and the appropriate type must be used. If there has been an update or conversion from an older refrigerant type, a label should be placed under the hood to make your technician aware of the change. Depending on location, it may be illegal for a technician to replace refrigerant without updating the A/C system to handle the newest type.
Can I diagnose the AC system myself?
The air conditioning system is not serviceable without proper recovery and evacuation equipment, and attempting to release refrigerant into the air can result in severe chemical burns. Repair of A/C components should be left to certified professionals, and is not considered a DIY job.