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Air conditioning

Most cars should be serviced every 10,000 miles or every year but did you know that an air-con service is not included in your car's regular service schedule? As with all things mechanical, the air-con system needs to be serviced regularly to keep it working at optimum performance. Bacteria and pollen build up means that there could be more than fresh air flowing from your air-con. A regular service will remove the nasty things that cause unwanted odours and worse.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SERVICE AND RECHARGE/REGAS

Simply, an aircon recharge is a short term interim solution where the gas is topped up to the correct level and an aircon service is a full drain, clean and fill up of your air con to remove moisture, renew the oil and give the system an antibacterial clean.

The recommendation is that every 2 years you should have your air-con serviced and the pollen filter replaced.

Your local HiQ Centre can give your air-con an antibacterial clean, check it for refrigerant leaks, change the lube oil and replace the pollen filter. All of which will keep your air-con in tip-top condition and you nicely refreshed.

WHY SERVICE?

REASON 1. CHECKING FOR LEAKS.

Your car's air-con system has to cope with a pretty hostile environment thanks to engine temperatures, travelling at speed and the daily encounters with potholes and other road conditions. As a result, the refrigerant gas leaks out of the air-con system over time. This gas is required to cool the air.

The system has flexible pipes and seals to absorb some of the vibrations from the road. It is through these seals and pipes that gas commonly escapes, and an average system will lose around 10% of gas per annum.

Over time this leads to a less effective air con system, as eventually the pressure will be reduced to a level whereby the system will not operate.

REASON 2. THE SYSTEM HAS NOT BEEN USED FOR A WHILE.

It is common for drivers not to use the air-con system during the winter months, and then the first time it is used in the summer, it doesn't work.

Most drivers don't know that the system must be used regularly to ensure that the seals are kept moist (this also helps stop the gas leaking out); this is because lubricating oil is mixed with the gas to keep the compressor unit running smoothly.

As with all oil it should be replaced at regular intervals. So, as part of the air-con service the system is drained under vacuum to removes the oil, gas and any moisture from the system. The system is then recharged with gas and new oil which will keep it running more efficiently and effectively.

REASON 3. BACTERIA BUILD UP.

Ever had that stale smell when you turn your air-con on for the first time in a while? This smell is usually associated with a dirty pollen filter and a build-up of bacteria in the air vents.

The pollen filter is a key component in the system. It filters incoming air before it enters the vehicle interior. These germs and bacteria have been linked with asthma and respiratory problems.

A regular service will include an antibacterial clean removing nasty odours and germs so that all you get when you turn on your air-con is fresh air

WHY RECHARGE

Surprising to many, recharging your aircon can increase fuel efficiency as well keeping you and your passengers cool. When your air con refrigerant is low, your car will work harder to try and produce cold air, using extra fuel.

Can I regas my aircon myself?

You can buy air-con regas kits if you’d like to attempt the job yourself, but we wouldn’t advise it.

They’re almost as expensive as paying a specialist to do the job and if anything goes wrong, you may be left with a very expensive repair bill.

Specialists will also have a better idea of how to check for leaks and other problems with the air-con system, and there are safety factors to be considered, too. If the refrigerant gas comes into contact with your skin or eyes, it could cause painful freeze burns.

Source: RAC

How do I maintain my air-con?

As well as getting the system re-gassed, the best way to keep your air-con in top form is to use it all year round.

Change the cabin filter regularly, and consider an anti-bacterial clean if you notice musty smells coming from the vents.

Source: RAC

How often should I service my car’s aircon?

We recommend you service your air conditioning system every two years to replenish the liquids used by the system, and to ensure all components are working correctly. Your owner's manual will give you the specific requirements for your car.


Source: Halfords

How often should I service my car’s air conditioning?

We recommend you service your air conditioning system every two years to replenish the liquids used by the system, and to ensure all components are working correctly. Your owner's manual will give you the specific requirements for your car.

Source: Halfords

What happens if I don’t regas my air-con system?

If you don’t regas the air-con system, it will gradually become less efficient, making the car uncomfortable in hot weather, and take longer to demist the windows in winter.

Not regassing your air-con system will be bad for it in the long run, too, with pipes likely to crack and parts likely to seize up if it isn’t used.

Source: RAC

How do you know when your air-con needs regassing?

The first sign that your air-con needs regassing is that the air being blown from the vents is not as cool as it used to be, or it doesn’t feel any different when the AC is switched off.

If you can’t remember the last time the system was regassed, it’s probably worth doing. Alternatively, many specialists are happy to perform a free check.

Source: RAC