Is your air con cooling you down?
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Your car’s air conditioning does much more than just cool the inside of your car.
When working properly, air conditioning helps to filter out pollen, pollutants and airborne bacteria, greatly improving the quality of air inside your vehicle.
So, before you push that button, here are some tips on how to stay clued up on your air con.
Use your senses to pick up on indicators that your system may need some attention.
1. If the air isn’t as cold as it used to be, your car’s refrigerant may need to be re-gassed.
2. If the vents are kicking out a foul smell, there may be mould in the system.
3. If you can hear some unusual banging or rattling sounds, it may be the condenser or fan belt has worn out, or debris could be clogging the fan.
What is included in an air conditioning service?
Workshops across the country offer a variety of air conditioning service packages, however most will include the following:
1. A temperature and gas pressure check
2. Monitoring of the pollen and cabin filters
3. A review of the oil content of the system and an oil top-up if required
4. Addition of dye to seek out any leaks
5. A recharge of the air con refrigerant to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels. Some workshops will have dedicated air conditioning specialists or use auto electricians to conduct the work, but this can also be completed by trained technicians.
What does it cost?
Like any service or repair, prices vary from workshop to workshop. For a full service from qualified technicians, be prepared to pay about $200.
It is worth being aware of what the service will cover in advance. If it’s been some time since your air con was serviced, you should try to avoid a cheaper re-gas, which simply tops up the refrigerant.
This may be a quick fix, but failing to lubricate the system or identify leaks can mean the same problems resurfacing a few months down the track.
How often should air con be serviced?
It’s estimated a car’s air conditioning system will lose around 10-15 per cent of its refrigerant every year.
Most manufacturers recommend air conditioning systems are serviced every two or three years in order to replenish the liquids used by the systems, and ensure components are working correctly.
If you are about to head off on a family road trip, keeping your car comfortably cool is a great way to keep everyone happy and healthy.