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How to Check Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System Before Summer

As the winter chill fades away and the warmth of spring arrives, thoughts naturally turn towards the upcoming summer season. One essential aspect of your vehicle that often goes unnoticed until it's needed most is the air conditioning system. A well-functioning AC system not only keeps you comfortable during hot summer drives but also helps maintain air quality within the vehicle. Before the heat arrives, it's a good idea to check and possibly service your vehicle’s AC system. Here's a guide on how to do just that:

Visual Inspection: Start with a visual inspection under the hood. Look for any visible signs of damage, leaks, or wear on the AC components. Check the hoses, connections, and the compressor for any oil stains or wet spots, which could indicate a refrigerant leak.

Cabin Air Filter: The cabin air filter plays a crucial role in maintaining good air quality inside your vehicle. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your AC system. Check the owner's manual for the location of the cabin air filter and inspect it. If it's dirty, replace it according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Test the Airflow: Start the engine and turn the AC to its highest setting. Place your hand in front of the vents to feel the airflow. It should be strong and consistent. If you notice weak airflow, it could indicate a clogged filter, a blocked vent, or a problem with the blower motor.

Check for Strange Smells: Unpleasant odors coming from the vents are a sign that mold or bacteria may be growing in the AC system. This can happen if the system hasn't been used for a while. Turn on the AC and check for any unusual smells. If present, consider using an AC cleaning spray or have our professionals service the system.

Monitor Cooling Performance: Next, test the actual cooling performance of the AC system. Allow the engine to run for a few minutes, then turn the AC to the coldest setting. Feel the air coming from the vents. It should be noticeably colder within a few minutes. If the air remains warm or takes a long time to cool down, there may be an issue with the refrigerant level or the compressor.

Check Refrigerant Level: Low refrigerant levels are a common cause of poor AC performance. If you suspect this is the issue, it's best to have our professional mechanics check and refill the refrigerant. Most cars require specialized equipment to properly service the AC system.

Listen for Unusual Noises: While the AC is running, listen for any unusual noises such as grinding, squealing, or rattling. These sounds could indicate a problem with the compressor, belt, or other AC components. Addressing these issues early can prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Schedule Professional Maintenance: If you're unsure about any aspect of your AC system or if you notice persistent issues during your inspection, it's wise to schedule a professional AC service. Our trained mechanics can perform a thorough inspection, check for leaks, test the system's pressure, and ensure everything is in top working condition for the summer ahead.

By taking the time to check your vehicle's air conditioning system before the summer season kicks into high gear, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. Regular maintenance not only keeps you cool on those hot days but also helps prolong the life of your AC system. Stay ahead of the heat and beat the summer rush by giving your vehicle’s AC the attention it deserves.

Remember, a well-functioning AC system isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity for safe and comfortable summer driving. So, take these steps to keep your cool and enjoy the ride!

Got questions or need some car TLC? Give us a call at 707-442-4556 or set up an appointment online at  

Happy and safe driving,

The Old Town Auto Service Team