A Brief Guide to Maintaining a Car’s AC System For Auto Service Technicians

It’s no secret that a vehicle’s air conditioning system works harder in the summer. This wouldn’t be a problem if drivers regularly had their AC systems checked—but the fact is, many car owners neglect this car component, leading to problems in scorching weather. 

So how can drivers prevent their AC system from failing during the summer? The answer lies in routine maintenance. If you’re training to become an auto service technician, you’ll be helping drivers to stay cool in the summer by tending to their vehicle’s AC system. 

Read on to find out what to look for when inspecting a vehicle’s air conditioner, and how to ensure that the AC system runs smoothly all summer long!

After You Become an Auto Technician, Start by Checking the Cabin Air Filter

Each vehicle’s air conditioning system is equipped with a cabin air filter. This filter keeps clean air flowing from the AC system (located under the hood) into the cabin’s interior. With continued use, this air filter can become clogged, interrupting the air flow, or stopping it all together. When you become an auto technician and start doing routine checks of clients’ vehicles, make sure to check the cabin air filter if the air conditioner is experiencing problems. If this filter is filled with debris, it may need to be cleaned or replaced.

A clogged cabin air filter can impede AC functioning – leading to uncomfortable rides on hot days

Examine the Cooling Fan and Condenser

The next step in air conditioner maintenance is to check the system’s cooling fan and condenser. The cooling fan is located under a vehicle’s hood, and controlled by the AC system’s relay. If the cooling fan is malfunctioning, no air will flow through the AC’s vents. Make sure there is no corrosion or wiring issues with the relay, as this could cause the cooling fan to stop working. Also under the hood is the condenser. This component can get clogged with debris such as road salt over time, so be sure the condenser is in working condition by rinsing it with water to remove any contaminants. 

Make Sure the Compressor is Working

As most auto service technicians know, the compressor is one of the most important components of a vehicle’s AC system. Responsible for compressing refrigerant gas into a gas of a higher pressure and temperature, the compressor can shut down for a number of reasons. Compressors rely on the serpentine belt to turn. If the belt is malfunctioning, this could be causing issues for the air conditioner. If refrigerant levels are low, this can also create a problem for the compressor. 

The compressor is responsible for maintaining the pressure of the air flowing through the AC system

In order to keep the compressor functioning properly, check that it’s correctly attached to the serpentine belt and ensure that the refrigerant levels are well maintained. The compressor can also be maintained by running the air conditioner once a week for around 10 minutes, as this will sustain the proper level of gas pressure.

Recharge the AC System

In addition to regularly examining the components of the air conditioning system, it’s also important to give drivers some information about maintaining their AC. Drivers should make sure to take their vehicle in at least once every two years to properly refresh their air conditioner’s cooling system. In order to recharge the AC, add new gas and lubricant to the system. It’s also a good opportunity to check for refrigerant leaks and catch them before they get worse. With this preventative maintenance, the AC will run smoothly throughout the summer and beyond!

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