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Is Your Vehicle’s A/C Up to the Summer Heat?

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Summer is coming in the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State area, and drivers know that scorching hot days are ahead. The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck in traffic with a faulty air conditioner.

You’ll likely use your air conditioner most days this summer. And whether your vehicle is an older model or brand new, you need to make sure that your air conditioner is in good working order to stay cool and comfortable while driving around.

But what can you do to ensure that your vehicle’s A/C is up for the summer heat? Read on to learn more about car air conditioners and how to keep them in tip-top shape.

Why Checking Your Vehicle A/C Is Important

Your vehicle air conditioner needs regular maintenance to function properly. Just as you would get your oil changed or your tires rotated, it’s essential to have your A/C unit serviced regularly.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Avoid costly repairs – By getting your A/C serviced regularly, you can avoid major repairs down the road, such as a failed compressor.

2. Keep your vehicle cool – The summer heat can be unbearable, and a faulty air conditioner can worsen moods on the road. Regular maintenance keeps your A/C system in good working order to stay comfortable and focused behind the wheel.

3. Quickly defogs windows – If you find your windows fogging up unexpectedly from a rainstorm or change in temperature while driving, a quick hit from a working A/C removes the humidity from the cabin air and can help it clear away. Any sort of diminished visibility while driving can create a dangerous situation.

4. To improve fuel efficiency – Maintaining your A/C can help improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. When your A/C is working correctly, the A/C compressor works less hard and less often so there is less strain on your engine, which means you’ll use less fuel each time your drive.

The Top 5 Common A/C Problems and Their Causes

If you notice any of the following items below when you turn your air conditioner on, it’s time to have it checked out by a licensed A/C technician:

  • Warm air blows from the vents with the A/C on
  • Unusual noises coming from under the hood when you turn on the A/C
  • Moisture building up on the windshield
  • A wet carpet or carpet protector mat
  • Unusual noises or smells are coming from the vents
  • Less cold air is blowing than usual
  • A/C or blower is not working at all
  • Check engine light is on

If you have noticed any of these vehicle A/C issues, here are a few likely culprits and how to fix them:

1. Your cabin filter is dirty

Have your cabin filters checked regularly. Filters clogged with dirt or debris will restrict airflow to your air conditioner, decreasing efficiency. A dirty air filter can also impact the air quality within your car, creating health problems.

2. Your A/C compressor is faulty

When your A/C fails to turn on, this may be the cause of your problem. Take your car in for service so that a qualified technician can take a look.

3. Your A/C is low on refrigerant

If your vehicle’s A/C isn’t cooling as well as it used to, it may be because the refrigerant is low. A professional should repair this problem as low refrigerant means it has a leak; do not try to add refrigerant yourself as it can be dangerous and a costly waste of refrigerant.

4. There’s a leak in your A/C system

Leaks are a common problem with air conditioners. A professional technician should repair them to avoid creating additional damage or unsafe situations for you and your passengers.

5. Your car’s blower motor is faulty

If the fan that blows air into your car’s cabin isn’t working properly, the A/C will have difficulty doing its job. This is another problem that a professional technician should diagnose and fix.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioner

The best way to prevent problems with your car’s air conditioner is to get regular service and maintenance. But there are a few other things you can do to keep your A/C running smoothly all summer long:

1. Use the recirculate setting

The recirculate setting on your vehicle’s A/C helps cool the cabin faster by circulating the air from your vehicle. Try using this setting on sweltering days to keep you more comfortable while driving.

2. Open up the windows

If you’re just getting into your car on a hot day and the cabin is boiling, open all the doors and let the hot air quickly escape. This will help your air conditioner cool the cabin with less energy once you begin driving.

3. Park in the shade

If possible, find a spot in the shade to park your vehicle. This can help keep the cabin cooler and make it easier for your A/C to do its job more quickly.

4. Use a sunshade

Sunshades aren’t just for the windshield! You can use them on your dashboard and side windows, too. This will help prevent excess heat from getting into your vehicle in the first place.

5. Keep your vents open

Make sure your vents are open and that the air flows freely to all parts of the car. This will help ensure that the A/C is working as efficiently as possible.

By following these tips, you can help your vehicle’s air conditioner last longer and keep you cool all summer long. But if you do experience any problems, be sure to take your vehicle in for service so that a professional technician can take a look.

6. Avoid idling your vehicle for extended periods

The A/C system and your engine depend on large volumes of cooling air flowing across the A/C condenser and radiator in front of your vehicle. The radiator and condenser fan provide some air when stopped at a red light or traffic stop, but it does not give the same air as when driving down the road. This lack of forced air creates higher pressures in the A/C system, making it harder for the A/C system to remove the cabin’s heat. This creates a more significant workload on the engine.

Don’t DIY Your A/C — Visit Your Local Technician Instead!

If you aren’t sure what’s wrong with your vehicle’s A/C, it is best to leave the repairs to the professionals. Trying to fix an air conditioner yourself can be risky and may even cause more damage or create dangerous situations for you and your passengers. There are also laws in place about the proper disposal of refrigerants.

So instead of trying to DIY your A/C repair, bring your car to your local NY/NJ/CT Tri-State AAMCO Service Center and let them take a look. Trained technicians have the experience and expertise to quickly diagnose and fix any problems with your A/C so you can get back to enjoying your summer explorations.

When you take care of your A/C, it will return the favor by keeping you cool all summer long. So don’t wait—get your vehicle’s A/C checked out at your local Tri-State AAMCO Center today!

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