Proper a/c system maintenance is critical

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Summer is here, and Overland Park temperatures are climbing as they always do. Extreme heat is nothing to ignore when it comes to your car’s interior. Studies have shown that even on a relatively mild day in the lower 70s, interior temperatures can climb more than 40 degrees above the outside air temperature in as little as 60 minutes. Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can easily top out above 130 degrees during a heat wave.

Having a properly working air conditioning system not only protects you and your family from heat exhaustion, but it helps maintain the integrity of your vehicle’s interior, and guards against damage to items in your car such as DVDs or food. Besides, a cool car just makes any ride more pleasant.

When a customer’s a/c is not working up to par, the first thing we do is inspect the system for leaks. Most of the time this is the problem. This is a serious environmental issue that should not be fixed with the band-aid approach of adding more refrigerant from a can. If you drive an older vehicle with an a/c system leak you are probably adding ozone-depleting Freon to the atmosphere. Diagnosing leaks is a tricky process because some are no larger than a pinhole, even when you experience a huge loss in cooling capacity.

This is not something you want to do in your garage without the proper equipment to capture and recycle the refrigerant.

Of course, sometimes a leak is not the issue. Other a/c system failures are often due to electrical control devices such as switches and clutches, or a compressor may wear itself out due to lack of oil. Also, the condenser (in front of the radiator) may lose its cooling capacity due to bent air fins from road debris like bugs and rocks. In extreme instances a cooling fan may fail causing the system to over-pressurize and blow a pop-off valve like a pressure cooker.

Once we fix the leak or other system problem, we recommend a full system evacuation and recharge. This eliminates any air that has been introduced, as well as ensuring the carefully prescribed amount of compressor oil and Freon is added.

So if your car is not cooling as well as it used to, or if you hear any odd noises when the a/c is running, don’t ignore it. Give us a call today for an accurate diagnosis. Remember, if you take care of your car, your car will take care of you!

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