Come any season and a car’s AC is what usually saves one from the heat and sometimes from the cold depending on the conditions. If the AC is non functional, it wouldn’t be that the car would stop working or something. It is just that you would lose out on the bragging rights over your neighbor. During the monsoons, the car’s AC is one thing which you would like to thank from the bottom of your heart. Not only does it help in drying off the wet interiors or even clothes but it also helps in maintaining a boisterous atmosphere as far as interiors of the car go. Here are some basic details which one should know about the AC of a car and also its maintenance.
Stinking AC :
The moment you enter the car and turn on the AC, you are greeted with a stinking smell. The reason may be the formation of fungi and infestation from other bacteria. Due to the heat and high humidity factor, the fan casing heat exchanger literally becomes a breeding place for all those bacteria present in the atmosphere. Unfortunately for cleaning this, a professional AC mechanic is required. This is something which cannot be cleaned by an amateur since the place is virtually unreachable coz of its placement. As they say, “Prevention is better than cure”, in this case also it applies. However once infested, there is only the remedy of taking professional help. Bacteria in general need moisture to survive on and hence it is advisable that always turn off the AC well in advance before halting or reaching your destination. This allows the evaporator time to dry the area and hence cut off the fuel supply (water) to bacteria. So, the stinking smell would definitely be a thing of the past here.
Ineffective AC :
Many a times, the AC works but then it does seem ineffective enough. Most of the times, a workshop mechanic would subject the car coming in for an AC check to a simple test. He would ideally start the engine and then keep the accelerator pedal pressed till the vehicle reaches a steady rpm of 2k. This can be ascertained via the tachometer on board the car. Multi thermometers are used to measure the temperature near each AC vents. The measuring line is a temperature which falls in the category of 6-9 degrees. If each of the AC vent thermometer displays this temperature, then the AC is said to be functioning normally. If the AC is ineffective, it would remain above 9 degree Celsius. A clogged cabin filter or even a leak in the refrigerant gas would be the main culprit behind this. Due to the extremities in weather conditions, the hoses as also the gaskets develop leaks and this leads to the rise of the refrigerant gas escapades. This gas by the way is highly volatile in nature. The reason why the gaskets and hoses leak can be attributed to the fact that they carry around heat or rather transport it to keep the car interiors cool. Since the refrigerant gas is one of the main components of the AC in a car, its decrease means that the interiors of the car would be more hot than cold. The clogged cabin air filter could be the reason of an ineffective AC. Most of the times, these filters are made up of cotton materials or even paper. Their job is to remove the pollutants from the air before the air is released inside the car’s cabin. A clogged filter would affect the car’s cooling system and in a negative way. This would eventually reduce the volume of air which is being thrown inside the cabin. This filter is located inside the bonnet of the car and is an easy thing to be removed and cleaned. Cleaning it or replacing it would solve the problem about the air volume throw inside the cabin.
Condenser and Belts :
A vibrating AC unit or a noisy one at that would mean that the compressor mounting could be faulty. It may be also because of a compressor belt which is loose. Replacement or tightening it is the ultimate solution. A compressor belt which may have slipped off or even a condenser which is clogged maybe the reason. Most of the times, people forget that after a front collision, the AC needs some checking into and a malfunctioning AC unit could be because of the after effects of a shunt.
Now comes the tips for an improvement in the cooling efficiency of the airconditioner. Always ensure that you park the car under a shade as this attributes to making the car a good 20 degrees cooler. Sunlight, if it is there should be hitting the back portion of the car rather than the front one. The more warm the ambient temperature of the car is, the more energy would be consumed by the AC of the car, so it is advisable that the cabin temperature of the car be brought to tolerable levels before the car is driven. Let the inside heat of the car escape through the open windows before the AC is turned on. This reduces the pressure on the AC system and the car would also cool faster. The AC fan should be on high speed while the lowest temperature should be set, however ensure that the outlet nozzles for air shouldn’t be set directly on the face. Keeping ultra low temperature is said to be harmful and is also unhygienic.
Most of the times, professional AC servicing plays an important part in the vehicle’s overall maintenance and though manufacturers may not outright demand that it be done, still they wouldn’t refute its claim either. An AC specialist should be given the job of checking the AC system entirely. This should be done once in every three years. The condenser and compressor would be checked by the AC servicing professional who would then see if there is any damage to the unit. Once done, he would, using a AC vacuum pump, suck out the refrigerant. After this process is done, various tests are conducted to see if the AC unit functions normally or not. Moreover, the entire piping system is checked for any leaks or stuff. Rubber seals are checked for gaps as well. The entire unit is then refilled. With the advent of technology and compact as also portable machines, the entire checking process just got simpler. High Pressure (HP) as also Low Pressure (LP) hoses extract the refrigerant gas from the car’s AC system. This refrigerant is now passed through a recovery system which actually cleanses the refrigerant. A refrigerant cylinder is now used to store this cleaned refrigerant and it is now filled back into the car’s AC system.
Cost of repairing or servicing of AC components from a reputed firm would be as follows.
Compressor : Rs 8k to Rs 26k
Gas Charging : Rs 2k to Rs 4.5k
Condenser : Rs 1.5k to Rs 9k
Receiver Drier : Rs 1k to Rs 3k
Evaporator : same as the Receiver Drier
All the prices mentioned above as exclusive of the additional taxes. The pricing varies since, here, the low cost cars and the much expensive ones have been considered. Many a times the prices may be low or even shoot up depending on the trim level, AC size or even the availability of that part.