5 Car Air Conditioning Unit Maintenance Tips
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5 Car Air Conditioning Unit Maintenance Tips

Are you taking proper care of your vehicles air conditioning unit? With the hot weather moving in, you are likely to be using your air conditioning more frequently, which is why it’s a good idea to carry out maintenance checks to help improve both the overall efficiency and lifespan of your unit.

To help keep your car’s air conditioning up and running all year round, check out our top tips for air conditioning maintenance.

Signs of A Problem with Your AC Unit

Like most things, your car’s air conditioning unit can develop its fair share of problems unless it is properly looked after. Should you notice any of the following, you should have your air con repaired and serviced by a fully trained and qualified mechanic.

  1. Bad Smells – bad smells occur when bacteria grows causing mould and mildew to build up over time from inside the vents as a result of excess moisture.
  2. Underperformance – you will find that over time, your air conditioning unit will perform much less efficiently and economically due to it being poorly maintained.
  3. Hot Air Passing Through – there is nothing worse than switching on your air con in the hot weather to be greeted by gusts of warm air. This normally happens when your air con is in need of an Air Conditioning Service.
  4. Higher Fuel Consumption – over time, your AC will cause your vehicle to consume more fuel as a result of excessive use and underperformance, making the engine work harder and causing you to spend more money on fuel.
  5. Takes Longer To Cool Down – this normally happens when your air conditioning unit is running low on refrigerant and requires an Air Conditioning Service or there is a fault with the system.

What Is Included In An Air Conditioning Service?

An air conditioning service is the process of re-filling your air conditioning unit with new refrigerant gas. Oil and leak detection dye is also added to help prevent leakage. The main benefit of an air conditioning service is increased performance and efficiency of your air con unit.

It is important to note that an air conditioning service is only to be carried out by certified personnel who are experienced in handling air conditioning gases (R134A or R1234YF).

Additionally, if you take your car to a garage and they offer to “re-gas” your air conditioning system when there is a leak present, you should refuse as this is illegal.

Maintenance Tips – Caring For Your AC Unit The Right Way

By taking the time to show your air conditioning unit the care it needs, you can be sure to get the best performance out of it when in use. Here are some maintenance tips to help you take good care of your vehicle’s air conditioning unit:

Switch-It On Regularly

Whether it’s the freezing cold winter or the blazing hot summer, we strongly recommend that you turn on your air conditioning unit for ten minutes each week with both the highest fan and coldest temperature selected. Doing this will keep all the key components lubricated and working properly.

Recharge Frequently

Like oil and other liquids used in your vehicle, your air conditioning unit needs to be drained and topped up with new gas/refrigerant for maximum performance and efficiency. It is recommended that you book your vehicle in for a recharge once every 2 years or when you notice a fault. However, most garages will check the air con unit for faults as part of your annual service.

Ensure That The Pollen Filter Is Kept Clean

The pollen filter is commonly situated behind the glove box which can be easily removed and needs to be cleaned using water or light detergents or replaced (if necessary). Should your pollen filter need replacing, it is important to check that it’s completely dry beforehand. If you are unsure, take your vehicle to a garage.

Remove Any Signs Of Debris

Be sure to check the exterior grills situated underneath the windshield and clear away any leaves, dirt or other debris as this will prevent your air conditioner from becoming blocked.

Furthermore, we highly recommend that you carry out an inspection before a long summer road trip to prevent any issues occurring whilst on the road.

Shut Down Your Air Con Correctly

It can be tempting to leave your air con switched on when you reach your destination and shut off the engine, but be aware that this can damage your air conditioning system. This is because the fans continue to run which often leads to a build-up of moss and bacteria. Switching your air con off and allowing it to rest will clear the evaporator and nearby components, ensuring the air remains fresh and helping your air con to last longer.


Does Air Conditioning affect fuel consumption?

Using the AC can cause fuel consumption to raise as much as 20% because of the extra load on the engine. Note that this figure is dependent on a number of variables such as the vehicle’s interior size and the outdoor temperature.

How long does an Air Con recharge take?

On average, an air-con recharge takes approximately 1 hour to complete.

Can I carry out repair work on my own AC?

We advise that you do not attempt this without the right expertise. Whilst you can buy kits to carry out an air conditioning service, these are expensive and if you make a mistake, you’ll be left with a huge repair bill.

Air Conditioning Servicing & Repairs Chepstow

Is your air conditioning unit in need of a service or repair? Our highly qualified and specialist team at our Autocare Centre in Chepstow have years of experience servicing and repairing a wide range of vehicles including both electric and hybrid vehicles. For more information about our air conditioning repair services, call us on 01291 627137.


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  • Devin Scott
    October 14, 2019, 3:22 pm REPLY

    It’s good to know that you should get your AC repaired if it starts to smell bad. My wife and I are wondering how to maintain our new car’s AC. I’ll let her know that we should get it repaired if it starts to smell.

  • Mindy Jollie
    October 25, 2019, 4:14 pm REPLY

    That’s a good idea to keep the car’s pollen filter clean. My husband’s AC system is having problems functioning at the right temperature. He’ll have to take it in and have it looked at. He isn’t very tolerant of high or low temperatures!

  • kiter
    December 12, 2019, 9:06 am REPLY

    Thanks for sharing all of your experiences!

  • Jude Horn
    January 24, 2020, 1:16 pm REPLY

    Nobody wants their car AC to fail in the blistering heat of the dog days. It would be possible, if you maintain your AC properly. No matter you are using your vehicle or not, you need to run the AC at least once a week at least for few minutes to maintain the Freon’s pressure maintained. It keeps the hoses and compression seal from getting hardened. Service the air conditioning system at least once in two years to keep the cooling unit in the pristine order.

  • Vivian Black
    April 7, 2020, 12:43 am REPLY

    You made a great point about recharge frequently and how it can help that you drain it and top if off often. My husband and I are looking for a car air conditioning service that can help us with his 1990 Ford Focus that has been having leaking problems this month. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

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