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Air Conditioning Maintenance Reduces Auto Repair Expenses PAC005

Palmer's Auto Care Podcast on Air Conditioning Maintenance

In this episode we present air conditioning maintenance as the best way to prevention expensive auto air conditioning (A/C) system breakdowns.  We identify the two primary causes of A/C system failures as Freon leaks and moisture in the system. We share why it’s important to get you’re A/C serviced at regular intervals and what is done during the service.

During hot summer days while driving in Twin Falls we need air conditioning. If the air coming out of the dash vents isn’t cool enough some auto owners will call Palmer’s Automotive Repair to schedule a check-up of their A/C system. Other drivers will go to a parts house and try to fix it themselves by purchasing a DIY kit to add some Freon to the system.

Initially the system may produce cooler air but the owner doesn’t realize that they have contaminated the system. Now what could have been a minor repair of performing an air conditioning service will most likely become an expensive repair.

Air Conditioning Hose Caps

Annual Air Conditioning Services Reduce Repair Costs

Industry standards recommend servicing auto A/C systems annually, even though it is cold and working correctly. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is that all air conditioning systems leak small amounts of refrigerant constantly. It cannot be stopped. Another reason for the need of annual maintenance servicing is the fact that your vehicle is always driving over bumps and surfaces that can loosen A/C hose connections.

The low Freon and loose connections can let air move into the system. Air has moisture in it, which is corrosive to the system. If you don’t keep the air out, by keeping the system fully charged, it can cause premature failures. Corrosion can cause compressor damage, hose leakage and metal line damage. Also when the Freon is low it can’t carry oil throughout the system to keep the compressor properly lubricated.

Maintaining the system by servicing it will help it last for years without major repairs. Failure to get A/C services done will allow acid to build up and low Freon can damage the compressor. Metal particles from the compressor will spread throughout the system. When it fails it will require a full system replacement.

Palmer’s auto air conditioning services cost $130 including adding up to one pound of Freon to the system. To repair a failed system will run on average around $1200. There are five major components in the system that would require cleaning or replacement if there’s a catastrophic failure:

  1. Air compressor
  2. Condenser
  3. Dryer
  4. Expansion valve or orifice tube
  5. Evaporator

When Palmer’s Automotive does an air conditioning system maintenance service we check and do the following:

  1. Check air flow across the condenser to make sure there are no restrictions
  2. Check to make sure the system has no leaks
  3. Check the A/C belt
  4. Check compressor clutch clearance
  5. Check inside the car controls to insure all doors are moving properly
  6. On computer controlled systems we check all data with scanners
  7. We remove all the Freon to measure the exact amount in the system
  8. The system is evacuated for 30 minutes to remove all moisture
  9. The exact amount of Freon the system requires is put back into the system
  10. Cabin air filters may need to be inspected (this may require additional cost)
Cabin Air Filter Maintenance

More about cabin air filters

Cabin air filters clean the air coming into the cab of the vehicle for both air conditioning and heating. In our southern Idaho area filters normally need replacement around 15k miles. When the filter is not replaced when its due it can cause a restriction of the airflow into the cab of the vehicle. This can make it seem like the A/C is not working.

The restriction can cause the air conditioning blower motor to fail prematurely because of the heavy load from the plugged filter. This is another example of lack of maintenance causing repair bills that didn’t need to happen.

Neil mentioned one other important point about the air conditioning system that is frequently missed when auto owners add Freon to their system. They either loose or just don’t re-install the small caps on the connection points. Those caps are a critical part of the system. They keep air from getting into the system.

Conclusion about air conditioning maintenance

Automotive air conditioning systems are complex and must have all parts working efficiently. If one part of the system fails it will affect other parts. Neil recommends not working on the system yourself because one small mistake can have expensive consequences.

We hope this presentation about air conditioning maintenance helps you understand the importance of having the service done every year. Annual maintenance will help your vehicle’s A/C system keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The most important benefit of the service is reduction of auto repair expenses.

If you have questions about your car’s air conditioning give us a call at Palmer’s Automotive Repair in Twin Falls ID (208) 735-8810. Or you can request an air conditioning maintenance appointment online.

Key takeaways from this episode on Auto Air Conditioning Maintenance:

  • One cause of air conditioning system problems is Freon leaks
  • Low Freon levels allow moisture to enter into the air conditioning system
  • Moisture causes acid to build up in the system which can cause leaks
  • To prevent these problems have annual air conditioning service
  • Catch small problems to avoid major failures in your car’s air conditioning system
  • Air conditioning services are described so you can understand why it’s important
  • DIY A/C work can create a problem that can increase the cost of fixing it right

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