Automobile air conditioners are not given much thought during those cooler months of the year, but as soon as the weather begins to warm the air conditioning questions start up. There is no one category of problems or concerns when it comes to air conditioners.
Owners want to know how to control odors or eliminate them altogether, how to make the air conditioners blow faster and harder or they have questions about unusual sounds or noises that they are hearing when they turn their systems on. Other owners are most annoyed over what they describe as too little coolness being produced by their once well functioning AC systems. Troubleshooting AC units is one of the most common tasks that is requested by automobile owners today.
The coolant that is used in automotive systems today is R134a. This substance is formulated from microscopically tiny particles. Its tiny size means that it can escape, or leak, from any type of opening that occurs within the entire cooling system. If there are leaks this means that there is less available coolant and this is one of the reasons that owners suddenly notice the drastic decrease in the ability of their air conditioning unit to produce the type of coolness that they are used to.
This was a much more common problem in the past, but with the introduction of the new coolant, the seals and hoses being used were also upgraded to help ward off this type of situation. There is no fool proof way of keeping the system completely tight and leak free and over the course of time there will often be enough of a loss of coolant to produce problems. Once the coolant level has dropped far enough the lack of cool air conditioning will be readily apparent. It usually requires 3 or more years for slow depletion of the coolant to reach this level.
With the newer types of air conditioning systems there have been changes in the design which means that they will not blow out the amount of air that owners may have seen with older model cars. These air conditioning systems are designed to be lightweight and efficient.
The aim is to cool the vehicle to a particular level and provide no additional cooling. This different cooling system is often problematic for some consumers to understand. They want the temperature level to drop fast and at a furious rate when they engage the air conditioners. This is not quite the way today's AC units are designed to work for us.
Instead of carrying a couple of kilograms of cooling material, most of these units only have a scant half kilogram contained in their system. This means that while cooling is possible, it will not be instant frosty cold breezes that chill everyone in both the front and the back seats. Today the air conditioners are much more efficient and environmentally friendly.
The air conditioning systems used in autos today are designed to get good amounts of cooling out of smaller units but this makes any loss of coolant readily noticeable. With a leak in today’s systems, there is no way the air conditioner is going to be able to properly cool the car.
A quick recharge of the coolant is usually all that it will take to have the AC working once again. Mechanics will also need to do a system test to see if there are any other pinhole leaks or loose seals before he will recharge the system. This will prevent damage to the environment and will save the auto owner money in the long run.
When it comes to the strange noises that may be encountered when you turn the air conditioning on, there could be several reasons that this is happening. Sometimes tiny bits of gravel or road debris can become trapped in the ridging of belts and this could be what you are hearing. This can prove easy enough to check and remedy. An AC unit that is overcharged with coolant can create a hydraulic lock in the compressor machinery. This will create a loud thump, or hammer sound.
Too little coolant can create bearing failure and this will create a knocking sound whenever the compressor is engaged. The compressor can easily be damaged if there is a major leak in the system and the owner is still trying to use the AC. This will create a loud knocking sound that is unmistakable to a mechanic.
Air conditioning problems can also be due to faulty switches or fuses. The vent doors inside the AC housing can also become stuck, and even pens, papers, clips or other bits can find their way into the defroster vents and manually block the doors and prevent cool air from entering. Sometimes the housing unit will have to be removed for cleaning and repair. Always keep vents in your car free and clear of anything that could slip through the openings and create problems.
For bad odors from air conditioners, be aware that mold is usually the responsible culprit. There are sprays you can purchase to use to help with this problem. You can also take the car to an auto shop where mechanics are trained to deal with problems of this type. One suggestion that may help is for you to always try to run the air conditioner for a few minutes before you park the car for the night. This may help dry the vents which can decrease the damp environment that is necessary for mold to thrive.