Although there are many brands of vehicles, the air-conditioning systems are all designed very similar, made up of a few basic components that are linked together by hoses and pipes with a primary function to control the comfort of the passengers within the cabin.
Your Automotive air-conditioning system is a sealed pressurized system running independent of the other mechanical systems under the hood. To properly inspect the function of the A/C it is important to monitor the internal operating pressures of the system. Without a properly functioning set of refrigeration gauges, there is very little that can be done to an automotive air-conditioning system by the “do it yourself” type back yard mechanic. There are, however a few common points of interest that may be worthwhile inspecting on your own, in the name of “preventative maintenance”.
Here are a few helpful hints to get you started with a simple A/C system inspection:
- A real good starting point is always a visual inspection of the air conditioning system components.
- Look for visibly damaged to system components, such as:
- compressor and clutch
- abnormal compressor drive belt condition and tension
- locate the evaporator drain tube to see if it might be plugged or oily
- blocked condenser fins
- corroded connections
- broken or disconnected wires
- blown fuses
- poor insulation
Secondly, search for signs of oil leaking from any of the components or connecting lines. Compressor lubricant is transported around the entire system along with the refrigerant. A common tell tale signs of leaking refrigerant is often revealed as an oily residue on the various components. Look for oily spots on all the hoses and lines, and especially at each hose or tubing connections. If there are oily deposits, the system may have a leak, and you should have it checked by a certified air conditioning specialist.
Autotemp the leading driving comfort Experts in Alberta, specializing in automotive air-conditioning service and installation since 1976. Six locations to serve you: Calgary, Red Deer & Edmonton.