As the weather warms up we get many questions from customers about car air conditioner repair. Usually a customer will notice their car’s air conditioner doesn’t work and will buy one or two cans of refrigerant at their local auto parts store. They will follow the instructions and use the cans in their AC lines. Sometimes this will make their air conditioners work while other times the AC will not work at all. This is because air conditioning systems need a very specific amount of refrigerant. Too much pressure or too little pressure in the AC lines and the system won’t work at all. Having a broken air conditioning system isn’t too bad when you can cruise on the highway with the windows open and the breeze cools you off. But when you are stuck in stop and go traffic and you can only drive a few feet before you have to wait at another red light the heat can be excruciating.
Common cause for your air conditioning to stop working
A modern automobile’s air conditioning systems is highly efficient and pressure sensitive. There are a series of lines and hoses that keep the system closed and pressurized. At the end of those lines there are special green sealing rings that are specially made to withstand extremely high and low temperatures. The most common way your car’s air conditioning system stops working is when these O-rings fail with age and they allow the refrigerant to leak out. Once enough leaks out the pressure in your system will be too low for the air conditioner compressor to turn on. That is why the cans of refrigerant sold at auto parts stores can sometime fix the problem by increasing the refrigerant level enough to turn on the AC compressor. That will fix the problem temporarily as the new refrigerant will eventually leak out too.
How shops find and repair refrigerant leaks
If a refrigerant leak is the cause of your air conditioning not working then you have to find the leak and repair it. Professional shops have machines that allow a technician to find or detect the leaks which allows for a proper repair. These same machines also allow a shop to vacuum test the ac system to make sure that other seals don’t suddenly fail shortly after the repair. The AC system service machine also refill the refrigerant and oil to the factory levels which is very important in order for the AC system to work properly in modern cars. That is why if refilling the refrigerant doesn’t help fix your air conditioner then best to take it to your trusted auto repair shop.