Car Air Conditioning FAQS


Carrington Street Auto Repairs are well placed to take care all of your Vehicle Air Conditioner Re-gas, Repairs, Inspection or Servicing needs

A car air conditioning system uses refrigerant to extract the heat from the air within the passenger area of the car and transfer it to the outside, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be redistributed. It is important to regularly appraise the condition of the rubber seals for any signs of leaks or decay which could be a warning of a loss of refrigerant.

To avoid this situation the refrigerant in your Car Air Conditioner system should ideally be replenished completely within four years of the manufacture date and every two to three years after that.

You should drop off your vehicle to a reputable workshop such as Carrington Street Auto Repairs (AU36166) on a regular basis to ensure the air conditioner system continues performing in optimum conditon as well as having the mechanics review the condition of the whole vehicle.

Repco Authorised Service mechanics perform a 65 point Vehicle Inspection with every service and are usually able to give you a warning about any components that may need to be replaced in the near future or those that are already damaged beyond repair.

Carrington Street Auto Repairs care about the environment and have Arctick Authorisation (AU36166) to reliably and responsibly conduct automotive air conditioning service in and around Adelaide and the surrounding areas.

Air Conditioning FAQ's

How does a Car Air Conditioner cool a vehicle?

An automotive air conditioning system could be seen as having four basic parts - a belt driven pump called a compressor to compress and circulate refrigerant gas, a radiator like unit called a condenser (dissipates heat and condense gas to a liquid), an expansion device, usually an orifice tube or a thermal expansion valve (TXV) (subject to the sort of air conditioner system used). Systems using orifice tubes also have an accumulator before the compressor to remove moisture from the refrigerant while TXV systems have a receiver-dryer before the evaporator to perform the same crucial task. Both the accumulator and receiver-drier are also used to store refrigerant.

Your car air conditioning system is designed to remove excess heat from the air in the interior of the vehicle and transfer it to the outside, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. Hot air is passed across a gas filled evaporator, where the heat is easily absorbed by the refrigerant (in gas form), effectively removing the heat from the air in the car.

The now heated gas is pulled through the compressor where it is further heated (via compression). The next stage involves the refrigerant being forced through the condenser to quickly extract the heat from the refrigerant. The refrigerant, now condensed to a liquid, then moves through the expansion device (either a TXV or Orifice tube), which regulates the flow of refrigerant going to the evaporator, changing the high-pressure liquid to a low-pressure mist (gas). A fan blowing over the cold fins of the evaporator produces the cold air being blown into the car and the entire process then begins all over again.

What does a car air conditioning service consist of?

A typical air conditioner service may include some of the following items;

  • Check air vent temperature is correct

  • Check condenser temperature is correct

  • Ensure suction line temperature ok

  • Adjust drive belt and pulley

  • Ensure that thermostats and valves are operating correctly

  • Cleaning the condenser fins

  • Inspection of hoses and components

  • Evacuation and recharge of refrigerant (where required)

  • Check system lines and components for leaks with an electronic leak detector

Why do I need a car air conditioner system service?

Checking or changing the oil level in the refrigerant can prevent the compressor seizing up. Should the air filters become obstructed with dirt and bacteria it will affect the performance of the entire system and it can even cause it to fail to operate altogether. In addition to reducing air conditioner efficiency, dirty air filters can cause all kinds of health problems too.

An air conditioner should be checked for problems once a year for any signs of issues with the seals, hoses and connections and confirm refrigerant pressure is being maintained over time. Regular service of your vehicle air conditioner keeps refrigerant at optimum levels meaning the system does not need to work as hard and this in turn protects the system from damage and minimises fuel consumption.

Why does the car air conditioner need to be serviced?

Your car air conditioning system is designed to remove excess heat from the air in the interior of the vehicle to the outside, leaving only cooled or 'conditioned' air to be recirculated. This is achieved using a special compound called refrigerant, capable of readily absorbing heat as a gas and quickly losing heat as a liquid.

Being exposed to the elements and very harsh operating conditions and being run occasionally rather than being 'Always On' can cause failure of the connections, seals and hoses. A car air conditioner system should be examined on a regular basis to ensure there are no problems or refrigerant loss due to failure or leakage from these points.

Simply by cooling the air in your car under normal running conditions, the filters of the air con get dirty and intermittent use can cause seals to dry and crack, allowing them to leak. Even without leaks, the gas in a car air conditioning system will eventually begin to degrade or evaporate over time and should be recharged where required to keep the air con system in peak running condition.

Can I service my own Air Conditioner?

Only qualified mechanics with the appropriate training should attempt to service a car air conditioner. Specific licences are required to be able to service or repair some types of car air conditioning systems, especially where regas (recharging of the refrigerant) is concerned. Strict guidelines and procedures must be adhered to when handling certain refrigerants, which must always be fully recovered and not allowed to escape into the atmosphere during servicing.

Refrigerant can also pose serious health risks if handled incorrectly. Specialist equipment is also required as the air conditioning system is under extreme pressure and must be pulled into a deep vacuum to remove any moisture, to avoid seriously damaging the system. You can find out more about licensing on the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) Website.

What is the source of the bad smell in car air conditioners?

The damp environment can support the development of bacteria, microbes and even fungus growth inside the evaporator core. This can lead to nasty smells and possibly even be bad for the health of any vehicle occupants. Newer type evaporator units tend to be more efficient, yet have increased capability to trap moisture and allow for micro-organism development.

Carrington Street Auto Repairs mechanics are able to use specialist ultrasonic technology to destroy any micro-organisms that may be the source of unpleasant smells or health issues.

Just ask about our MIST service, which will kill any bacteria that may be lurking in your Car’s Air system. These bacteria can cause odours and even make you sick, especially if you have allergies or asthma. A MIST service doesn’t just make your car smell better - it makes it healthier for you and your family.

Specialist Car Services