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Auto Station, Auto Repair & Service, Omaha, NE
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Summer in Omaha is around the corner, and with it comes summer heat. The days are hot, and getting hotter – make sure you stay cool in the heat by checking the A/C in your car! Understanding the components in your vehicle’s air conditioning and some common issues can help you keep cool all summer long.

Components

This guide from About.com reviews the main components of automotive air conditioning:

“Your air conditioning system is made up of a compressor, a condenser, an evaporator (or drier), refrigeration lines and a couple of sensors here and there.

  • Compressor: This is the heart of your a/c system. The compressor is what takes the refrigerant (the gas) and pressurizes it so it will cool the air. It’s run by an engine belt. The compressor also has an electrically operated clutch that turns the compressor on and off as you demand more cool air.
  • Condenser: The condenser is like a miniature radiator, usually mounted at the front of the car right next to your big radiator. Sometimes the condenser will have its own electric cooling fan, too. The hot, compressed air passes through the condenser and gets lots cooler. As it cools, it becomes a liquid.
  • Evaporator: The evaporator is another little radiator that does just the opposite task as the condenser. As the super-cool liquid is passed through its tubes, air is forced through and gets really cold, right before it hits your face. As it warms up again, the refrigerant starts turning back into a gas.
  • Thermal Expansion Valve: You don’t always want to freeze your toes off, so the a/c system has a valve that controls the flow of super-cool refrigerant to the evaporator. This way you can regulate how cold the air blowing on you gets. There are a few types of valves in use these days, but they all do the same thing.
  • Drier or Accumulator: The drier, also known as the receiver-drier, is sort of the safety catch for your system. The compressor is only supposed to compress the gas form of your refrigerant. However, there’s always a chance that some liquid could make it back that far. The drier catches this liquid before it can damage your compressor. Since even the tiniest leak or careless installation can introduce water moisture to the system, the drier absorbs this chemically, using what’s called a dessicant (similar to that packet of “DO NOT EAT” that comes with electronics). The drier also has a filter that catches any gunk that might be in there.

 

Different systems also have sensors here and there to tell it pressure and temperatures, but they are specific to a make and model of vehicle.”

 

Common Problems

As the heat rises and you use your car’s A/C more and more, you may notice small issues, like taking too long to cool your vehicle or blowing air that is only mildly cool when it’s turned on high.

If your air conditioning is cool but not cold, there could be a few culprits. Check your cabin air filter – if it is dirty or clogged, your A/C may be less effective. You can also check for leaves, bugs, or dirt preventing the air from going through the condenser. If there are no blocks or clogs, this problem may be caused by low pressures or stuck cooling fans.

The compressor also can cause issues keeping your car cold. The clutch engaging and disengaging rapidly could indicate you are low on refrigerant. If it is not engaging at all, there may be an issue with voltage or the clutch. Lack of voltage may be caused by a bad fuse, cycling switch, or low refrigerant pressure.

The most common problem associated with A/C systems is leaks. A leak in the air conditioning system causes refrigerant to escape slowly out of the system into the atmosphere. Low levels of refrigerant could indicate a leak, and as the level gets too low it can trigger a low pressure cutoff switch that will prevent the air conditioning from working. Bring your vehicle into our shop – our technicians will look for leaks and recharge your refrigerant!

If you are experiencing any problems with your car’s air conditioning in the summer heat, stop by our shop for an inspection. Keep your A/C working so you can keep cool this summer!

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve been blasting the AC in your car all summer, and, after parking in the sun on a hot day, you hop into your vehicle, turn the ignition and wait for a wave of coolness to pour out of your AC unit—but it doesn’t.  Instead, a harsh rush of warm air hits you and you frantically roll down your windows or even open your doors to escape the heat. Unfortunately, you may be in need of an AC repair service.

There are plenty of signs to tell if you need an AC repair. Even units that still produce cold air may be having problems. That’s why it’s recommended you service your AC unit as part of your preventive maintenance plan rather than running it until it breaks down.

You may want to have your AC checked by an ASE-certified technician if…

–          The air being emitted isn’t as cold as it used to be

–          A funny smell is coming from the vents

–          The air conditioner’s drive belts, compressor, or blower are nosier

–          A rhythmic clicking noise is coming from under the hood when you turn on the AC or defroster

–          The defroster no longer defrosts the windshield effectively

–          Water is resting on the floor of the passenger compartment

–          The cooling fan keeps cycling on and off

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, it’s time for an air conditioning repair service. It should also be noted—if your vehicle was serviced prior to 1992— that the Freon refrigerant used to cool your car, CFC-12, is no longer used in AC units because it contributes to the breakdown of the ozone layer. R-134a, the new refrigerant, can be used in older vehicles by converting the AC to take the new refrigerant.

If you want to avoid paying big bucks to fix your whole air conditioning unit, you must service it as you would any other part of your vehicle rather than waiting until it breaks or has problems. Luckily, our mechanics can help you avoid expensive and uncomfortable breakdowns in your AC system with an AC inspection.

Summer will be here before you know it and you won’t want to be caught on a hot day without properly working air conditioning. So, if you find yourself in the Omaha area stop by our auto repair shop, or call us at (402)-896-5800 so we can help keep you cool this summer.

Not everyone out there has the luxury of air-conditioned garages or instant cool air— or the ability to shift our body’s temperature like an iguana. Or shape-shift into iguana.

In any case, in this extreme summer heat, keeping your car cool in the blazing heat can quickly evolve into an art. Nobody wants to get burned this summer—stick to these tips from your local Car Repair Omaha to make the heat a bit more bearable this summer:

Park in the Shade

Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than you think. For starters, never underestimate your desire to get the closest parking spot—though a shady spot at the end of the lot may be available, it’s tempting to catch that spot a few feet from the door, in direct line of the sun. Your local Omaha NE Car Repair recommends you be mindful of this trap—an extra few feet of walking is a drop in the bucket compared to a car in the sun.

Window Tinting/Sunshades

If you can’t find any shade, fighting the sun’s rays can be one heck of a battle. Your local Omaha Auto Mechanic recommends sunshades or window tinting. The benefits of these fairly cheap, simple solutions are priceless! They can make your car 60% cooler in the summer, not to mention the reduced chance of accidents and cracking/fading of your interior!

Water/Rag handy

Your local Omaha Auto Repair also recommends having a wet rag handy on hot days. By simply wiping the hot surfaces of your car, the evaporation will take a lot of that splintering heat with hit.

A Few Extra Tips:

Don’t get burned by leather seats or hot metal seat belt buckles on summer days. Your local Omaha Car Service wants you to be safe!

If you want more car tips or need to have your A/C looked at, don’t hesitate to stop by your local Auto Repair Omaha NE like Auto Station to have your car looked at today!