A/C Performance Check
A/C Performance check performed at Peak Auto conveniently located next to the Cary Auto Mall at 833 US 64 W. In Apex NC. It’s hot and I can’t stand it, at least I should be able to drive my to work comfortably, or take the kids to soccer practice in the minivan without perspiring. An A/C performance check starts with a general look over the air conditioning system making sure belts don’t have any cracks, there are no obvious leaks, the auxiliary fan comes on, and the A/C compressor turn on. Then it is down to the interesting stuff. In order for an air conditioner to cool, a gas needs to be compressed and then cooled. That gas then is expanded and when this happens it becomes very cold. All of this happens automatically when you press that A/C button on your dash.
To make the system most efficient, every manufacturer has specified the exact amount of R134 gas your SUV A/C needs. In order to know what is in the system, you can check the low and high pressure gauges that Peak Auto technicians can hook up to your A/C system. The low pressure side should have low pressure about 60 psi, and the high pressure side should have 250 or even up to 400 psi of pressure. If these numbers do not match up with your vehicles specifications than the A/C cannot cool the way it is supposed to. Next step, evacuate all the gas out of the A/C system and then weigh it. Modern A/C systems use a lot less refrigerant than the older systems, so having the exact amount of R134 in your A/C system is key. Too much and it cannot cool properly, too little and the A/C system may not cool at all.
The A/C Evacuation is performed by a licensed technician with a machine that most car owners do not have. These high tech machines are very expensive and have only one use… car A/C’s. They cannot be used for home HVAC units or for refrigerators. If your minivans A/C system is low on refrigerant, than you may have a leak. Today’s refrigerant, (R134) has very small molecules and some of these can slowly pass through the hoses and seals in a system over time. In fact if your vehicle is 5 years old, has never had any A/C work done and is not blowing as cold as it should, it may just be a little low on refrigerant and the evacuation and re-charge of the system is all that you may require to get your A/C blowing cold again. But if you have a leak, it is important that we find the leak and fix it.
Leaks can be detected two ways. One way to detect a leak is to add die into the oil while charging an A/C system. The die will stain the area where the gas is escaping ad with the aid of a U/V light and special glasses, the die can usually be spotted efficiently. The other way to detect an A/C system leak on your car is with a Freon sniffer. These hand held machines breath in the air and can detect when R134 is present. At Peak Auto, we use this device when no dies has been added to the system prior to our inspection. After the leak is detected and the area that is at fault is repaired or replaced, then a full evacuation of the system is necessary before adding the R134 Freon/gas to the system. The evacuation or vacuum is important to remove all air so that the gas does not mix and get diluted.