It’s the time of year when we are thankful for car air conditioners. How did we ever get along without it? It’s a feature we take for granted until, suddenly, it’s blowing hot air and you’re stuck with the old fashioned 4-60 kind of air conditioning (four windows rolled down and 60MPH) or faced with a seemingly outrageous repair bill.
Well, they say knowing is half the battle, so here are some truths about car air conditioners. Especially on older vehicles. Fixing an broken air conditioner can cost several hundred dollars or more, depending on the make and model. It all has to do with old vs. new refrigerants (the stuff that makes it cold). The old R-12 refrigerant has been replaced by R-134a. R-134a has been standard for car air conditioning units since the mid 1990’s. It’s better for the environment and is federally mandated.
If your older vehicle needs major repairs to the air conditioning system you can expect to replace refrigerant and the oil in the compressor in addition to any other broken parts. You also may need to install what’s called a, “retrofit conversion.” You cannot add R-134a to your older vehicle without first flushing the whole system.
An annual inspection of your car, including the air conditioning system, may help prevent costly fixes later. Express Auto’s Service Centers offer AC inspection specials, but don’t wait. Those hot, humid days of August are just around the corner. It’s best to know how your air condition is working before they hit you in the face like an open oven door.
Photo by Mr Thinktank