With summer right around the corner, there's no better time than the present to give your car's air conditioning system a little TLC. While heating and AC isn't critical to a car's driving performance, it can certainly affect your level of "comfort." When the temperatures begin to climb, it creates a sweltering-hot environment in the cab. So, what steps can you take to keep your AC running smoothly this summer and beyond?
Change the Air Filter
When was the last time that you changed your car's air filter? Changing it every 10,000 to 15,000 miles keeps the air compressor running for longer while subsequently reducing the risk of failure to the AC system. Assuming you get your car's engine oil replaced at an auto shop, you can also ask the shop to replace the air filter.
Turn on the Defrost
No, that's not a typo. Turning on the defrost mode of your car's AC system can flush out moisture from the system. When moisture accumulates inside the AC system, it can produce funky odors while contributing to the formation of mold. Normally, this isn't going to affect how the AC works, but it can still lead to some unpleasant smells in your car.
Check Refrigerant Levels
If your AC turns on but isn't running as cool as it used to, the problem could be attributed to low refrigerant levels. In this case, it's recommended that you check your car's refrigerant levels. You can either do this yourself by using a special AC tool, or you can hire an auto shop to do it for you. The good news is that it's relatively easy (and cheap) to "recharge" your car's refrigerant, with most auto parts stores selling kits.
Run it Weekly
Even if you don't necessarily "need" cold air in your car's cabin, it's a good idea to get into the habit of running it for at least 10 minutes every week. Doing so keeps air pumping through the hoses, valves and pumps, ensuring they are well-lubricated.
Of course, you can also ask a professional mechanic to check your car's AC system. During a typical inspection, the mechanic will check refrigerant levels, as well as the components of the AC system. If any problems are spotted, you can fix them early before they snowball into bigger and more costly problems later down the road.
These are just a few tips to keep your car's AC ice-cold this summer season.