Tech Tip - August 2007

Carter Automotive
107 West 11th Street
Coffeyville, KS 67337
Phone: (800) 225-4813 (620) 251-4700
FAX: (620) 251-2215

Hidden Ways to Get More From Your Car's Air Conditioning

As your vehicle ages, you may notice your car's or truck's air conditioning doesn't seem as cold as it did when new. There could be several reasons for this, and it may not all be in your mind. As a car ages, its systems become clogged with dirt, debris, bugs and leaves and cables stretch and settle into place. Leaks in the system can also develop over time as seals dry out.

You can use these tips to get the most from your car's air conditioning during the hot summer months. The technicians at Carter Auto Parts can work with you to help you get the most from your system.

  1. When you first start you car and it is hot inside, open all the windows for a few minutes while you drive to blow out the hot air and give your A/C a head start. The air inside your car on a hot summer day can easily reach over 140 F. By opening up the windows, you replace this super heated air with cooler air from outside that may only be in the 80s or 90s.
  2. Once you're at cruising speed, run your A/C system in recirculate mode. This recirculates cooler air from inside the cabin past the air conditioner coils rather than forcing the system to cool down the much hotter outside air.
  3. Have your coolant charge checked and ask them to clean the condenser coil in front of the radiator. A properly charged system does not have excessively cycling off and on of the compressor. Cleaning the condenser coils to remove bugs and dirt will help your system operate more efficiently and cool better. This involves loosening the radiator and tilting it back so the area between the radiator and condenser can be cleaned.
  4. Have the cables behind the dash checked for proper adjustment. Most systems use two cables to control air and water flow. One controls the blend door which diverts fan blown air over either the A/C evaporator coils or heater core. If this is not adjusted properly, some air conditioned air could be diverted past the vehicle's hot heater core reducing efficiency. The second cable controls a valve that shuts off hot engine coolant from flowing into the heater core. This helps keep engine heat out of the cabin and if not adjusted right can cause the air to feel warmer.
  5. If you notice stale or moldly smelling air coming from your A/C vents, one tip is to shut off the A/C a few minutes before parking, but leave the fan blowing. This will help purge excess moisture from the cooling coils so they will be dry during the time the vehicle is parked. If this doesn't help, the mechanic can open up the blower compartment and use coil cleaner to clean the A/C cooling coils and add a bacterial and mold inhibitor to the drain area. This is also a great opportunity to lube and clean the blower fan to keep it operating effectively and help it last for the life of the vehicle.

The friendly and helpful techs at Carter Automotive will help you answer your questions and keep your A/C system doing a great job to keep you cool during the hot summer months.

Print me and take me to one of the 6 Carter Automotive locations in SE Kansas. Our friendly and knowledgeable counter staff will help you find the perfect parts for your application at the right price.