In a state as hot as Texas, it’s important for your car’s air conditioning system to work as well as possible. But how does the A/C work, and can you service it yourself? Family Toyota of Arlington can answer these questions and more.
How does the A/C work?
Your car’s air conditioning system works by absorbing air inside or outside the car, extracting the heat from it, and redistributing the now conditioned, cool air into the cabin — with the hot air being transferred outside.
It is made up of several major parts including a compressor, belt-driven pump, radiator-like condenser, refrigerant, expansion device, and evaporator. These parts all need to be in good condition for the A/C system to work optimally, and many components require special tools and knowledge to be serviced.
How often does A/C need to be serviced?
There’s no right or wrong answer about when your A/C should be serviced, as it depends on how you use it, how often you use it, and the conditions in which you drive. Your Toyota owner’s manual will have recommended guidelines. However, because Texas is a particularly hot state, you’ll probably need to get it checked by a mechanic more often than the average driver should.
Getting your car’s A/C serviced frequently is beneficial as it keeps refrigerant levels optimal. That means the A/C system needs to work less hard to cool your car’s interior and thus reduces the wear-and-tear. It also has the added bonus of improving the fuel economy.
What can go wrong with my A/C?
Over time, all automotive A/C systems need maintenance, regardless of driving conditions. Even in normal conditions, the filters of the air conditioning system gradually become dirty. The gas in the system degrades and evaporates, reducing its ability to cool the interior. On-and-off usage also allows seals to dry and crack, leading to leaks and further reducing your A/C system’s performance.
What’s the best way to have my A/C serviced?
You should always have your A/C serviced by a qualified mechanic. Do not service your air conditioning system yourself. Only professionals with the appropriate training should service a car’s A/C system, as refrigerant can pose serious health risks if handled improperly. Some refrigerants must also be fully recovered and disposed without escaping into the atmosphere. Additionally, specialized equipment is needed to correctly service a Toyota model’s A/C system without damaging it.
What does servicing the A/C involve?
When you bring your car in for an A/C checkup, our certified Toyota technicians look at all the components. They’ll inspect the air vent temperature, check that the condenser and suction line are as expected, correct any problems with the drive belt and pulley, clean the condenser fins, inspect system lines and components for leaks, flush and recharge coolant if necessary, ensure that the valves and thermostats are working as intended, and check the condition of the hoses and other components.
What can I do to maintain my A/C in good condition?
The best way to keep your A/C system in good condition is to get it serviced regularly. You should also use it regularly, ideally leaving it always on while in the car. It may seem counterintuitive, but using the A/C is often better for its health than using it only sporadically. That’s because the connections, hoses, and seals can dry and decay more quickly if unused, allowing leaks to form. If you feel it is not necessary to turn on the A/C because it is not sufficiently hot outside, simply leave it on anyway and adjust the temperature as needed for comfort.
For Texas drivers, the air conditioning system is one of the most critical parts of their car. Make sure to take care of yours with routine checkups performed by qualified technicians at our dealership. Schedule your next service appointment at Family Toyota of Arlington.