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Automotive AC Repair: Why a Recharge is Just the First Step

If your car’s air conditioning system stops working this summer, you may think that you need a simple AC refrigerant recharge. Unfortunately, automotive AC repairs often require much more. Here is a comprehensive look at vehicle air conditioning repair and why recharges are often just the first step.

AC Trouble: The Symptoms vs The Problems

When you visit a mechanic for an AC recharge, they will put more than just refrigerant in your air conditioner. They also add a specialty dye that can be tracked under UV light. Why? Because low refrigerant is often a symptom of your AC problems—not the source of your AC problems. Let’s take a closer look at how vehicle air conditioning works.

Understanding Sealed Air Conditioning Systems

Your manufacturers often recommend you get an oil change every ~6 months. Most vehicles need a brake fluid flush every few years. However, you will not find any manufacturer recommendations about AC refrigerant refills. This is because most vehicles do not need refrigerant refills unless there is an issue. 

Your refrigerant exists in a sealed system between your compressor, condenser, expansion valve, receiver/drier, and evaporator. It uses the same refrigerant over and over for the lifespan of your vehicle. As such, low refrigerant is a sign that there is a leak somewhere in your system. Repairing your car’s air conditioner involves finding and addressing the source of this leak. 

Finding Your AC Leak

How do mechanics find your automotive AC leak? This is where the aforementioned dye comes in. By mixing dye with your freon during a recharge, mechanics can later use an Ultraviolet light to track its movement throughout your AC system. This process pinpoints where the pressure is lost and how your refrigerant is escaping.

In most cases, your AC repair comes weeks (or even months) after your AC recharge. You need to drive your vehicle in between services to give the refrigerant time to circulate before it effectively reveals the leak.

Repairing Your AC System

So how do you get your AC system working like new again? After pinpointing the source of your refrigerant leak, your mechanic will create a repair plan. Air conditioning repairs often involve replacing the damaged part(s). After your system is working like new, your technician will refill your freon one final time to get your AC up and running.

Preventing Car Air Conditioning Troubles

Thankfully, one essential routine maintenance service can help prevent vehicle air conditioning problems—cabin air filter changes. Your cabin air filter captures dust, pollen, and other contaminants circulating through the air inside your car. When your filter becomes clogged, your AC system has to work harder to forced air through. This added stress can accelerate or create air conditioning troubles. Routine cabin air filter changes can help protect your system and keep you breathing cleaner air.

Chapel Hill Tire: Local Vehicle AC Repair

When you are ready to get the AC service you need for the summer, the experts at Chapel Hill Tire are here for you. We offer trusted AC recharge services and vehicle air conditioning repairs. Chapel Hill Tire proudly serves the greater Triangle area through our 9 locations across Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro, Apex, and Chapel Hill. We invite you to make your appointment here online or give our professionals a call to get started today!

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