Auto AC Repair
Auto AC Repair Houston, Katy, Porter & Montgomery TX
In the extreme heat of a Houston, Texas summer, your car’s AC can mean the difference between relative comfort and absolute misery in the road. You don’t need to wait until you car’s AC system has stopped working or starts blowing hot air. Our team of expert auto AC repair specialists can give your car’s AC a thorough inspection so you don’t find yourself sweating through a Houston traffic jam in triple-digit heat! With locations throughout the greater Houston area, including Katy, Montgomery, Kingwood, and the Energy Corridor we have a location that can provide auto AC repair near you! Call or request a quote today!
What Does Your Car’s Air Conditioner Do?
Though often considered “optional equipment,” car air conditioners are not just standard in most modern vehicles, in Texas they are absolutely essential to for a safe, comfortable driving experience. All air conditioners – whether in homes, offices or cars – provide a similar function: they condition air, which means cooling it down and mitigating moisture. The end result is dry, cool air getting pumped into a room or the car’s passenger compartment, making it much more inhabitable during warm weather and increasing the quality of your driving experience.
When it comes to cars, however, the air conditioning system plays another valuable role. Driving requires a lot of hard work on the part of your engine, which subsequently generates intense heats, regardless of the season. Your car’s AC not only controls the temperature inside your cabin, but also pulls hot air away from your engine, assisting the engine cooling system and preventing overheating and engine failure.
How Do I Maintain My Car’s Air Conditioning System?
It’s common to be more concerned with the essential components of your car – such as the engine, battery or tires – unless you’ve seen or heard obvious signs of an AC issue. But regular maintenance of your vehicle’s AC system can keep you driving comfortably and help mitigate expensive car AC repairs. Many issues that arise with your auto AC system can be detected with regular maintenance checks. When you bring your car in for any service you can ask the mechanic to check the Freon level and recharge if necessary. Checking the refrigerant level regularly will uncover leaks early, before they become more complicated AC repairs.
In a climate as hot as Houston’s, you are well advised to have a complete AC service every two years before the hottest part of the summer make sure your system is running effectively. This service will include an inspection for leaks as well as a refrigerant flush and recharge.
Even during the winter months or when you may not be driving as frequently, it is important to run your car’s AC system at its coolest setting for a few minutes each week to maintain appropriate pressure and ensure that the compressor is in proper working order. Run the defrost as well to flush out extra moisture from your car’s AC and prevent mold and mildew growth.
My Transmission Experts AC Maintenance Check
When you bring your car in for an AC maintenance check you can rest assured that one of our experienced AC repair professionals will diagnose any AC problems you’re experiencing and get you back on the road in comfort! While the specifics of our AC maintenance check vary depending on the make and model of your car, most will include:
- Visual examination of all car AC components and hoses
- Test thermostat performance
- Test temperature at air vent
- Check refrigerant pressure/level
- Test AC system for leaks
- Check for damage or clogs in condenser fins
How Do I Know if My Car AC Needs Service?
Obviously, if your car’s AC starts blowing hot air or stops working entirely, it’s time to bring your car in to have the AC repair by an experienced mechanic. But your vehicle’s AC may have issues that are less definitive, but still require expert auto AC repair. Here are a few common issues to look out for:
- If the air conditioner in your car has a buildup of moisture or debris, the system will not function properly and fail to cool down your car. Moisture can also cause the formation of ice crystals, causing damage to the AC system.
- Your AC system can be a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as bacteria and mold, particularly if it is not used for a long period of time. These issues often reveal themselves first through a foul odor coming from the interior vents.
- Your AC runs off refrigerant – much in the same way your engine runs off motor oil. A low refrigeration level will negatively impact the AC function. To address the problem, you may need to fix a leak or refill the refrigerant.
- When dirt, debris and grime build up on the condenser, which is used to cool the high-pressure refrigerant vapors leaving the compressor, the air flow will be constricted and no cooling can take place. Clean the clogged condenser with a flushing agent or replace the condenser as needed.
- Your AC system can also experience mechanical complications or malfunctions to the compressor clutch, pressure switch, fan belt, valve or other parts. Routinely check the system to repair a defective component before the problem spreads. The accumulators, receiver driers, and expansion valve are most susceptible to wear and eventual failure, and should be regularly replaced.
- If your car is making noise, the problem could be a dying compressor, the use of the wrong lubricant, contaminated refrigerant, broken parts or holes in the system.
Other signs that your AC system isn’t working right include faulty dash controls, water soaking the floor near the front of your car, only hot air blowing from the vents, or a malfunctioning defroster.
Signs Your AC Compressor is Bad & Needs Replacing
- The temperature is higher than it should be and the vents are blowing warm air
- Loud squeaking or shuddering noise when you turn the air conditioner on
- The clutch (if you have a stick shift) seizes and runs constantly
- Your fan is blowing air but it’s not cool
If you experience any of these bad AC compressor warning signs, take your vehicle in for service. After all, this is Houston. It is unsafe to drive without air conditioning in this heat. Replacing your car AC compressor is usually the only option.
The more you know about how your AC system functions, the better you can keep it maintained and working properly. Servicing your AC can include inspecting the system for leaks, running tests for pressure levels, adjusting the drive belt tension, emptying and refilling refrigerant, cleaning the condenser, and testing output temperatures. Give your AC system regular maintenance to help cut down on more serious and costly problems down the road – figuratively and literally!
How does the AC system work?
Your AC system does the important job of cooling your car cabin and engine through a process of evaporation and condensation, followed by compression and expansion.
Hard tubing and flexible hosing connect the various components for your car’s AC system, which are the compressor, condenser, receiver-dryer, expansion valve, and the evaporator.
A fluid called refrigerant, which can evaporate at a low temperature and condense at a higher pressure, gets passed around the system. Since 1996, most vehicles have used a non-chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant called R-134a, which has less detrimental impact to the environment than agents used in the past.
The compressor, which is the core of the AC system and powered by a drive belt attached to the crankshaft, takes the refrigerant in a low-pressure gaseous form and compresses it. The compressor then pumps the now high-pressure refrigerant vapor to the condenser where it gets transformed into a liquid. This process generates a great deal of heat, which is removed from the condenser by air flowing around the tubes of the condenser on the outside.
The receiver-dyer, a small reservoir vessel filled with water-attracting granules called desiccants, then gets the liquid refrigerant. It removes any remaining moisture that can harm the system by causing blockage or mechanical malfunctions. Next, the expansion valve receives the flow of liquid refrigerant from the receiver-dryer and removes the pressure before it goes into the evaporator.
In the evaporator, the now cold, low-pressure refrigerant can vaporize and absorb heat from the air in the car’s passenger compartment. A fan blows the air over the outside of evaporator to circulate cold air inside the vehicle.
This process repeats itself over and over again, regulated by a setting on the expansion valve.
The AC runs off energy supplied to it from your car’s alternator, which comes from the engine and is fueled by gasoline. When the AC is going in your car, it can decrease your gas mileage by about 5 to 10 percent, according to tests conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
Schedule an Appointment
When your AC breaks down in the Houston heat, it can quickly become as miserable as an oven while you’re stuck in traffic. Don’t wait until you’re sweating your way to work, call us and get a quote today!