It’s summer and it’s time to give your car AC a tune up

People start thinking about AC when the summer sets in. During other times, they choose to ignore it since they don’t need air-conditioning. But, come summer and they suddenly turn their attention towards the AC only to find that it is not working. Irrespective of the climate, the car AC needs regular maintenance and care for effective running. Here are some tips:

* Like our health, machines too need care. Get the AC serviced after 25,000-30,000 km.

* During the regular service of the vehicle, get the condenser of the AC cleaned. A blocked condenser could affect the performance of the AC. Remember to check if there are cracks or any other problems in the cooling fin.

* Switch on the AC only after starting the engine. Similarly, switch off the AC before turning off the engine.

* If the car is parked under the sun, do not switch on the AC immediately. Open all doors and let the hot air out. Do not put the AC in full blast in one go. Increase it gradually.

* If it’s an AC car then drive with AC on. This will help reduce dust inside the car and prevent drying of the O-ring in pipe joints due to nonuse.

* In an AC unit, the compressor has moving parts. In case of a gas leak, compressor oil too could be lost. So, when gas is being refilled, compressor oil too should be topped up proportionately.

* In areas where the salinity of air is high, the filter of the condenser could get damaged fast. When the damage sets in, small holes could appear on pipes and fins, which could lead to gas leak.

* Another issue that affects the functioning of the AC is the dust inside the car. The issue becomes worse when climate alternates between sun and rain. When cars are run with windows open, dust enters the cabin and gets sucked into the evaporator coil and impair its functioning.

* In some cars, when you switch on the AC, it stinks. This is due to the presence of bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms that get deposited in the evaporator.

* Removing the evaporator or the cooling coil and cleaning them can help solve this problem to some extent. Ensure that you clean it once in 30,000-50,000 km or once in two years. These days, premium vehicles come with a filter to prevent this issue. Do not forget to change the filter after 10,000-15,000 km. The filter blocks dust and other trash that could stick to the evaporator.

* Check if the fresh air cable and the hot air cable are aligned properly. If they are wrongly aligned, both hot air and cold air could get mixed.

* If the AC is not working, before rushing to a mechanic, open the fuse box and check the fuse of the AC. If the fuse is blown, the AC won't work.

* If the AC is not working or the cooling is low, before taking vehicle to a mechanic, check if the AC's fresh air intake is kept open.

* Even in full blast, if the air throw from the evaporator is weak, this could be due to a blocked filter or a clogged evaporator. It is advisable to fix this first before switching on the AC. If any unusual sound comes from the evaporator or the compressor, switch off the AC immediately and take the help of a mechanic.

* Check how tight is the drive belt of the car. If it is loose, it could slip. If it is too tight, it could lead to the damage of the AC compressor's magnetic clutch.

* Manufacturers these days use thin aluminium pipes and fins to improve the efficiency of the AC. Notwithstanding how firmly they are fixed, the smallest of the vibrations inside the engine room could lead to gas leakages.

* During routine service, ask the mechanic to check the temperature inside the AC vents. If the temperature is not between 4 and 10 degrees C, the AC is not working properly.

* If car interiors and seat leather are in black, cover the seat in white cloth. When you park the car in the sun, this could help reduce the heat inside the cabin.

* Try to park in shade. Using a cover is also a good option; use a cover that can reflect sunlight.

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