Living in Australia, we use our car’s air conditioning systems a lot. It’s a feature of our car that we take for granted until it stops working – and only then do we stop to think about the mechanisms that allow it to work and what we can do to keep them operating at a premium.
Thankfully, there are many warning signs that you can learn to watch out for. If you experience any of the below signs, then it’s time to take your car’s air conditioning in for a service. It is better to err on the site of caution, as even if it isn’t your air conditioning acting up or shutting down, it could be something else more serious:
Your cold air just isn’t cold enough
If you find yourself constantly cranking up your aircon to the highest cool level or checking if it is at its highest level, then you might be running low on refrigerant. Using a refrigerant not only keeps the cool air cool, but it also extends the lifespan of your aircon system and seals leaks that naturally occur due to wear and tear over time. It is nearly impossible to gauge the level of refrigerant in your car’s system without the proper equipment. The good news is that once you top up you should be good to go for the next few years.
Damp patches, stains or puddles underneath your dashboard
We admit that getting into your car and finding water where there should be none can be a bit worrying. No need to stress, as the problem could be as simple as a stopped up drain hose or a worn part that is leaking condensation inside your vehicle.
There’s a bad smell coming from your vents
Most drivers don’t know that your aircon system can grow mould. Not only does this smell terrible, but it can also exacerbate health problems if you happen to inhale any of its spores. As most car air conditioning systems have maximised their internal space over time to provide more surface area, there are now more places for mould to grow. And as you use your air conditioning while on the road, the spores you are inhaling could be from anywhere.
You keep hearing rattling sounds from your aircon vents
A knocking sound could mean that there is debris caught in the systems vents, or that a belt or section of the interior has come loose. Again, there is no way to tell which one it is at a glance.
All of the above are the most common symptoms of an air conditioning problem – just remember that the only person who can make a final diagnosis is your mechanic. Perhaps it’s time for a check-up.