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Old 22nd June 2011, 12:19   #16
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Default re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Umm.. I guess AC's these days are pretty reliable, and compressors easily last for more than a lac kms. Are these precautions really needed?.

I don't follow nothing in my ikon, and its at ~1.1 lac kms. Nothing has gone wrong with the compressor.

but, like bluevolt mentioned, it might be advisable to use the AC atleast once a week.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 12:44   #17
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Default re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Have a slightly different take.

1) The components are - the swtiches & knobs to control the AC.
Touch these as less as possible to improve their life. Actually with the newer climate control systems, one does not need to switch on / off the AC when one switches of the car, they are programmed for the compressor to only switch on after a few minutes / secs depending upon the condition, the blower speed also rises only after one actually starts the car not just the electricals by turning on the car. This ensures, preservation of the battery (not letting it run down before you start the engine) , compressor and blower.

2) The vents -
We get sprays to clear the events of dust and prevent pollination that causes nasal allergies. The vents themselves are delicate and get stronger with the price of the car, so would recomend that they be handled with care while cleaning them with a moist cloth (moistened with a plastic refinish product) - least they break.

3) The blower behind the dash. -
Needs to be totally serviced every 3-5 years in India. In humid conditions all the foam seals to various vents too need to be replaced with newer foam. It simply crumbles during blower service. The blower condition affects the load on the Compressor as well as the air flow. A blower service will result in an immediate improvement in cooling and air flow in cars that are more than 3 years old. The Sad bit is that since this is located well below the dash and centre console, one ends up removing it all and invariable one of the non related plastic bits break.

4) The compressor and the related tubing.
Tubing joints, valves do fail with cars that are prone to such issues or are more than 5 years old and need to be replaced whenever the fault is detected, else don't touch them. Of course both blower and compressor service required replacement of the coolant and oil.
Coolant pressure needs to be checked whenever one finds that cooling is reduced. The compressor has a flywheel and clutch that connects it to the engine along with a AC belt all three of them are more likely to fail compared to the compressors themselves. The AC belt must be replaced every 3 years / 80,000kms or whenever one sees wear an tear in the belt.

Other points-
If you have a manual AC them just switch of the blower to switch of the AC, don't use the AC on/off switch additionally. Also keep the car in inside air mode most of the time - cools faster.

In a hot car (parked under the sun) drive with the windows down for the first 2 mins.

The Ensure that oil is added to the coolant when it is refilled and that the correct rated coolant for your car is added. Authorized service centre guys are better equipped for the specific higher end models though more expensive as well.

If starting a car after 15 days or so start with the AC in off position.

CFC free is default today, and there are some newer cars with coolants that harm nature even lesser.

The above stuff is just my Mantra based on years of usage (and repairs) so pls don't hold me responsible incase it doesn't work for you.

Last edited by ACM : 22nd June 2011 at 12:47.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 13:41   #18
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Default re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

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Originally Posted by ACM View Post
Have a slightly different take.

The Ensure that oil is added to the coolant when it is refilled and that the correct rated coolant for your car is added. Authorized service centre guys are better equipped for the specific higher end models though more expensive as well.
It is known as a refrigerant. Newer cars use R134A while older cars 90's use R12. R12 has been banned as of now.

Another point I would like to make is to periodically (in 1-2 months) clean the condenser fins with medium pressure water from a garden hose (not power wash as the fins will bend). This process improves the cooling efficiency of the A/C system. In addition, cleaning them before the start of summer season is a must.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 13:55   #19
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Default re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Quote:
If you have a manual AC them just switch of the blower to switch of the AC, don't use the AC on/off switch additionally.
Why?

Quote:
I don't follow nothing in my ikon, and its at ~1.1 lac kms. Nothing has gone wrong with the compressor.
Yes, same here. Ikon AC is indestructible!
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Old 22nd June 2011, 14:00   #20
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Default re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by wild child View Post
...before switching of the ac fully, recommending you to turn of your compressor first and leave the blower working for a couple of minutes before you turn that off too...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ACM View Post
...just switch of the blower to switch of the AC, don't use the AC on/off switch additionally...
Two contrasting advice. But, I agree with wild child. Keeping the blower on after switching off the compressor for sometime will ensure that evaporator coils have fully dried and no condensation left. This would prevent bad odur due to dampness, bacteria etc. Even my Hitachi home AC user manual recommends this- run the AC in "fan mode" (blower only) once in a while to dry off and clear the evaporator fins.

-BJ
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Old 22nd June 2011, 16:59   #21
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Default Re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Background on my earlier take

Have used my previous cars for Roughtly 100k, 100K, 175K, 85K and in general for over 10 years. Things were always fine in the first 5 years and for roughly about 100k kms, it is later that things start going wrong. Had to replace the Compressor, ac cluth sensor valves and various bits of tubing in the Cielo towards it's later life - had it for 11 years. And simultaneously also had multiple changes of the AC Clutch, Bearings, and even the compressor and the condensor for the Safari, finally later of the compressor in the Laura. Cielo and Safari required work on the blower as well. So obviously earlier I did some things wrong that I have later learnt not to repeat (I hope).

Besides the above problems the AC switches in all 3 needed to be worked on. Hence the conclusion that one must not fiddle with them. I personally have seen the Blower condition when it was opened up for servicing after 5 and then 9 years, and at both times it was in such a messy state that even if the AC had kept working fine it would be a very unhealth air that we would breath.

Helping out a lot of work colleagues with getting their Car AC serviced at the small garage where I get my work done lead me to conclude that this was not specific to just me and my selected models. But then there are some cars will really reliable AC, and some others with no so great ones. Laura is known to have a weak ac with a life of just about 50-60k kms.

What I did swear to do after going through a lot of AC issues was to avoid fiddling too much with the AC switches, and to preferably go in for cars with climate control feature that controls the AC automatically and taking care of starting the compressor later.

Besides would also add that we must replace the polen filter in every alternate service if the car is equiped with one. The polen filer obviously requires faster replacement if one keeps it in the mode allowing for outside air.

Also as rightly pointed out by Justcause Refrigerant is the right word not coolant - I was just trying to think of the word, this came to mind and I used it. Big Oops.

We service our home AC's every 3-6 months and a min of 1-2 times year, and it is really dirty in that short time, so we can well imagine what would happen to the coils, fins and filers in the car AC over years.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 17:12   #22
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Question Re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Most of the car owners are aware as to the air conditoning part but I would like to know what checks/servicing are done by the workshops. Do they have a routine maintenance of the components which go into air conditioning system? How many of us have actually enquired to see if the checks are done during the periodic servicing. Normally we report any issues before and after the servicing is done but refrain from asking the root causes for any such issues.

Can the troubleshooting tips be also included in this thread?
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Old 22nd June 2011, 21:18   #23
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Default Re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

My Chevy Tavera's AC has been running perfectly for the past 1,04,000 kilometres. I ALWAYS drive with my AC on, even in Ooty and also during nights! So it is 100% AC usage till now.

The only service I have done for the AC was through my A.S.S, periodically, along with the regular servicing. The compressor is running perfectly and cools the cabin in under a minute. The triple AC is also working superbly. The third row seat is the coolest place in Chevy!

I always switch the blower on, with the compressor/AC switch ON. Is it wrong? Should I first switch the blower and then the compressor?

Where can I get the AC blowers and filters cleaned?
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Old 22nd June 2011, 21:31   #24
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Default Re: Maintenance Tips : Car Air Conditioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
How many of us have actually enquired to see if the checks are done during the periodic servicing.
I actually ask them to clean the radiator for effective cooling but the SVC adviser says that it is always washed during routine engine bay washing.

You made a very interesting point as even I never bothered to ask SVC people about A/C service, will surely ask them next time.

Last edited by bluevolt : 22nd June 2011 at 21:32.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 21:50   #25
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

Quote:
Originally Posted by wild child View Post
All we have to do is, once we start moving, first switch on the blower. then wait for a couple of minutes before you turn on the compressor. Similarly, before switching of the ac fully, recommending you to turn of your compressor first and leave the blower working for a couple of minutes before you turn that off too.
This will improve your compressor's life.
I follow the same in my Bolero and i20 crde.

cheers
No offense, but I find no value in this suggestion. I switch on the blower & compressor together, everytime, and still had my compressors lasting over 1,00,000 kms. If there was any disadvantage to switching on the compressor right away, manufacturers wouldn't give us the "Auto" climate control button in modern cars.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 22:19   #26
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
No offense, but I find no value in this suggestion. I switch on the blower & compressor together, everytime, and still had my compressors lasting over 1,00,000 kms. If there was any disadvantage to switching on the compressor right away, manufacturers wouldn't give us the "Auto" climate control button in modern cars.
+1 Apart from allowing the engine to heat up and reach running temperature before you load it further with AC compressor. Absolutely no advantage what so ever.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 23:56   #27
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

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+1 Apart from allowing the engine to heat up and reach running temperature before you load it further with AC compressor. Absolutely no advantage what so ever.
With the kind of power and torque engines provide these days, even that has become insignificant, I guess.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 00:01   #28
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

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With the kind of power and torque engines provide these days, even that has become insignificant, I guess.
It's not related to the power and torque of the engine, it’s actually related to the fact that a cold engine should be stressed less so as to avoid wear and tear by not switching on the A/C immediately on starting the engine.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 00:08   #29
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

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It's not related to the power and torque of the engine, it’s actually related to the fact that a cold engine should be stressed less so as to avoid wear and tear by not switching on the A/C immediately on starting the engine.
It IS infact related to the power and torque out put of an engine.

What is stress to an engine?. Its the load put on it by the compressor.

On an engine, like m800 where the power out put is mere ~30bhp, the AC compressor puts a load whist cold. Infact, some of us still use the AC 'off' button as a boost. On the other hand, consider an RS petrol, which shells out ~150bhp and you don't even know of the AC is on or not.

Higher the power/torque output, lesser the stress the compressor puts on the engine, and with the kind of power output of modern engines, running the compressor whist cold start is hardly an issue.

I DO NOT follow any of these precautions on my cars, and still they are running absolutely fine - more than a lac kms done.

Last edited by dhanushs : 23rd June 2011 at 00:12.
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Old 23rd June 2011, 00:17   #30
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Default re: Automotive air conditioner servicing & maintenance

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Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
It IS infact related to the power and torque out put of an engine.

What is stress to an engine?. Its the load put on it by the compressor.

On an engine, like m800 where the power out put is mere ~30bhp, the AC compressor puts a load whist cold. Infact, some of us still use the AC 'off' button as a boost. On the other hand, consider an RS petrol, which shells out ~150bhp and you don't even know of the AC is on or not.

Higher the power/torque output, lesser the stress the compressor puts on the engine, and with the kind of power output of modern engines, running the compressor whist cold start is hardly an issue.
I am not talking of cold start issues. What I am trying to say is that for any car, be it a 20 lakh Fortuner or 1 lakh rupee Nano, we should avoid switching on A/C immediately after starting a cold engine (morning start) as the engine is cold and switching the A/C will cause more wear and tear to the engine as cold engine suffers from maximum wear and tear and putting it to sudden stress will cause more wear and tear (like it is always suggested not to race the engine on cold starting). So the message to be conveyed is that switch on the A/C at-least after five minutes of starting the engine.
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