If you’ve ever had to hop into a car parked in the sun on a hot July afternoon, you know how much you depend on automotive air conditioning. The blistering heat – even here in Colorado where humidity levels remain relatively low – can be unbearable.
If your car has air conditioning, you probably take it for granted. If it doesn’t, you definitely notice. Learn more about how car air conditioning works and why you should occasionally bring your car to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair for a recharge.
Car A/C has been around longer than you might think. It was first invented in 1939 by Packard, and the following year, this car company became the first to offer this feature. By 1969, more than half of all new cars came with air conditioning. Plus, aftermarket A/Cs were available if penny-pinching car buyers skipped the add-on in January only to regret their decision come June.
For decades, the same refrigerant was used in car air conditioning. Known as R-12 or Freon, it was later determined that this refrigerant damages the ozone layer. It was phased out and eventually completely banned in 1996 in favor of R-134a. Now, any older cars still using Freon must be retrofitted to work with the newer, safer refrigerant.
Today, automotive air conditioning is universal with 99 percent of cars manufactured after 2010 featuring it. However, just because a car comes equipped with A/C doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work flawlessly for the life of the vehicle. Sometimes recharging is necessary restore the ideal amount of refrigerant in the system.
As with any form of air conditioning, car A/C units rely on several components to work in tandem for proper operation.
Like the oil in your car, refrigerant circulates through the system long-term rather than being used up like gasoline. Still, the refrigerant level may eventually drop below the ideal amount, just as oil levels gradually decline. Low refrigerant causes the A/C to lose its cooling ability.
This is where recharging comes in. The process involves safely and properly draining old refrigerant and adding new refrigerant in a precise amount. If the refrigerant is low because of a leak, it’s important to have this fixed so your A/C works well all summer long.
Think your car air conditioner could use a recharge? Stop by Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair for professional service. You can also schedule an appointment online or call ahead at (970) 682-4202.