Frequently Asked Questions

SOME COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CAR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS


Q: Can I top up the gas in the air conditioning myself - I've seen small DIY cans on sale?
A: We strongly advise against using any kind of DIY kit to refill the AC system yourself for several reasons. Firstly your car needs a specific quantity of refrigerant in it. This could be 500 grammes or 1,500 grammes. The only way to accurately measure the amount of gas in the system is to evacuate it and add a specific weight of refrigerant back in. Over filling can cause more damage than under filling. Secondly R134A refrigerant boils at around -26° C when under normal amospheric pressure. R134A is present in liquid and gas form under pressure within the vehicle AC system. If you get it on your skin it will cause severe frostbite and if you managed to squirt it into your eyes then you would have no need for a car any more! There are many other reasons which we won't go into here but bear in mind it is illegal to work on vehicle AC systems unless you are licensed to do so and there is a good reason for that. Don't try and save £10 by doing it yourself and risk expensive repairs or personal injury, leave it to the professionals who are trained to do it properly.

Q: A guy in a white van offered to recharge my AC for £20 and said it would only take 5 minutes. How can he do it so cheaply and quickly?
A: We have heard some alarming stories recently about certain dodgy people recharging systems on the cheap. These people simply add propane gas by letting the compressor suck it in. Propane is cheap and can be used as a refrigerant, it is also used in caravans which is where we suspect these shady operators usually live. However propane is explosive and with the condenser at the front of your car full of it you would be driving around in an unexploded bomb! Remember too that the guy will not have vacuumed your system to remove moisture which will form ice, plus you have no way of knowing how much gas is in there - and both of these can cause damage. Always ask to see proof that the person working on your car is qualified to do so - nobody genuine will take offence at this!

Q: Is it true I should use the air conditioning all year round, even in winter?
A: We recommend you use the air conditioning year round regardless the temperature your heater is set to. AC is not just for cooling - it also removes moisture from the air so prevents misting of windows. Also modern cars are very efficient and you should not notice any increase in fuel consumption. If you prefer not to have the AC switched on constantly then you should run it for at least 10 minutes once per week. This will ensure the refrigerant and oil circulates and prevents the seals from drying out which can cause them to leak.

Q. What's that musty odour I can smell coming from the air vents in my car and how can I get rid of it?
A. Under certain conditions, moulds and bacteria (normally present in the air) may form on the surface of the evaporator core, causing an unpleasant odour inside the vehicle. To prevent this from happening you can try turning off the air conditioning while leaving the blower running for a few minutes before the end of each journey. This will dry the moisture that encourages bacteria growth from the evaporator core. We can also treat the evaporator with an antibacterial product - please contact us for details.