Luckily, with most things, there’s plenty of preventative maintenance that you can do to your vehicle over time to keep it on the road. One of the problems that cars sometimes experience is a problem with the air conditioning units, and therefore their heating units as well.
If you live in a colder climate, the last thing you want in the morning when it’s -15C outside is to not have your heater working the moment you get in.
Here are some signs that it is time to update your car’s air conditioning system.
Like with people, most car parts fail because they get old. One’s air conditioning unit usually fails because of its age. The average shelf-life of an air conditioning unit is around 8-10 years. Now, there’s a great degree of variability in these figures, because it mostly depends on how often you use your AC and what the age of the AC was when you purchased the vehicle. Luckily for most drivers, 8-10 years is about the life of the car.
This is one of the first signs of a failing air conditioning unit. One easy way to spot this, is if your AC isn’t putting out cold air at all, or very minimal amounts. Now, there’s no guarantee that the problem is a coolant leak, but it’s one of the very first things your mechanic should check for. They will usually do this by check the hoses through the coolant fluid runs. You can check your coolant levels yourself, by opening the hood and locating the coolant tank, it’s translucent, so should be an easy find – just don’t get it mixed up with your windshield washer fluid!
Another thing you may notice is that your AC is making a strange noise when it runs. This can be a rattling noise, which usually indicates a lack of lubrication, meaning that the coolant fans are having to work extra hard to produce the cold air that you’ll need on those hot summer days, or the warm air that you’ll need on those cold winter ones. Another noise your air conditioner/heater could be making is a bubbling noise, this indicates that the air isn’t flowing freely along the coolant hoses – there could be a blockage, or a leak.
A good rule of thumb is to change your AC unit every ten years or so. But, as with everything, preventative maintenance is always the best policy.