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Auto Air Conditioners

Summer has arrived and with it we are seeing increased automobile air conditioner issues at all of our Mass Tire/Windsor Tire locations. We all offer complete A/C services and repairs, and I would like to relate some frequently asked questions about automobile A/C systems and why the stop functioning.

How does an auto air conditioner work?


An automobile’s air conditioner system is an intricate chain of parts that controls the flow of a refrigerant through a closed loop. The refrigerant actually works to move heat from your car’s interior to under the hood, where it dissipates. The most common refrigerant currently in use is called R-134A. The refrigerant is a gas that is put under pressure so that it will remove heat from the air around it. This process takes place by the evaporator, which is commonly located in your car’s dashboard. The vehicle’s blower fan works to circulate the cold air created by the evaporator.

How does and auto air conditioner break?


There are many reasons that can cause and auto A/C system to stop functioning. The most common issue is that the Freon / refrigerant, has leaked out of one of the numerous different components/parts that make up and auto A/C system. The compressor is the heart of the A/C system; it is attached to the engine and is rotated by a belt. The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and moves it through the closed loop A/C system. The A/C Condenser is a fragile part that dissipates the heat and is commonly located in front of the vehicle’s radiator. The Evaporator, as you may remember, pulls in the heat from the car’s interior. Connecting all these parts together into the closed loop system are countless hoses and fittings.

If any of the A/C components stop functioning, or develop a leak, then it will need to be replaced. After the repair is completed the A/C system will need to be recharged with refrigerant as part of the repair.


If the refrigerant leaked out, then wouldn’t we see it? If we cannot see it, how can you fix it?


Freon is a colorless, odorless gas. No one can see it leaking. In order to diagnose an A/C refrigerant leak, we add a light-sensitive dye to the Freon.

When the Freon leaks out, the dye we added to the Freon will appear on the leaking component/components.


So what service have I had performed when my system needed a “recharge”


An automobile’s A/C system should never need to be “recharged”. A recharge means some refrigerant needs to be added to get the system back up and running again. If Freon had to be added, “recharged” then that means there is a leak in the system. At MassTire/Windsor Tire stores, we perform a system leak check before we recharge any A/C system. As described earlier, most leaks can only be detected with the dye that we add to the Freon. Trust us, we wish we could find all leaks before any money is spent, our jobs would be so much easier, and the result would be more satisfied customers.


Can you give us a free estimate?


Sorry, we cannot, in order to diagnose a non-functional A/C system, we need to spend a considerable amount of time evaluating the problem, and most of the time an A/C Recharge is the first step. There are many other systems and repairs we do give free estimates for, but the A/C system is not one of them due to its complicated nature.


How expensive can the repairs get?


One of the problems with Auto A/C is that the system is a closed loop. We might find a problem in one part of the loop, diagnose it, repair it, and then another problem can arise soon after. There are many different components that can break, or leak Freon. Some repairs can be relatively inexpensive, some can be very expensive, it all depends on what the system needs to get it back up and running again.


So my car’s A/C doesn’t work, what should I do?


As with any decision regarding money, you need to set a price and stick to it. Perhaps you want to just try the recharge, to either diagnose the issue, or possibly get through the hot summer months. If so, set that as your price. If you value your car’s A/C a lot, think about the value of the car, and how soon you planned on replacing the car. You may decide to get that new car a little sooner. Your car’s A/C is a luxury; you do not need it to function as much as you want it to function. How much you want the A/C to work will determine how much you are willing to invest to get it fixed when it stops blowing cold.


As with any of your cars systems, please do not hesitate to call us at any of our Mass Tire/Windsor Tire locations, we are here to assist you with all of your Tire and automotive needs.




Written on Sunday, July 20, 2014 by
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