With the arrival of summer, recharging the car in the car becomes almost an obligation. In the hottest season, the air conditioner in the car becomes one of the best allies of motorists, perhaps forced to work, to spend many hours in their car. After a long day in the sun, in fact, the temperatures in the passenger compartment can reach 75/80 ° C, making the air conditioning in the car truly indispensable . For this an air conditioning charge becomes fundamental.
A question that most motorists ask themselves is: how often should the car’s air conditioning be charged? In reality there is no universal answer. There are those who recommend to refill the refrigerant gas every 2 years, who every 4, who every 5 years. Basically it is good to consider 4 or 5 years as a sufficient period of time but other factors must also be taken into account. For example, if the car in question travels 50,000 km per year, using the car ventilation system, it is normal to assume that the recharge of the air conditioning may be necessary after a couple of years. However, there are also cases where it is not necessary to recharge the refrigerant gas even after 10 years of vehicle life.
HOW THE CAR’S AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM WORKS
Photo Shutterstock | by Monika Wisniewska
Before analyzing symptoms, causes and how to recharge the air conditioning of your car, it is useful to know how the air conditioning system of a vehicle works . Each car, in fact, is equipped with a system consisting of a tank containing refrigerant gas, a circuit of pipes and a compressor connected to the car engine. In this way, the hot air sucked in from the outside transfers heat to the refrigerant gas, lowering its temperature and losing humidity, thus refreshing the passenger compartment. The air conditioners can be of two types : manual, which are managed through knobs and buttons by the driver himself, and automatic in which the air conditioner itself manages the temperature and flow based on the parameters set previously.
THE SYMPTOMS TO UNDERSTAND WHEN TO RECHARGE THE AIR CONDITIONING
Understanding whether or not there is a need to recharge the air conditioning in a car is not so difficult. Generally the time has come when the air conditioner stops being efficient: the air coming out of the vents is not very cold, it takes a long time to reach a pleasant temperature inside the passenger compartment or, in the case of automatic air conditioning, the system does not manages to reach the set temperature. All of these are clear symptoms of the need for an air conditioning refill.
RECHARGE AIR CONDITIONING, THE DIY METHOD
After analyzing the symptoms and coming to the conclusion that the time has come to recharge the air conditioning, it is good to know what to do. There are do-it-yourself kits for refilling the refrigerant gas independently, which require a certain level of previous experience but also allow a fair saving. First of all it is good to have protections for face, eyes and hands. Once this is done, you can buy a refrigerant gas cylinder – of the same type as the one previously used by the car – and attach the cylinder hose to the service connection of the air conditioning system: it is good to check immediately that the pressure is correct , i.e. with a value within the expected range. Then thevalve for refilling the refrigerant, activating the air conditioner (with the engine running) to the maximum for checking that the pressure is maintained during operation. In order for the operation to be considered concluded in a positive way, it is good to make sure that there are no strange smells in the passenger compartment during operation.
SPECIALIZED WORKSHOPS, THE SOLUTION FOR EVERYONE
Photo Shutterstock | by Roman Zaiets
If, on the other hand, you are not familiar with this type of operation, it is always advisable to focus on a specialized workshop . The cost of recharging air conditioning can range from about 30 to 70 euros, depending on the city and the type of car, a figure to which the labor must be added: usually, however, the overall cost varies between 80 and 120 euros. There are also car manufacturers that offer free refill along with the car’s ordinary maintenance coupon. A good practice is also to change the cabin filter , which generally has a cost of 20 or 30 euros. To keep the air conditioning system in perfect condition, however, it is good to follow some rulessuch as, for example, avoiding bumpy roads to ensure that, with the rough road surface, the joints of the pipes can be loosened or the seals can be lubricated periodically by operating the air conditioning about thirty minutes every 15-20 days.