A/C DIY/Advice

I have two things to say about car A/C.

1) If it seems like the air is not blowing as fast as it used to, you need to check your in-cabin air filter. There is a filter in most cars made since around 2000, sometimes called in-cabin filter, cabin air filter, or HEPA filter. (This is not the same as your engine air filter.) If you don’t change this on a regular basis (most cars every 10-30K miles, depending on conditions you drive in), it can clog and slow your airflow. This can cause problems with your A/C or your blower motor, if you let it go too long. (I put off changing it in my last Honda and ended up burning out the blower motor and the A/C compressor…it wasn’t until I was changing the blower motor that I saw the pile of dirt/bugs/small leaves piled on top of the cabin filters which sit above the blower motor.) If you don’t want to pay $30-$60 to have a shop change it, simply go to the local auto parts store and get the filter(s) that fit your vehicle and change it yourself, it will likely cost you less than half this amount . (I get mine online for even less $.)

With that said, even if you think the air is blowing fine, I recommend checking the filter anyway. Here is a video for changing the filter in an Acura RSX (Honda Civic is the same, except, inside, the tab is on the left instead of bottom, other Hondas/Acuras are similar, some other cars may be similarly behind the glove box, check your owner’s manual for location and how to change.)

(FYI: if you are thinking of just taking the filters out…not recommended, I’ve seen where people find mice and other nests on top of their cabin filters, without the filters there, the rodent would get right into your blower motor. http://forums.clubrsx.com/showthread.php?t=596926&page=2)


2) Thinking of getting one of those A/C recharge cans at the auto parts store?

You might want to check this out first:

Reposted from MotorWeek: http://www.motorweek.org/features/goss_garage/a_c_advice

(Transcribed text from video.) “Folks, when it comes to getting your air conditioner in your car repaired, you’re often your own worst enemy. Quick is not the way to do it. Cheap is not the way to do it, because cheap can cost you a lot of money later on. Alright, one of the things, if the system has been down for more than a few hours, chances are, when it’s repaired you’re going to need a new receiver dryer. This has a desiccant bag in it, that absorbs moisture, and moisture from the air will contaminate it in a very short period of time.

Alright, some cars use this part right here. This is an orifice tube. Not only does the refrigerant flow through this, but all of the oil that lubricates the parts of the system flow through it. This screen in here gets clogged up over time, and it restricts the amount of oil to lubricate the air conditioning system. If your car has it and it needs a repair, put a new orifice tube in it. Make sure that the shop that does your air conditioning work uses the proper type of lubricant. There are multiple types, each car has one that is recommended for it. Gotta be the right one, otherwise you’ll be buying a new compressor.

And speaking of compressors, they do fail. And when they do, they fill the system with little-bitty pieces of metal. So, before the new compressor goes on, you have to use an air conditioning flushing kit to flush everything out. And in most cases there will be a filter, an inline filter, that has to go in to protect the new compressor.

Also, here’s something that a lot of shops overlook, and that is vacuuming the system. You see, when you’re working on the system, air gets into it. We have to get that air out, but more importantly, the air has moisture in it. So, we do two things with this vacuum pump. Number one, we pull all the air out of it. But, number two, we drop the pressure. And as we drop the pressure inside the system, any water that’s in there, boils at room temperature, and turns into a vapor. And the vacuum pump pulls it out. This will protect the new parts in the system. Often, on a humid day, you’ll have to pull a vacuum on the system for three or four hours. So make sure that the shop that you select does all of these things, and you’ll have a good, cold air conditioning system that’ll last a long time. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line. Right here, at MotorWeek. ”

Reposted from MotorWeek: http://www.motorweek.org/features/goss_garage/a_c_advice