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Check car A/C before the really hot weather arrives

PHOENIX – With temperatures expected to hit the 90s this week in the Valley, many people might be turning on their car air-conditioning for the first time this year.

KTAR’s Matt Allen from Bumper to Bumper Radio said it’s a good idea to get air-conditioning systems checked before the middle of the summer months.

“This time of the year it’s going to be good right now because the system isn’t getting work hard, so when it’s 70 or 80 or 90 degrees it’s going to work really well even if it has a minor problem or is low on charge,” he said. “(You) really won’t know until we get into the heat of the summer if you have any issues.”

Allen said some common issues could be as simple as recharging the system or checking air filters.

“If it’s really ice cold in the mornings and then you come out in the 80-degree air, or the 90-degree air where the car has been sitting in the sun… and it takes a while to cool down then you probably have an issue,” he said. “You need to get it in to have it checked and check the charge level, you want to check your cabin air filter and make sure that it’s clean so your getting good air flow.”

For charge issues he said it’s best to take a car in to be serviced rather than buying a consumer charging kit.

“The charge kit you buy at your favorite auto parts store, it’s 12 or 18 ounces of refrigerant and these systems are so critical,” he said. “You can over charge or under charge them by 2 ounces of refrigerant and it can make the system not perform well.”

Allen said one easy fix to check for before taking a car into the shop is to simply look at debris stuck in the car grille. Things such as leaves, sand, plastic bags or other foreign objects can restrict airflow into a car and reduce its air-conditioning performance, according to Allen.

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