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Did you know that up to 10% of the refrigerant is lost every year from the car air conditioning system naturally through hoses and connection elements.

This means that the car air conditioning cooling capacity is noticeably reduced after only three years. Hence vehicles air conditioning systems need to be serviced regularly.

     

FAQ/Advice

Why do you need to use the licensed technician to service your car's AC system?

Under Australian laws to protect the environment, the use of depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases is regulated. The licensing system ensures that only technician with adequate licences are allowed to service the vehicle's AC systems. People operating without a licence or authorisation are committing an offence and are subject to prosecution. More information is available at Australian Refrigeration Council website.

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How do I know which gas is inside my vehicle's A/C system?

Generally all cars manufactured prior to 1994 used R12 and all vehicles manufactured after 1994 use R134a. Recharging of the vehicles with R12 is prohibited as this refrigerant destroys the ozone layer. If your vehicle uses R12 it needs to be retrofitted to R134a or SP34E. Retrofitting to SP34E is a much cheaper option as it is direct swap with R12 and is recommended for older vehicles.

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What is Retro-fit?

The term Retro-fitting is used to describe the procedure used to convert an air-conditioning system designed for use with R12 refrigerant, to be modified to operate using R134A or a blended refrigerant such as HR12, FR12, SP34A etc.

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What is a leak detection?

Leak detection is a process through which the air conditioning system is checked for refrigerant leakage. All refrigerant leaks must be found and rectified, as low refrigerant charge can cause system damage:

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Air and moisture can enter the system at the leak point and cause internal components to corrode.

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Compressor lubrication depends on refrigerant circulation.

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Refrigerant helps cool the compressor

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Why is a leak detection important?

It is requirement by law that every air conditioning business must at least provide electronic leak detection. It is illegal to charge the AC systems that are leaking as all the refrigerant will be released into the environment if the leak is not fixed. Leak detection can be visual, electronic, soap solution and ultra violet.

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Why do I need to service my vehicle's air conditioning system?

Vehicles air conditioning systems need to be serviced regularly because:

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Up to 10% of the refrigerant is lost every year from the system naturally through hoses and connection elements. This means that the cooling capacity is noticeably reduced after only three years

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The compressor oil supply is no longer guaranteed as the refrigerant that circulates through the system serves as its carrier medium. The compressor replacement is very expensive and is usually in excess of $1,000.

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Humidity in the system can cause expensive repairs when the filter/drier becomes saturated. This can lead to corrosion of the components and eventually their mechanical failure. Hence, it is strongly recommended that filter/drier be replaced every two years.

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Why does the filter/dryer have to be replaced?

The filter/dryer removes humidity and dirt particles from the air conditioning system to protect it from damage and guarantee optimum cooling performance.

Part of the humidity from the air conditioning system can be trapped by the filter/dryer, which can also be known as an accumulator depending on the system. The saturation point as been reached after approx. 2 yrs of operation. If the dryer is not replaced regularly, the high water volume in the system will lead to corrosion. Increased wear and mechanical damage to system components are bound to follow. The expansion valve could also ice up. This can lead to considerable problems up to complete failure of the air conditioning system.

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Where does the musty smell inside the vehicle come from?

The cause of the smell can be an old interior filter and/or a soiled dryer/evaporator.

In time, the dirt particles trapped by the filter react with the air humidity. When the filter is too old, this can lead to unpleasant smells developing. Bacteria, fungus and other micro-organisms nesting in the evaporator can create musty smells and provoke allergic reactions. Regular filter replacement and regular disinfection of the evaporator will eliminate this problem or prevent it occurring in the first place.

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Why do my windows fog? How can i prevent this?

Fogging on the windows is nothing more that humidity in the air condensing on them - specific use of the air conditioning system can help here.

In the cold, wet season, the air is generally damp, and we bring more humidity into the vehicle again and again on our clothes, wet shoes, and jackets. This effect is increased even more by human breath. The air conditioning system dries the air in the vehicle interior, clearing the windows quickly. They clear even quicker if the circulation mode is selected first.

This can be done in next to no time:

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Switch the air conditioning on.

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Direct the air flow only onto the windscreen.

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Press the recirculation button (in some vehicles this is not possible in combination with point 3 - continue with point 4)

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Set ventilation and heating to maximum

Notice that it is unsafe to keep a reticulated position for too long as the air inside the cabin can become stuffy and can cause health problems.

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How can refrigerant escape from the air conditioning system when it is a closed system

A small amount of refrigerant can escape due to 'natural seepage' through the hoses used in the system and the seals of the individual system components. This can be up to 10% of the total refrigerant volume per year. A 100% sealed system is not possible due to the requirements placed on the system in vehicles (flexible lines, material selection).

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How can I use my air conditioning system as effectively as possible?

IN THE SUMMER

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Park in the shade.

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Open the doors for a short time before starting your journey.

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Set the air conditioning and ventilation to maximum at the start of a journey.

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Drive with the windows/sunroof open for the first few minutes.

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The interior temperature should not fall below 22 degrees C.

If possible, park your vehicle in the shade on sunny days. Otherwise the temperature inside the vehicle can rise to up to 60 degrees C. To get rid of standing heat in the vehicle, open the doors briefly before starting your journey. To make things pleasantly cool as quickly as possible, we recommend switching the air conditioning to maximum cooling and the fan speed to maximum. The air stream does not have to be directed directly at the passengers. Brief use of the recirculation mode speeds up the cool down. Opening the windows and sunroof during the first few minutes has the effect of exchanging the air more rapidly, thus cooling the interior quicker. 'Draughts' must be avoided. The interior temperature should not fall below 22 degrees due to health considerations.

IN THE WINTER

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Switch the air conditioning on

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Direct the air flow only onto the windscreen

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Press the recirculation button (in some vehicles this is not possible in the combination with point 2 - continue with point 4)

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Set ventilation and heating to maximum

To warm and dry the air and clear the fogged windows as quickly as possible, the air conditioning system should be switched on before you begin your journey and the air flow directed at the windscreen. To prevent even more damp air entering the passenger compartment, recirculation mode should be chosen temporarily. We recommend setting fan speed to the highest level and the heating to maximum. Recirculation mode must be switched off again after a short time.

In most cases the medium level is sufficient once the fogging has been cleared from the windows.

The air conditioning system can then be switched off.

Note: models on some manufacturers switch the air conditioning system off automatically when the outside temperature falls below approx 4 degree C. Recirculation mode with the air conditioning system switched on and the air flow directed only at the windscreen is not possible on some vehicles.

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How do i notice that there is something wrong with my air conditioning system?

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Poor cooling performance

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Increased fuel consumption

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Noise

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Fogged windows

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Development of unpleasant smells

The points mentioned above can be seen as signs that the air conditioning system has not been serviced properly or is not functioning correctly. Too little refrigerant can be the reason for poor cooling performance (refer also to "Why do air conditioning systems need to be serviced"). Increased fuel consumption can be caused by the air conditioning compressor being switched on too frequently and for too long.

Noises that can only be heard when the air conditioning is switched on are usually caused by the compressor or the expansion valve. Permanently fogged windows is often a sign for a soiled interior filter (refer also to "Why do my windows fog"). Musty smells can be caused by bacteria or fungus nesting in the evaporator. An old interior filter could also be the cause. To avoid follow-on damage, the air conditioning system should be checked by an expert without delay.

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ABN: 88 640 279 629  AU: 20211 MRB: 4501

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