CAMBRIDGESHIRE'S INDEPENDENT

BMW & MINI GARAGE

Bartlett

Air conditioning

Many of our customers have asked questions that regularly crop up during an air conditioning service. Here are just some of the frequently asked questions we receive:

Why do I need to have my A/C system serviced?
All vehicle air conditioning systems leak to a lesser or greater degree. The losses occur when refrigerant escapes through the pipe joints as a result of vibration and ageing of rubber hoses and 'O' ring seals, as well as through the seal on the front of the compressor shaft.

 

How often should the A/C system be serviced?
An annual check and bi-annual service are recommended to keep the A/C system operating correctly.

 

What are the symptoms of a poorly performing system?
You may notice that the air from the vents is not as cold as it was. The A/C system should be able to produce a flow of air at almost freezing point. If not, then the system could be low on gas. Also, if the windows remain misted up in the winter even with the A/C switched on then a service will be required.

 

What are the benefits of a well looked after system?
Increased level of comfort by maintaining the perfect in-car temperature irrespective of outside temperature. Clean, fresh air even in the heaviest traffic. Air-borne pollen and dust removed from the cabin relieving hay fever and asthma sufferers. Prevents drowsiness and enhances driver awareness. Improved visibility, especially in winter by removing moisture allowing the heating system to rapidly clear misted windows.

 

When is the best time to have the system serviced?
The A/C system can be serviced at any time of the year. Most problems are first noticed when the air conditioning is switched on for the first time in summer - perhaps you'll find it ineffective at cooling, or not working at all? If the air conditioning has not been regularly operated during the winter the gas can escape through dry seals and joints. Why not take advantage of our 'out of season' offers for A/C servicing, to beat the rush, and have peace of mind that your A/C will work when you need it most.

 

Is it true that my Air Conditioning should be run regularly throughout the year?
Its personal choice of course, but running your air conditioning all year around helps to keep the system well lubricated and sealed. Air conditioning is fantastic in winter because it acts as a dehumidifier for the cabin, this helps to rapidly demist the internal cabin area during cold wet spells. The refrigerant not only cools the passenger cabin, it actually carries the oil that lubricates the system, and most importantly the compressor. It also keeps the seals and hoses moist, thus preventing them from drying out and cracking leading to leaks.

 

Why is looking after the compressor so critical?
This is the main component in the A/C system, replacements typically cost £300 - £700, but can be as much as £1000, plus labour costs to remove and replace. A seized compressor will normally result in other components getting damaged and the A/C system will certainly need to be flushed to remove debris. Prevention is always better than cure!

 

What is involved in a service?
We will measure the static and operating pressures in the system, check quantity of refrigerant present and check all functions. Then we recover the refrigerant and vacuum the system down to a very low pressure to remove any moisture that might be present. Since most systems leak, a pressure test is carried out to confirm the integrity of the whole system. The system is re-charged with refrigerant and any lubricant that was recovered with the refrigerant is replaced.

 

Why do you put Ultra Violet (UV) dye in the system?
The UV dye shows up under a bright UV light source. So any leaks present in the system can be easily identified either during fault finding or if future leaks were to develop.

 

Why can't I service the system myself?
This is difficult not only because specialist equipment is needed but most importantly the refrigerant present in the system must be recovered. It is ILLEGAL to vent the refrigerant into the environment. The system is also under high pressure and needs pulling into a deep vacuum to remove any moisture. The refrigerants themselves have a very low boiling point and will cause freeze burns if they come into contact with skin or eye tissue.

 

How long does the Standard Service take?Using our high performance equipment, and when no major faults or leaks are present, the service can comfortably be carried out in less than one hour. This allows time for initial checking and pressure readings, de-gassing, pressure testing, deep vacuum, re-gassing, confirmation of system integrity using electronic leak tester, and final operating checks.

 

Is there a discount for more than one vehicle serviced together?
If you book two family cars in at the same time, will will be pleased to discount the regular prices by 20%, just mention our offer code AIRCON20 when booking. For three or more vehicles, or fleet enquiries please call.