All you need to know about car air conditioning: our expert advice

Car air conditioning is an essential piece of equipment for any vehicle, allowing you to stay cool and comfortable on those hot summer days. But how does it work? What kind of maintenance does it require? In this article, we’ll explore all the basics of car air conditioning and answer all your burning questions.

Rich text

What is car air conditioning and how does it work?

Car air conditioning is the process of cooling and dehumidifying the air inside a vehicle. It works by passing hot air from the interior of the car over a set of evaporator coils which cools the air and removes moisture from it. The cooled air is then circulated back into the car, providing a comfortable and pleasant environment for the occupants.

What are the benefits of car air conditioning?

Car air conditioning is a great way to stay cool and comfortable while driving in hot weather. It can also help keep the air inside your car clean, making it more pleasant to breathe. Air con can also help reduce allergens in the air, making it easier to drive for those with allergies. Additionally, air con can help reduce the amount of noise coming from outside the car, making it easier to concentrate on the road.

Air con systems in vehicles are as important in the colder months as in the summer! Indeed, car air con is important in winter, as it can help to reduce the amount of condensation that builds up inside the car. This condensation can cause windows to fog up, making it difficult to see out. By using car air con, you can help to reduce this build-up of condensation and make your car more comfortable and safer to drive in winter. 

Having a fully working car air con system is thus key to get you comfortable on the road all year long!

How do I use the air conditioning in my car?

The air conditioning system in your car is designed to keep the interior of your car comfortable and cool. To use the air conditioning in your car, you will need to turn on the air conditioning system by pressing the "A/C" button. Once the air conditioning system is turned on, you can adjust the temperature, fan speed, and other settings to your desired level.

Your air con system may be manual or automatic. If your car is equipped with a manual air con system, you'll have to set up temperature and fan speed with manual controls on your dashboard. This system has been around for decades and is still a valuable option for many drivers. 

On the other hand, automatic car air con systems are designed to maintain a comfortable temperature in the car cabin regardless of the outside temperature. This is done by using a combination of sensors, fans, and compressors that work together to regulate the temperature. The system is designed to detect when the car cabin is too hot or too cold and uses the fans and compressors to adjust the temperature accordingly.

How do I maintain my air conditioning throughout the year?

Air conditioning is a key element of car maintenance. You'll need to make sure it works properly so that you stay comfortable all year long! We recommend a regular maintenance of your air con system. A free air con check can be performed to ensure the normal running of your car air conditioning system. 

The first thing you can do to keep your air conditioning performing well over the years is to run it regularly, regardless of the season. We underestimate the impact of under-using a component of our vehicle and yet, to keep it performing well, it is recommended that you use your air conditioning for about ten minutes every week to keep the system running smoothly.

Also think about some small additional habits that will help prolong the life of your air conditioning system. First, always be sure to turn off your air conditioning several minutes before turning off the engine. Then, in hot, dry weather, remember to release any hot air from the passenger compartment before starting the air conditioning system to reduce thermal shock and trauma to the parts.

Finally, we recommend that you have an Air Conditioning service performed every two years.

How do I know if my air con needs recharging?

Detecting when your Air Conditioning needs to be recharge is easy with 4 tell-tale signs:

  • A bad smell in the air: Usually due to a bacteria build up on the evaporator.
  • A stagnant mist on the windows: A sign that the air conditioning is not dehumidifying the passenger compartment.
  • Lack of cool air: In most cases, this is due to a lack of refrigerant in the circuit.
  • Poor ventilation which is often due to wear or clogging of the pollen filter.

The air con system is complex, which is why we strongly recommend that you consult a Point S expert as soon as these symptoms appear and as a preventive measure before each spring/summer season.

What gas do I require for my air con recharge?

When it comes to re-gassing your car's air conditioning system, it is important to select the right type of gas. The two most common types of gas used are R134a and R1234yf. But what is the difference between those two air con gases and what is the correct gas for your air con recharge?

R123A gas

R123A is a type of refrigerant gas that is commonly used in car air con systems. It is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gas which is non-toxic, non-flammable and does not contribute to ozone depletion. R123A has a higher boiling point than other refrigerants, making it optimal for automotive air conditioning systems.

R123A is the most common refrigerant used in car air conditioning systems as it is efficient and cost effective.

R1234YF gas

R1234yf is the newer type of gas and is slowly becoming the industry standard. It is important to determine which type of gas your vehicle requires before recharging it. 

R1234yf gas is an environmentally friendly refrigerant used in car air conditioning systems. It has zero ozone depletion potential and a low global warming potential, making it the ideal choice for modern cars. R1234yf gas is also non-toxic and non-flammable, making it safe to use in car air conditioning systems.

To check if your car is equipped with a new R1234yf air con, you can refer to your owner's manual. Our Point S expert technicians can advise you and perform air con recharge with both R123A and R1234yf gases.

What to do when your car air conditioning isn't working or is not blowing cold air?

Car air conditioning can be a lifesaver on a hot summer day, so it can be frustrating when it's not working properly. If your car's air conditioning isn't working, there are a few potential causes that may be to blame. Knowing what to look for can help you diagnose the problem and get your air conditioning working again.

If your air conditioning system does not blow cold air in your cabin, it means that an air con recharge is needed. Recharging your air con can be done by specialists such as our Point S experts.

What to do if your car air conditioning has a leak?

If you notice that your car air con is not working as efficiently as it should, it may be due to a leak. A leak in the air conditioning system can cause the refrigerant levels to drop, leading to reduced cooling power. To fix the issue, it is important to identify the source of the leak and take appropriate action to repair the system.

If you notice any drop in you air con system's performances, we strongly recommend booking an appointment for a free air con check at your local Point S centre. Our experts will take a look and advise you on what to do to fix an ac leak.

How much does it cost to recharge a car air conditioning system?

For more information on our Air Conditioning recharge and maintenance and for more technical details, please visit our Air Conditioning service page.

To have your system checked or for any further information, please make an appointment on our website or visit your nearest Point S centre.

Find the best car air con service near you

Your Point S experts are car air con specialists. Need a car air con regassing? You're in the right place! Our 300+ independent centres across the UK provide air con services such as air con recharge for both R134a or R1234yf gases and free air con check.

No stress with Point S!