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Lehman's Automotive Services, Inc.  

The Signs? Just Don't Do It!
What happens if I put off servicing my A/C system?

The Signs: Time for A/C Service

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The air conditioning just stopped working.

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Even on short trips, it takes longer for your car to cool down.  Placing your hand over the vent, you'd swear that the air is not as cold as it once was.

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On a long trip, although the air conditioning was working fine at the start of the trip, the air apparently gets blocked somehow, and the AC unit stops cooling.  When I turn off the A/C for a minute or so, when I turn it back on,  a cloud of white smoke appears to be coming out of the vent. 

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The AC was recharged, but it still takes forever for the car to cool down on a hot summer day.  This is a sign that more than recharging is required.  

These are all signs that your A/C system needs servicing, and if it stops working altogether it will require repair.  A/C systems operate under high pressure.  Over time, the refrigerant leaks out of the A/C system, but this may not be the only problem with your A/C.  If you think of refrigerant as your body's life blood, you would better understand that you wouldn't be working too well either without the blood that you need to operate correctly.  All we need is 30 minutes, if we're not too busy, and we can check your system, refill your refrigerant if you need it, and your back in business.  If further repair is necessary, we can provide you a no cost or obligation estimate. 

You might ask why does refrigerant leak.  The answer is that leakage always occurs from a driving force: from high pressure (your A/C unit) to low pressure (the atmosphere).  The refrigerant is contained within the A/C system using seals.  These seals assume that your refrigerant will be circulating within the A/C System all the time.  The refrigerant mix acts as a lubricant for these seals.  Without it, the seals can deteriorate, but seal deterioration is relatively rare.  What confounds this notion is that we live up north where we don't operate (nor should we or we'll damage the unit - so don't do it) our A/C systems for half the year.  Fortunately for all of us, leakage rates are generally very small, almost insignificant, except over time, your A/C system is going to need a little boost of its life's blood.    

So you might ask, what happens in Florida.  They use their systems year round.  To answer that question, it is true that their leakage rates are less than up north, but again, this is a high pressure system where leakage will always occur from the A/C unit (high pressure) to the atmosphere (low pressure).  Leakage rates, even though insignificant, over time it becomes significant where servicing is necessary.  Also, since it's paramount that those cars get as cold as possible as quickly as possible due to the heat down south, their A/C units are serviced or refilled much more frequently.  

Just Don't Do It!
Unless you are a trained professional, we do not recommend trying to service your A/C system on your own.  If you over pressurize your system, which is very easy to do, you can slug your system.  Your A/C system includes both oil and refrigerant that work together as a team.  Slugging means dumping or losing your oil that is vital for proper lubrication of your system.  This can quickly be followed by failure of your system.  The proper system balance is dependent upon the outside air temperature and a trained service professional that knows what they are doing.  Servicing your A/C system using a trained profession is fairly inexpensive compared to a catastrophic failure, due to inexperience. 

What happens if I put off servicing my A/C system?
Obviously, if your system isn't working properly, and it's hot, you and possibly your family members are going to be uncomfortable until your system is recharged or repaired.  Without its life blood (refrigerant), your system has to work harder with little or no benefit for you.  In other words, its obvious that A/C systems consume more gas than non-A/C equipped automobiles (they still draw power), except you get diminishing cooling effects over time.  Prolonging the servicing for an extended period of time just might cause failure of other A/C components or a complete failure of your system.  Treat your vehicle well and your vehicle will be good to you. 

03.21.11

Lehman's Automotive Services, Inc. 
2837 Walnut St.| Harrisburg, PA 17103
Toll Free Phone: (717) 232-0900| Fax: (717) 232-xxxx 
Web Site: www.harrisburgpainspections.com

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