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It’s no longer considered a luxury, so most modern cars come with air con. However, like anything else, it needs regular maintenance. If you’re not getting cold air into your vehicle, regassing is the most likely solution.
A regas is the removal of old refrigerant gas from the system and replacing and recharging it, along with the lubricant and in line with the manufacturer’s instructions, so that the air runs cold again. (By the way, vehicles made from 2017 onwards are legally obliged to use a new type of refrigerant.)
While DIY kits are available, they save you almost nothing compared with getting a specialist to do the job. What’s more, if something goes wrong, you could be left with a pricey bill, or there could be safety issues. (Refrigerant can cause painful freeze burns if it gets on your skin or in your eyes.) Equally, if there are any other problems with the air con system, a professional will be able to put them right.
Most manufacturers suggest getting the air con serviced every couple of years, although many drivers wait until there’s no cold air coming through before taking action. But it’s really not worth putting it off—as well as creating an uncomfortable travelling environment, poorly working air conditioning makes it harder to demist windows in winter, and may mean the engine has to work harder, so fuel consumption rises. Additionally, pipes in the system could crack, or parts seize up.
A faulty air conditioner won’t affect your car’s MOT, but it can affect the comfort of you and your passengers. It’s worth keeping your air conditioning running at its optimum performance as the impact it can have on your vehicle’s fuel efficiency could significantly affect the day-to-day cost of your motoring.
If your AC has stopped working correctly and you notice that the air conditioning in your car isn’t providing the usual levels of cold air as normal, it’s probably time for a regas.
It’s true that most general car services don’t cover air conditioning, but any garage should be able to do a straightforward air con service and regas for you at an affordable price. They will probably want to do a pre-service inspection first, and any repairs needed as a result are usually billed for separately.
The inspection should include looking out for any cracks or leaks that could hinder the system’s efficient working.
Try and use the system all year round to keep it running smoothly, and consider an anti-bacterial clean if musty smells are emerging from the vents—your garage or workshop should also offer this. Additionally, change the cabin filter regularly.
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