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If the summer heat drives you to distraction, the last thing you need is a malfunctioning air conditioning (A/C) system when you’re on the road. Checking your vehicle’s A/C annually will help you keep your cool when temperatures soar.

Getting stuck in traffic is stressful enough, but getting stuck in traffic during the heat of summer without a functioning A/C is the pits. It is important to always have the A/C system properly maintained to keep it in tip-top shape and avoid costly repairs down the road.

A vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC) keeps the interior cabin comfortable in any season by providing the right temperature and humidity level. A thorough inspection should be performed annually and a typical A/C service consists of the following steps:

  • A service technician checks pressures to test operation, refrigerant charge and outlet temperatures.
  • If the system is found to be low on refrigerant, a leak test is performed to find the source of the leak. Keep in mind that if your vehicle is leaking refrigerant, it is damaging the ozone layer.
  • Refrigerant may be added if necessary to “top off” the system, although some states do not allow “topping off.”
  • A technician may also check for evidence of refrigerant cross-contamination, which is the mixing of refrigerants.
  • A/C service should also include a check of the compressor’s drive belt and tension.

Checking the A/C once a year is key to making sure your cooling system is running efficiently all year long. A properly running HVAC system will help improve your gas mileage, is more environmentally-friendly and will keep you calm as you drive on.

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