How Long Does Air Conditioning Last in a Car?

car AC cooling a car

History of Car AC

Cars haven’t always had air conditioning, something that would be hard for kids today, even some adults, to believe. Used to be “turn on the 4/440”, meaning, roll down all 4 windows while we drive 40 mph. While it wasn’t the most comfortable ride during a hot summer in Venice, Florida, there wasn’t any need for car air conditioning service!

It wouldn’t be until 1939 when the first car air conditioning option was available on 2,000 Packards. Because of problems that car air conditioning service couldn’t correct, this option was discontinued by 1941.  The main evaporator and blower system was in the trunk, there wasn’t any thermostat to control the temperature, and the cost to have this option was more than the average American could afford during the depression time. 

It wouldn’t be until 1953 that car air conditioning would appear again in the Chrysler Imperial. The “Airtemp” air conditioning system became available in 1941 through 1942, disappeared for a short time, and returned in 1951-1952. In 1953, a more advanced version of the “Airtemp” system would be released. It would be more along the lines of car air conditioning we know today with a single switch on the dashboard, with options of low, medium, and high choices. 

What signs indicate that my car’s air conditioning system needs servicing? 

If you’re experiencing any of the following, schedule an appointment with your trusted mechanic for air conditioning service: 

  • The Airflow is Weak

When the airflow from the vents is weak, that usually indicates that air is not getting to the vents. First, make sure the vents are opened and if they are, there may be mildew or mold built up on the evaporator core, the blower hose is loose, or the blower fan may not be operating. 

Other possible problems could be more detailed like any of the various seals within the system are blown. A professional car air conditioning service technician will have the knowledge of how and equipment to check these various things and narrow down the problem.

  • Warm Air 

If the air coming from the vents isn’t cold, you should have the system checked by a professional car air conditioning service tech. Some of the possible problems can be a hose or tube is clogged, or any of the numerous components within the system have quit working. Those components include the blower motor, resistor, compressor, condenser, evaporator, fuse, or switch. 

It could also be from a freon leak or vacuum leak. These leaks could have been happening for some time, so when the air starts blowing warm, it needs the attention of a car air conditioning service tech immediately before the complete system burns up. 

  • Cool Air that Gets Warm

If your car air conditioner gets warm after blowing cool for a short time, it could be because the expansion valve is blocked, keeping the refrigerant from flowing into the evaporator. It may be the compressor clutch has gone out and isn’t maintaining the right pressure, a blown fuse, or a refrigerant leak. A professional car air conditioning service tech can narrow down the problem and make repairs or replacements as needed.

  • A Foul Smell

A foul smell coming from the vents can indicate a leak in the system, the air filter should be replaced, the air vents or evaporator case has mold built up, or even a rodent has died under the hood of your car.  If it is a burning smell you’ve noticed, it could be compressor wiring is overheating or has burnt. Your car air conditioning service tech will be able to inspect the system and determine the problem. 

  • Strange Sound

Unusual sounds like rattling when the air conditioning is turned may be the system is clogged by debris, a simple fix, or it could be the fan belt or the condenser has broken. These are things your car air conditioning service tech can determine while inspecting the system.

car AC cool down

How often should preventive car air conditioning service be done? 

Most car manufacturers recommend having professional preventive car air conditioning service performed every 12 months or between 12,000 and 15,000 miles, whichever comes first. 

What does a car air conditioning service involve? 

A preventive car air conditioning service appointment will typically include the technician making a visual inspection of the entire system. They will check the refrigerant, add any if needed, replace the air filter, and check the system’s operation including the pressure and temperature range. 

What is air conditioning refrigerant and why is it important? 

Today’s car air conditioner works by changing refrigerant between liquid form and gas-like form. As that change takes place, heat and humidity from the car are absorbed and cool air is pulled into the cabin of the car. And when that air isn’t cool, or quits blowing, is where professional car air conditioning service may be needed. 

Cooling It All Down to the Dollar

Is car air conditioning service expensive? The cost of a car air conditioning service will depend on a few different factors. Those factors that can affect the cost of the service are: 

  • Year, make, and model of the car.
  • The problem the technician finds.
  • If parts have to be replaced instead of repaired.

And every car air conditioning service shop will have different rates as well.  As long as the compressor of your car air conditioning system is working, the entire system should last between 8 and 10 years. 

Rolling Auto Service provides car air conditioning service in Venice, FL for your convenience. Give us a call at 941-493-6511 to get started.