Keep It Cool
by Pat Goss
Even in a convertible there are going to be times that you want good air conditioning, so I’ve got some tips for you. The first one is something you can do yourself. As air conditioning systems get older, they begin to leak. How do you find the leak? Well, you can go to the local parts store and you can buy one of these kits to inject dye into the air conditioning system. Now that dye will come out where the refrigerant comes out, and it will give you a tell-tale as to where the leak is. They’re inexpensive, they’re very effective and very easy to use.
All right, now, one of the big problems when repairing air conditioning, and this is a professional tool, is to make sure that the air conditioner is working properly. Now the best way to do this is with this particular tool. This is a thermometer that uses two temperature probes. One of them goes out here in front of the grill to tell you the ambient temperature of the air. The second one goes inside the car in one of the dash vents. Now I’m going to put this in this container of ice, and what we’re going to see is a temperature differential, and that’s what you’re looking for on the automobile. The amount of temperature drop from outside to inside should be 15 to 20 degrees in most cases, and that is a very accurate way of determining if the air conditioner is working properly. A very clever tool.
Next, you take your car into the repair shop, they must have a refrigerant identifier before they touch your air conditioning system. There’s a lot of bogus refrigerant out there, and let’s say they did some work on a car that had some of that in it and they didn’t use the refrigerant identifier. That means that when they work on yours, they’re going to be working with contaminated equipment. That can contaminate the system on your car. Big aggravation, big expense. They must have, they must use a refrigerant identifier.
Here’s a neat part. Out of sight, out of mind. This is the air conditioning evaporator. It’s buried up in the dash. That’s what actually gives you the cold air. Well, it also gets dirty, and as the dirt builds up, the air conditioning efficiency goes down. Therefore, it should be cleaned once a year.
Now we have this demonstration here to show you how that works. We’re going to turn on the blower, and what this does is there is a foam that’s injected into the system, and the blower motor distributes this through the evaporator. That in turn cleans the system and makes the air conditioning a lot more efficient and makes the evaporator last a lot longer.
If you have a question or comment, write to me. The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.