The short answer is: when the vent air goes from feeling cold to feeling cool.
Often times in moderate climates, such as we have in the Bay Area, one can go for several months without using the air conditioning in the car. Meaning, if there is a problem at the end of summer or fall, we may not notice it until the first warm day of spring, when we turn it on for the first time of the year and not too much happens.
The air conditioning system in a car is a closed loop system filled with Freon. The Freon is pumped throughout the car’s a/c system of various pipes, hoses, condensers, and various other devices at high pressures. Over time some of the seals and hoses may develop small leaks.
If enough Freon leaks out, the system will not be as efficient at cooling or it may stop working altogether. Unless you develop a large leak or blow a hose out altogether, the first notice you will get is the feeling that it’s just not as cold as it used to be. Now this can happen for a sundry of reasons that are not always related to low Freon. So, you can’t assume Freon or lack thereof is the problem.
A professional technician, such as those at Sturken Automotive can run a battery of tests to see if low Freon is the problem, or if some other issues are stopping the system from providing maximum cooling.
Just how cold should my a/c get? Well, that is a good question without a solid answer because it depends on a number of variables. Suffice it to say that if it is a reasonably warm day in the 70’s, the duct temperature at the coldest vent in your car (usually the center dash) should be reading about 25-30 degrees cooler. If you are not getting close to that range, then it is time to have the system inspected.
Running the air conditioner when it is not in optimum condition costs money in fuel as the engine has to turn the a/c pump longer. The longer the pump runs, the harder everything associated with it has to work; consequently more fuel is used.
If your car, truck, or RV is over 5 years old chances are it could use an a/c checkup. Schedule an appointment with us at Sturken Automotive and we will check all of the air conditioning components such as the: fans, belts, a/c pump, Freon, duct work, vacuum lines, controllers, a/c relays, cabin air filers, hoses, evaporators, radiators and the air temperature to make sure you stay cool in your car, truck, or RV.
Don’t lose your cool - call Sturken Automotive today!