Author Topic: Should I fix my car air conditioner?  (Read 5168 times)

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Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« on: June 24, 2015, 10:25:39 PM »
I have a fairly Mustachian 12 year old domestic sedan. Where I live the Summer is hot and humid. The air conditioner worked fine last year but failed to work this season.

How about you, would you fix your car air conditioner if it broke? Or would you live cheap by rolling the windows down and sweating?

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2015, 10:55:16 PM »
I've already done some troubleshooting. Checked fuses and relays, they are good. Compressor clutch was not engaging. Bypassed the low pressure switch, and the compressor started (so the compressor clutch is good). With he compressor running, the system failed to produce cold air.

What that adds up to is the Freon leaked out. Could just be a hose, but I probably won't be that lucky. If it is the condenser, it will probably cost about $400 to replace and refill at a shop. I am big on DIY, but I don't have the tools (gauges, vacuum pump, Freon recovery) to work on air conditioners.

Le Barbu

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2015, 08:46:11 AM »
1-Did you check/replaced the cabin air filter lately?
2-Having the system checked for leaks, emptied and refilled should be arround 100$. A/C loose +/-5%/year of gaz on average. Garage can tell you how much (pound and oz) remain in the system and it gives you a pretty good idea of the entire system state. This also  remove the moisture out of it. Low gaz can mess everything else...
3-If you don't drive much and don't travel on highway to often, let it go. To much money for what it worth.

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 01:08:38 AM »
1-Did you check/replaced the cabin air filter lately?
2-Having the system checked for leaks, emptied and refilled should be arround 100$. A/C loose +/-5%/year of gaz on average. Garage can tell you how much (pound and oz) remain in the system and it gives you a pretty good idea of the entire system state. This also  remove the moisture out of it. Low gaz can mess everything else...
3-If you don't drive much and don't travel on highway to often, let it go. To much money for what it worth.

Air flow is fine. I replaced the air filter in the Fall.

You might be right about the very slow gradual loss. I had the system fill and checked for leaks this week. $102. They could find no leak. They left the dye in so if it does leak out it should be obvious where it came out at. I also bought a UV flashlight so I can see the leak for myself.

foggnm

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 06:46:41 AM »
Yes, you should pay to get it fixed. If you have a 12 year old car that you use for any place of work where you might not want to show up sweaty, then get it fixed. If you use the car just to run short errands, then live with it. I live in the mountain west and conceivably would be fine without car AC. But I wouldn't dare consider no A/C in an eastern/humid state. Sometimes you need to drive someplace that you arrive fresh and clean.

Merrie

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 11:11:15 AM »
Last year the AC went out in our 18 year old car. Since my husband is a SAHD and I work variable shifts, we did the following: I'd drive the bad car if I worked the morning shift, since it was cool enough that I wouldn't get to work sweaty and gross. On the way back I'd sweat, but then I could change when I got home. If I worked the evening shift (2-10) I'd drive the good car so I wouldn't show up sweaty and gross, and he just wouldn't be able to drive the kids around. It worked for a while. We ended up replacing the car but not really due to that--if we hadn't seen a great deal on the van we wanted, we probably would have limped through the summer and it would have been okay again in fall. We figured we would replace the car within a year or two and it wasn't worth it.

A 12 year old car I would probably get fixed though since I would plan to drive it for several more years. Unless your car is on its last legs I would get it fixed.

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 12:58:56 PM »
To both foggnm and Merrie:

It is working great since it has been refilled. I am hoping the the leak is so small it will work for years without further intervention.

Definitely a nice everyday luxury to be cool.

That said, until the temperature nears 100, I can tolerate it as long as the vehicle is moving. But in traffic and at stop lights, in summer heat and humidity I sweat bullets. Worst is when that happens on the way to something important, and I arrive in damp clothes looking like I haven't showered in a week.

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 01:13:38 PM »
That said, until the temperature nears 100, I can tolerate it as long as the vehicle is moving. But in traffic and at stop lights, in summer heat and humidity I sweat bullets. Worst is when that happens on the way to something important, and I arrive in damp clothes looking like I haven't showered in a week.

For entertainment value, if nothing else, you could try spritzing yourself with a water bottle periodically, which was one of the more amusing things MMM mentioned trying on his blog.  I think he didn't mind, but thought it might be odd if you periodically turn around and spray your kids.

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2015, 02:22:23 PM »
I'd get a quote on it and probably fix it. It may just be a Freon leak. Even if they can't find the leak it could be years until it runs out again. Even if you're tough as nails and don't mind becoming drenched in sweat, your greenhouse of a car may necessitate you roll down the windows to not die, which is going to hurt your mileage. Plus if you'd ever resell it, no AC is going to be a big turnoff to a buyer who doesn't want to put much work into it.

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2015, 02:38:59 PM »
I'd get a quote on it and probably fix it. It may just be a Freon leak. Even if they can't find the leak it could be years until it runs out again. Even if you're tough as nails and don't mind becoming drenched in sweat, your greenhouse of a car may necessitate you roll down the windows to not die, which is going to hurt your mileage. Plus if you'd ever resell it, no AC is going to be a big turnoff to a buyer who doesn't want to put much work into it.

Agree. Besides, even if it costs a few hundred dollars to fix, that's still less than a single-month new car payment for most people.

Le Barbu

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 07:15:54 PM »
1-Did you check/replaced the cabin air filter lately?
2-Having the system checked for leaks, emptied and refilled should be arround 100$. A/C loose +/-5%/year of gaz on average. Garage can tell you how much (pound and oz) remain in the system and it gives you a pretty good idea of the entire system state. This also  remove the moisture out of it. Low gaz can mess everything else...
3-If you don't drive much and don't travel on highway to often, let it go. To much money for what it worth.

Air flow is fine. I replaced the air filter in the Fall.

You might be right about the very slow gradual loss. I had the system fill and checked for leaks this week. $102. They could find no leak. They left the dye in so if it does leak out it should be obvious where it came out at. I also bought a UV flashlight so I can see the leak for myself.

So, it's fixed?

slugline

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Re: Should I fix my car air conditioner?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 08:28:58 PM »
That said, until the temperature nears 100, I can tolerate it as long as the vehicle is moving. But in traffic and at stop lights, in summer heat and humidity I sweat bullets. Worst is when that happens on the way to something important, and I arrive in damp clothes looking like I haven't showered in a week.

For entertainment value, if nothing else, you could try spritzing yourself with a water bottle periodically, which was one of the more amusing things MMM mentioned trying on his blog.  I think he didn't mind, but thought it might be odd if you periodically turn around and spray your kids.

I'm pretty sure a lot of people in the southeastern block of the USA thought this suggestion was hilarious. That wonderful phenomena known as "evaporative cooling" simply doesn't happen when it's humid . . . because it's humid! It gets even better if your spritzer bottle has been sitting in a car  parked outdoors. You'll be spraying 120F water that will not evaporate on your body that is already soaked with perspiration that isn't evaporating. Brilliant!