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Auto Tech Secrets to Fixing Your Heating and Air Conditioning

A car’s heating and air conditioning systems are more than just a luxury to keep drivers comfortable. They maintain air circulation inside the car, while filtering out pollutants from the air outside. One of the most important aspects of training for auto mechanics is knowing how to repair broken heating and air conditioning systems. There are a number of steps you can take:

  • Replace the Cabin Air Filter
    The filter in the vehicle’s heating and cooling system eliminates dust and other contaminants from the air before it flows through the cabin. Over time, it fills up and must be replaced. If the system has little or no airflow, it could be blocked by a dirty filter. Depending on the vehicle and where it’s being driven, filters should usually be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
  • Check the refrigerant
    If the A/C’s refrigerant is low, it can cause the system not to work at full capacity. Fortunately, replacing it is one of the easiest parts of car repair training. They sell refrigerant at any auto repair store, along with basic instructions for how to put it in. But, there could also be a leak in the refrigerant valve which requires it to be replaced. You can check for leaks using a fluorescent dye that’s sold at most auto repair stores.
  • Inspect for Damaged Parts
    Is the fan motor working? Are the heater hoses in good condition? Check for things like bad wires or switches, broken fan belts, etc. There may be a loose connection somewhere, or something may have burned out and needs to be replaced.
  • Check the Compressor
    If the problem isn’t obvious from a quick inspection, you’ll need to test a few things to locate the trouble. Pop the hood, start the car, and turn on the air conditioning. Check the compressor to see if it’s turning. It’s a cylindrical device off to one side with valves coming off it. If the A/C is blowing air, but the compressor isn’t turning, then the clutch isn’t engaged. This could be a symptom of several different problems including bad fuses or bad wiring.
  • Replace Any Faulty Parts
    Hopefully by now you’ve found what the trouble is. That’s great if it’s something simple like a loose connection or a clogged filter. If not, chances are one or more of the system’s parts need to be replaced. It may be something small like the blower motor or the fan belt, or you may need to replace the compressor or heater core. Learning how to do this is an important part of training for auto mechanics. The placement of these parts and the procedure for replacing them are different for each car, but instructions can generally be found in a car’s manual. It may require partly disassembling the dashboard.

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