The car air conditioning system is a relief during hot summer days; however, driving a car with a faulty air conditioner can be unbearable. When the air conditioner starts to malfunction due to leaks, it not only makes your driving experience uncomfortable but puts a strain on your car engine. Being a car specialist, we will educate you about the various indications for car AC leaks and corresponding solutions.
Identify Car Air Conditioning System Leaks
It does not matter which car brand you use. To fix the car AC leaks, you have to identify the source of the AC leaks. Then, you can proceed with possible solutions or take your car for AC repair service. Use any of the following ways to detect AC system leaks.
Check the refrigerant lines, compressor, and condenser to locate any residue of refrigerant or PEG oil. It is a good approach to expose AC system leakage in case of a slow leak.
Inject a fluorescent dye into your car’s AC system. Then, use the UV light to spot the dye, which shows the leak location.
Electronic Leak Detector
Use a special electronic leak detector to locate the refrigerant’s chemical particles to pinpoint leaks in the AC system. However, make sure your car’s AC is clean before using it.
Soap Bubble Test
Apply soapy water to your car’s AC system components and observe for bubbles. It indicates the escaping refrigerant and the location of the leak.
Causes and Solutions of Car Air Conditioning System Leaks
Have you detected the AC system leak? What was the reason behind it? Below are some of the reasons. Identify yours with corresponding solutions.
Corroded or Damaged Components
Check if your car’s AC components are damaged or corroded. It can happen due to multiple factors, which include exposure to an environmental element, accidents, and road debris.
Over time, these components (condenser, evaporator, or other metal parts) can have physical damage or corrosion. This physical damage affects the AC system’s integrity, which leads to leaks and an overall decline in its efficiency.
Moreover, the corrosion (rust) also causes AC leaks because it weakens the structure of these components and creates openings where condensation or refrigerant can escape.
In this case, immediate action is required to prevent further leaks and deterioration. You must do regular inspections to detect any indications of physical damage or corrosion to the AC components.
If corrosion is identified, you can use special coatings or sealants to stop it and protect the sensitive AC components. On the other hand, if there is physical damage (bent fins on the evaporator or condenser) detected, then repair or replacement might be essential to restore the AC system’s integrity.
O-rings are rubber seals that play an important role in sealing the air conditioning system and preventing refrigerant leaks. Over time, these O-rings are worn or damaged due to exposure to temperature fluctuations and high pressure.
The O-rings fail to maintain a tight seal when they develop cracks or wear out and result in refrigerant leaks from connections they were designed to secure.
The most effective way is to replace damaged or worn O-rings. The professionals use tools to locate the damaged or worn O-rings, remove them, and install new high-quality O-rings that are compatible with your AC system.
Being consistent with the timely replacement of O-rings during routine car maintenance or regular inspection can prevent AC system leaks.
Loose connections (couplings, hoses, and fitting) can permit the refrigerant to escape, leading to a faulty cooling performance, which ultimately results in potential leaks.
You can experience loose connections within your car’s AC due to vibration from the car’s engine, improper installation, driving on bumpy roads, or wear over time.
The loose connections are identified by inspecting all couplings, hoses, and fittings for any indication of gaps or looseness. If your car’s AC leak is due to loose or damaged connections, then the affected connection needs to be tightened carefully or replaced.
This may also involve car AC repair, replacing the O-rings, or sealing the connection. Moreover, taking care of these connections during routine maintenance can assist in catching any potential loose connection before it leads to AC system leaks.
If the AC system is not installed properly, it can lead to AC system leaks. This can happen if the connections between the components are not tightened properly or if the wrong type of refrigerant is used.
First, install the AC system property and ensure that the connections between the AC system’s components are tightened. Still, having the AC leak problem? Now, check whether you are using the correct type of refrigerant or not.
Failed Schrader Valves
Schrader valves are responsible for controlling the flow of refrigerant in and out of the AC system. If these valves become faulty or fail, they can cause leaks. The reasons behind the failed Schrader valves can be prolonged usage or wear and tear.
Replace the failed Schrader valves to address AC system leaks. You can do it yourself if you have specialized tools and related expertise; otherwise, a certified technician is recommended to remove the faulty Schrader valves and install a new one that is compatible with your car’s AC system.
They also ensure the tightness and proper sealing of the new valves to prevent future leaks. To avoid potential leaks, you must keep an eye on these valves during regular maintenance.
Clogs in the AC System
Clogs in the AC system can cause pressure buildup, which can lead to leaks. Clogs can occur due to the accumulation of debris and dirt in the system.
To fix a clogged AC drain line, a technician will need to locate the drain line and remove any debris or buildup that may be obstructing it. They may also use a specialized tool to flush the line with compressed air or water.
Faulty Compressor Seals
The compressor in the AC system is responsible for compressing and circulating the refrigerant. If the compressor seals become faulty, they can cause refrigerant leaks. Note that the compressor seals can be degraded due to exposure to heat, wear or tear, or inadequate lubrication.
If the AC system seals are leaking, they will need to be replaced. This may involve replacing the compressor shaft seal or other seals in the system. This procedure includes disassembling the compressor and replacing the old seals with new ones.
However, using a high-quality replacement seal and following manufacturer guidelines is crucial to prevent future leaks. Therefore, engaging a professional is advised.
Normal Wear and Tear
Over time, the AC system components can wear out due to constant use, stress of circulating refrigerant, and exposure to environmental factors, which leads to AC system leaks.
This gradual wear compromises the integrity of the hoses and seals, leading to fissures or microcracks that ultimately result in refrigerant leaks.
Regular maintenance and timely replacement of the AC system can help prevent leaks caused by normal wear and tear.
Overcharged or Undercharged AC System
Check if your car’s AC system is overcharged or undercharged.
For this reason, it will need to be properly charged with refrigerant to the manufacturer’s specifications. This involves using specialized equipment to add or remove refrigerant from the system.
Cracked or Damaged Hoses:
The hoses in the AC system carry refrigerant from one component to another. If these hoses become cracked or damaged, they can cause leaks. Hoses can become damaged due to wear and tear or exposure to heat and other environmental factors.
The cracked or damaged hoses can be addressed via thorough periodic inspection and timely replacement. However, you must be aware of the hoses’ condition, signs of wear, physical damage, or cracks to escape the things that cause hose problems.
Still having any issues then you should engage a car repair specialist. How to find a car repair specialist and Why? Because it comes with several benefits including quality repairs, safety, warranty preservation, correct diagnosis, and time and convenience. Don’t hesitate to contact us; we are here for your help.
Take a moment to check out our latest article on how often you should service your car for valuable information.