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Tip of the Month

Tips for your Car's Air Conditioning System and getting the Best Performance.

Need Air conditioning

Getting into that hot car.
When getting into your car when it has been sitting in the hot sun the air in the car is usually going to be hotter than the outside air, opening the windows as you drive off for a minute will help to get that hot air out of the car faster than your air conditioning can do on it's own.

It's also best to not use recirculate or "max air" for a few minutes until the inside of the car is a little cooler than the outside air.

After a few minutes switch to "recirculate" which draws the air you've already cooled and cools it further rather than pulling the hot outside air and trying to cool it. Not only does this make the air cooler but will safe on fuel as the system does not have to work as hard.

Temperature Adjustment
On hot days, setting the temperature to its lowest setting and adjusting the fan down as needed can also save fuel as the system doesn't have to reheat air it has already cooled.

Start/Stop
If you have one of the new cars that has the stop/start feature and you find your car getting too warm at stops consider turning it off. This feature does save gas but can cause the A/C to be off too often in stop and go traffic.

Keep a clean filter
Make sure the cabin filter is clean. Cabin filters are usually located in the glove compartment area and filter the air coming into the passenger compartment from outside dust, pollen, smoke and debris.
They should be replaced about once a year or every 12,000 - 20,000 miles. If they become plugged or restricted, poor heating or poor air conditioning performance may be experienced along with bad odors in the vehicle.

 

Maintenance:
How well your air conditioning works has a lot to do with the amount of refrigerant in the system. Too much or too little refrigerant is a major cause of poor A/C performance and compressor failure.

Today's air conditioning systems do not have a way to visually check the refrigerant level and the only accurate way to get the proper amount into the system is to recover the refrigerant, measure how much taken out and then put the proper amount back in.

Running the system low on refrigerant not only causes poor performance but also will eventually cause compressor failure as the system lubricant flows with the refrigerant. Low refrigerant flow means poor lubrication. If your A/C system works but just doesn't seem cold enough, it is a good idea to get it looked at sooner than later.

If the system is overfilled it will raise system pressures and temperature which will cause poor cooling performance and possible eventual failure of compressor or other components.

Charging:
The only accurate way to recharge a system is evacuating the system and charging the system into a vacuum with the proper amount.

Using a can usually ends in an undercharge of the system although we have seen overcharged systems also.  Either one will cause poor air condition performance and possible compressor failure.

 

Air Conditioning Compressor

 

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Visit Wayne's Garage for your car repair and service in the Eugene and Springfield area. We are an AAA Approved Automobile Repair Facility and have been awarded the Blue Seal of Excellence by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Warning Lights

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Automotive Recalls

We often hear about auto recalls when they become big news, but recalls happen quite often and are not always publicized. Many cars running around out on the road have recalls that have never been addressed.

For those who bought used vehicles or have moved since a vehicle purchase, they may not get a notice.

How do you find out if there is a recall on your car? Go to Carfax and enter your make and VIN#. If your car is not listed you can check with a dealer or go to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA.

Millions of drivers could be endangered by operating vehicles that have been recalled but have not been repaired, according to an investigation conducted by Edmunds. They found there were at least 2.7 million vehicles listed for sale last year that still were subject to unfulfilled recalls. There are no laws that require a car's owner to notify a potential buyer that the car being sold is the subject of a recall. More about recalls and 14 of the largest.

Ignoring that Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light When the first GM cars with onboard computers and diagnostic capabilities came out in the early 80's, they could recognize a limited amount of problems and could store less than 20 trouble codes. It's not unusual for an average car today to recognize and set 125 codes or more just for the engine and transmission.

Then there is Anti-lock Brakes, Traction Control, Air Bag, suspension and other systems that have their own codes.

Some of these engine and transmission codes are for problems that usually won't cause problems we notice while driving. We often hear, "that light has been on for years, I don't worry about it anymore" or "Since this is a minor problem, can I continue driving it and not fix it right now?"
Unfortunately you only have one check engine light. If you ignore the light because of a problem that doesn't seem to affect the way the car drives, something else might crop up that will cause big problems and you may not know until it's too late because the light is already on.

Some problems that the light can come on to warn you about can cause poor mileage or be a warning that you may be left by the side of the road soon. Other warnings can be about things that can cause catalytic converter, transmission or engine failure.

See more Automotive Service and Repair Tips at Wayne's Garage

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Many of today's cars have more than 100 million lines of software code running everything from navigation systems to braking systems.



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333 Q Street
Springfield, Oregon