Whether you want to simply performance check your A/C system, test an inoperative air conditioning system or perform a tri-annual evacuate and recharge maintenance, Jim Dickinson Auto Tech is the place to take your vehicle.
Jim has over 39 years experience in the trade and has specialized in Air Conditioning for the last 26 years. Todays climate controlled systems are often computer controlled and the manufacturers design important safeguards to protect your system. Having a complete understanding of these systems is paramount in arriving at an accurate diagnosis in todays high tech vehicles.
An annual system check involves testing the duct output temperature, cleaning salt and debris from condensor fins and AC lines, verifying condensor fan(s) operate at both speeds, checking belt tension and condition of hoses and observing AC compressor operation. If there are any doubts about the system’s operation attaching a guage set and observing operating pressures.
Testing an inoperative system is often a 2 1/2 hour procedure beginning with identifying current gases and the percentage of air in the system. We then charge the system with nitrogen and check for leaks. If there are any large leaks we test-run the compressor momentarily checking for any abnormal noises. If there are no large leaks we place the system in a deep vacuum and check for vacuum decay on a micron gauge. If vacuum decay is within specified limits the system is fully charged and performance tested to ensure the system is operating properly. All components operating parameters are noted on our diagnostic worksheet. Air Conditioning duct temperature is verified and operating pressures are monitored for 15-30 minutes ensuring the system functions properly. Finally, a leak test is done with an electronic leak detector followed by testing for any dye present with a black light. At the end of this procedure, we can tell you where all your leaks are and whether the system will actually cool your car after the leaks are repaired. Skipping any of these steps will result in an inaccurate diagnosis and often discovering after the leaks are repaired that the system doesn’t operate as intended.
A tri-annual evacuation and recharge of your Air Conditioning system will ensure your AC compressor runs for the entire life of the vehicle and the system components do not corrode through due to internal corrosion. If the system is operated in a low state of charge (typical customer complaint that the air isn’t cold enough) the compressor is eventually damaged due to lack of lubrication. When the system is put into deep vacuum moisture is boiled out of the system preventing acids from forming internally that corrode and eventually perforate the components.