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Your Vehicles Heating and Cooling System

When you get into your vehicle, you simply expect the air conditioner or the heater to work when you need them. When something goes wrong with these systems, it can make driving unbearable in some climates. Consider the following things that you need to know about your heating and cooling system so you can try to keep it in good working order.

 

What Causes the Heater or AC to Stop Working?

 

Many different things can cause the air conditioning and the heater in your vehicle to stop working. There could be an issue with the blower, there could be a leak in the cooling system, or a bad thermostat, for example. There could also be a problem with the heater core.

 

Are Issues With Heating and AC Common?

 

When it comes to newer vehicles, there is rarely a problem with the heater or the AC unless it is a manufacturing defect. Most vehicles that are new will not have any issues with these systems until they’ve gone 60,000 miles or more. With older vehicles, it is more common to have issues with the systems.

 

Know Your Vehicle’s System

car-and-truck-ac-air-conditioning-and-heating-car-repair-in-alvin-texas

 

Understand how your car or truck’s heating system works, and what is “normal” for the vehicle, so it will be easier to determine when there is an issue that needs attention. Read the vehicle’s manual to ensure you understand the proper use of the system and how all of the controls work. Some vehicles may have more advanced heating and cooling options that are different from previous vehicles you’ve owned. A qualified mechanic can professionally diagnose any problems with your air conditioning and heating units and inform you of any necessary repairs.

 

What Could Prevent Issues With the Heating and the AC?

 

The best way to make sure that your vehicle’s heating and air conditioning systems continue to work properly is by ensuring proper maintenance. Knowing a qualified mechanic that has expertise in and understands the heating and cooling system in your vehicle is essential.

You want to be as comfortable as possible when you are driving, and a huge part of that is having air conditioning and heating. It is important to take good care of the vehicle and to keep up with scheduled maintenance tasks so the heating and cooling system lasts for many years to come.

 

Heating AC Inspection Service

 

We rarely give any thought to the heating and air conditioning systems in our cars until they stop working. These systems help keep the cabin of the vehicle warm in winter and cool in summer. Maintaining the heating and air conditioning system is key to a comfortable ride, regardless of the season.

 

While the major function of these systems is for the comfort of the passengers, they are also integral to the defroster system, which keeps the windshield clear and ensures good visibility on a cold or snowy day. Driving with reduced visibility can greatly increase the odds of an accident.

 

How this system works:

 

Heating System

 

The heating system in a car consists of a number of components. The heater core, heater hoses, heater control valve, blower fan/motor, and the control panel in the cabin are the key parts of the system. The heater core is a like a small radiator mounted under the dash. It has an inlet and outlet to allow the flow of coolant through the core, the heater control valve regulates the amount of hot engine coolant that goes through the heater core. Finally, the heat generated by the heater core is blown into the cabin by the blower motor, which is controlled by the control panel in the cabin.

 

Air Conditioning ac-for-car-in-alvin-texas

 

The air conditioning system uses a compressor, condenser, evaporator and an expansion valve. Refrigerant (R-134a or HFC-134a), is compressed in the compressor system which transforms it into a hot gas. The hot gas is then cooled to a liquid state in the condenser and sent to the expansion valve. When the gas is forced through the expansion valve, it returns to a gas state, which is rapidly cooled in the evaporator. The blower fan blows over the evaporator and sends the cold air into the cabin via the vents. This system is controlled by the control panel in the cabin.

 

Common reasons for this to happen:

 

For your Heating and Air Conditioning needs in Brazoria county visit The Shop in Alvin

Section view diagram of a generic car’s heating and cooling system created by Kevin C. Hulsey (Kevin Hulsey Illustration, Inc.)

 

Heating

 

  • Low Coolant Levels: The hot air that comes into the vehicle is a byproduct of the heat of the coolant in the engine. If the coolant levels are low or the fluid is contaminated, it can lead to a poorly functioning heating system. In most cases a leak is to blame.
  • Blown Fuse: While a blown fuse can be a quick fix when it comes to the heating system, in most cases it is just a symptom of a larger problem. If the same fuse continues to blow on regular basis the vehicles heating system should be inspected for a bigger issue.
  • Bad Heater Core: The heater core is basically a mini radiator located behind the dashboard. There are a number of things that can cause a heating core to malfunction, it may be clogged due to contaminants in the anti-freeze. Hoses can crack, leak or become loose. The control valve can also get stuck. A bad heater core will result in zero heat.
  • Air Pockets in the Heater Core or Hoses: If there is air in the cooling system in most cases there will also be a leak. Air in the system can create air pockets that will interrupt the flow of coolant through the heater core. The air can be bled from the system to resolve this issue.
  • Malfunctioning Thermostat: The thermostat functions as a shut-off valve between the radiator and the engine. The thermostat is closed as the car warms up. When the engine is warm, the thermostat opens to circulate the anti-freeze. A malfunctioning thermostat will often stick open, resulting in an engine that doesn’t warm up so the heating system doesn’t have enough hot air to warm the cabin.
  • Bad Blower: The electric blower motor pushes the hot air out into the cabin and if it is malfunctioning the heat will not make it into the vehicle cabin. A bad blower can be caused by a blown fuse, a blower speed controller that is not working properly or the motor itself may be shot.

 

Air Conditioning

 

  • Loss of Refrigerant: If the air is no longer coming out cold, this could indicate that the refrigerant needs to be recharged or there is a leak in the system. Refrigerant problems are one of the most common reasons an air conditioning system isn’t working properly. The system will need to be recharged from time to time with new refrigerant, as it loses roughly 15 percent every year. A leak can also cause this problem as the system loses refrigerant at the leak site.
  • Bad Compressor: The compressor works very hard and they run hot due to the internal pressure they must produce. All of this hard work means that a failing compressor is a very common problem with a vehicles air conditioning system. A loud knocking or squealing noise will often point to compressor problems, as will a lack of cold air or the air conditioning just not working at all. This should be repaired immediately as it can affect other parts and run up the cost of the repair.
  • Leaking Hoses: The air conditioning system relies on a variety of hoses and if they are loose or leaking you could experience a loss of cooling due to leaking refrigerant. Leaking hoses should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Failing Condenser: If the air conditioning system is not cooling or just stops working, it could be a condenser problem. In most cases there are two common causes of condenser failure. One is a leak, a condenser has a number of tubes and seals, which can leak, due to normal wear and tear. Unfortunately, these cannot be replaced or repaired so the condenser will have to be replaced. A blockage is the second most common cause of condenser failure. Metallic debris, often from a failing compressor is usually the cause. If this is the case, both the condenser and compressor will have to be replaced.
  • Failing Condenser Fan: The condenser fan removes the heat generated by the condenser and if it is failing the air conditioning system will not be able to cool. A lack of cooling or a completely non-functioning air conditioning system are common symptoms of this problem. In most cases the fan will have to be replaced.
  • Faulty Low Pressure Cutout Switch: The low pressure cutout switch prevents the compressor clutch from engaging if the pressure in the system is low, this prevents the compressor from being damaged due to a lack of lubrication. If this is the problem, the air conditioning system will not work at all.
  • Faulty Blower Motor or Resistor: The blower motor circulates the cold air into the cabin of the car. If the air conditioning system makes noise when you turn it on but no air comes through the vents or if the blower is only operating at full speed the blower motor or resistor could be defective. It is also possible that the fuses that service it are blown.
  • Faulty Switches: If the air conditioning only works intermittently or you have to jiggle the switches to get it to function there could be a problem with the control panel.
  • Damaged Receiver/Dryer: If the air conditioner is not blowing out cold air and moisture is accumulating on the windows, there is a good chance the receiver needs to be replaced. This issue should be fixed quickly as the excess moisture could easily damage other air conditioning parts.
  • Blown Fuse: In some cases, the simplest explanation is the correct one. There are a number of fuses connected to the air conditioning system and if one of them is blown it can shut down the entire system.

 

While driving around without a proper functioning heating and air conditioning system will certainly be uncomfortable, it is usually not a life or death situation. However, if the defroster is no longer working, this can result in reduced visibility, which can lead to dangerous driving conditions. In most cases, a malfunctioning heating and air conditioning system should be repaired as soon as possible.

Brakes – Things You Need to Know

Disc Drum Brake Service and Repair by The Shop on HWY 35 S. Alvin Texas

Why is it important to get my brakes inspected at the first sign of a symptom?

 

Worn brake rotor, pad, and caliper with wheel and tire removed

 

When your car starts creating abnormal sounds, feelings or smells, start investigating the issue sooner rather than letting the condition worsen. Waiting will only lead to more expensive parts wearing out and requiring replacement. For example, rotors start to warp and become damaged when completely worn brake pads and shoes exceed their lifespan, shortening the life of healthy parts due to the metal on metal grinding that occurs.

 

What sounds, noises and sensations indicate I need brake repairs?

 

Pay attention. Sounds, smells and sensations signal brake problems:

 

  • Screeching, grinding, squealing, rubbing and other eardrum piercing noises are common indicators that your brake pads & shoes require inspection. This should be addressed before worn pads cause damage to other parts, which could result in more expensive repairs.
  • Vibration and pulsation in the pedal or your steering wheel. If this is a familiar feeling, your brake system is telling you something. Wait any longer, and your rotors might get warped from the metal on metal rubbing, potentially costing you a lot more in repair. Stop in as soon as possible if you are experiencing this unpleasant problem.
  • Pressing down farther to complete braking functions. This symptom is not as prevalent as it used to be, but if you’re pressing down farther than usual on your brake pedal to stop your car, requiring more pressure and time to perform the same stopping function, you have entered the first stage and sign of brake pad wear. Don’t play around with your brake pedal, you can only press so far before you’re in a frightening, “I have no brakes” predicament.
  • That pungent burning smell near your tires is screaming “help!” If you’re detecting noxious odors emitting from your tires, stop what you’re doing and please call or visit your local Firestone Complete Auto Care. Unfamiliar and pungent smells, such as what you’re experiencing, are not normal and could have dangerous consequences if you continue to drive under these unsafe conditions. Your best solution is our brake inspection to see what part of your braking system has been compromised while driving with this smelly symptom.
  • Brake warning light. If your brake warning light comes on visit us as soon as possible and ask us to perform a free brake inspection.

 

Disc and Drum and Brake Service and Repair by The Shop on HWY 35 S. Alvin Texas

 

What other warning signs can I look for if I think my brakes are wearing out?

There are many nuances to every car’s braking system, so we’d rather not overload you with worst case scenarios and model specific warning signs. We wouldn’t want you to go through the trouble — or worry — of diagnosing a symptom that is rare and hard to detect on your own.

 

If you have questions about your braking system that weren’t described in the previous questions, please call us 281-756-9500 or Contact Us

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