What You Need To Know About Automotive HVAC Maintenance
This time of year, our vehicle HVAC systems are one of the small luxuries in life that we don't take for granted. A comfortable commute can change your whole day. Are you giving your car’s heating system the TLC it needs to work at maximum efficiency? Read on for a few tips on how to keep your vehicle’s heating system in tip-top shape this winter.
Why Your Cooling System Matters
The cooling system is a key element to the many functions your heater offers and vice-versa. For example:
- Your defroster uses the coils in your cooling system to dehumidify the air that is blowing out the vents at your windows. This process helps to defrost your windows faster because the fog blocking your vision is condensation.
- Similarly, your heater actually keeps your engine cool! Most of the heat produced by your engine is expelled through the exhaust. The remaining heat, however, needs to go somewhere. A mixture of water and antifreeze circulates through the engine block and radiator, this process releases the excess heat into the atmosphere. That heat that your engine needs to get rid of can then be directed into the car to warm the interior of your vehicle.
How To Check The Heating And Cooling System
- Checking your antifreeze. Open the cap on your coolant reservoir and check to make sure the liquid reaches the full line. If it does not, then add a 50/50 mix of water and coolant until it does.
- Checking the thermostat. The thermostat opens and closes depending on the needs of your engine. It can get stuck open or stuck closed, which causes overheating or overcooling. Testing this system is a little complicated and should be done by a professional.
- Checking the radiator. Check the front and back of the radiator. Things like bugs, dirt, road salt, and other debris can decrease proper airflow. Wet, white, or green spots could indicate coolant leaks. Check the radiator cap for damage or leaks as well as the coolant return hose for any restrictions.
- Checking the hoses. Cooling system hoses wear out and deteriorate over time. A quick look can save you a lot of trouble. Check the hoses for signs of wear like cracks, hard spots, soft spots, and wet spots. Inspect the clamps around the hoses for rust.
- Checking the blower fan. You can check the blower fan fairly simply by testing the speeds, from low to high, while you drive. Listen closely for any unusual noises like screeching or clunking - these noises could be a sign of a more significant problem.
Why Get Professional Maintenance?
Your heating and cooling systems are very complicated and involve a large number of components. When these systems aren’t functioning properly they can cause you some discomfort during your daily commute, but they can also cause serious problems for your engine. Any type of mechanical or engine failure creates unsafe situations on the road. It is best to let a professional service you in maintaining these systems.
Just like you would invest in annual HVAC inspections for your home, you want to invest in annual care for your vehicle's HVAC system. All these systems and more are checked in our Auto Inspection Super Offer.