As summer slowly slides toward fall, you might think that the need for air conditioning would begin to drop off, especially as many areas of the United States have already passed their average hottest day of the year. But, of course, just because the peak of summer may have passed in your area doesn't mean it's no longer hot. You still need air conditioning in that metal-covered transportation, also known as your car. Here's what to look for to ensure that your air conditioning keeps working as long as you need it.
Leaks Where There Were No Leaks Before
This is a big giveaway; if your car develops a new leak, it's time to get it checked. In the air conditioner's case, it's normal to see some water leaking out after you've driven around with the AC on -- that's just condensation. But if you start seeing that leak when you haven't been using the AC or haven't even been driving, then you need to get the air conditioner checked immediately.
No Cold Air at the Vents
It's easy in a heat wave to think that your AC is failing when your car remains hot even after you turn the AC on. However, that heat is just the hot air that's already in the system being blown out as cool air starts moving through the vents. That can make it seem very hot in the car at first, even though the AC is working fine. What you have to do is put your hand up to the vents after the AC has been on for a few minutes. If you can feel cold air at the vents, the AC is fine, and it's just mixing with a lot of hot air already present. If you feel no cold air, though, then you need to get the AC checked.
New and Interesting Smells
If the AC seems to be working fine, but you are smelling unusual odors when the AC or fan-only settings are on, get the system checked. You could have mildew or even a small, dead animal in your engine, and the fan is blowing the odors around. Even though your AC system is a closed system, if there's a small crack or hole, a tiny mouse could crawl in and die in the vent system, too.
Fixing an air conditioner doesn't have to be a big deal -- many issues can be fixed relatively quickly. If you notice these or any other problems, contact an auto AC maintenance shop like Modern Auto Air for tips on what you can do to get your car cool again.