Then you should urgently disinfect the air conditioning system and have the car serviced by an air conditioning service company. We explain to you how unpleasant odors occur and why it is so important to have the air conditioning system checked regularly.
To ensure that your air conditioning system performs to its full potential and does not pose a health risk, you should have it serviced and cleaned regularly. We explain to you exactly what you have to pay attention to and how you can also carry out the cleaning yourself.
- Disinfecting the air conditioner& service: why?
- What does air conditioning maintenance cost??
- What should be serviced during air conditioning service?
- How often should the air conditioning system be serviced and disinfected??
- How to disinfect the air conditioner yourself?
- How to take care of your air conditioner
Disinfect the air conditioner& maintenance: why?
It is important to disinfect and maintain the air conditioning system regularly. © gettyimages/humonia
Your air conditioner smells unpleasant? This is mostly due to fungi and bacteria that get stuck between the evaporator and the fan. They are not only harmful to the air conditioner, but also to your health. That’s why it’s important to disinfect the air conditioning system.
In addition, you need to have the air conditioner serviced regularly to detect any leaks. Otherwise the harmful refrigerant can get into the environment and cause it damage.
For this, not only hoses are tested for leakage, but also the closures of the cooling system. Due to the high pressure, a small amount of refrigerant (approximately 8 to 15 percent) escapes each year. If it is too much, the cap must be replaced and new coolant refilled. Please note that by law, new refrigerant can only be added after the leaks have been repaired.
Regular maintenance of the air conditioning system is also worthwhile in order to repair damage directly. Delaying this can cause even more damage, resulting in high repair costs.
What does air conditioning maintenance cost??
The cost of maintenance and spare parts can vary depending on the vehicle and the repair shop. © gettyimages/vesnaandjic
Air conditioning service costs an average of 20 to 50 euros, excluding repair and material costs. Possible damage is detected and refrigerant is topped up if necessary. Possible repairs, material costs and the cost of the refrigerant are added to the 20 to 50 euros.
If the refrigerant needs to be refilled, it can be expensive. Because the conventional refrigerant (r134a), with a global warming potential (GWP) value higher than the permitted limit of 150, increases the greenhouse effect. That is why it was banned for new cars, but may still be used for old vehicles. However, because the conventional refrigerant is to be reduced by 79 percent by 2030, the price per kilogram has been increased from eight to ten euros to over 40 to 50 euros.
The new refrigerant (r1234yf), which has been standard for new cars since 2017, costs on average between 160 and 250 euros per liter. Air conditioners that are designed for the new refrigerant can only be refilled with it during maintenance. So you can’t just switch to the cheaper refrigerant.
Filling the air conditioner with a new refrigerant takes about 30 to 45 minutes and can cost between 60 and 100 euros. However, the price can vary greatly depending on the hourly rate of the workshop.
If you need spare parts for the air conditioning system, the costs vary greatly depending on the vehicle model and the hourly rate of the workshop.
What should be serviced during air conditioning service?
The leak test is an important part of the air conditioning service. © gettyimages/x-reflexnaja
The air-conditioning service may only be carried out by a workshop that has trained specialist personnel and an air-conditioning service unit. This is the only way to ensure that your air conditioner is properly serviced. Incorrect maintenance can cause serious damage. This is another reason why you should never carry out the maintenance yourself.
- Coolant compressor (also called compressor and compressor)
- Expansion valve
- Hoses and seals (can leak due to drying out and age)
- Leak test of the air conditioning system according to legal requirements
- The refrigerant is replaced or refilled.
- The compressor is supplied with new oil.
- The air conditioner is disinfected.
- If necessary, repairs are made or parts are replaced.
How often should the air conditioner be serviced and disinfected??
The air conditioner should be serviced regularly to avoid major damage. © gettyimages/m_a_y_a
You should have your air conditioner serviced every two years or as soon as the cooling capacity decreases. This may mean that the air conditioner is losing coolant. Disinfection of the air conditioning system should be done every year. If it starts to smell unpleasant earlier, you should disinfect it directly. You can either have the disinfection done in your workshop or do it yourself.
Note that the air conditioning service is not always included in the normal inspection of your car. Therefore, find out beforehand and book it if necessary.
How to disinfect the air conditioner myself?
You can usually disinfect the air conditioner yourself. This is not a substitute for regular air conditioning service, which you should not do without.
- Turn the heater to the highest temperature.
- Set the blower to circulating air and the highest setting.
- After about five minutes, you should point the blower at your feet.
- In total, you should leave the heating and the engine running for ten minutes.
Disinfection with cleaning foam
Before using the cleaning foam, you should remove the pollen filter and, if necessary, replace or clean it. To find out exactly where the pollen filter is located in your car, please refer to the owner’s manual of your vehicle.
Depending on the pollution, the pollen filter should be changed. © gettyimages/norasit kaewsai
- Spray all the cleaning foam directly on the evaporator. For this purpose, a long hose should be included with the cleaning foam can.
By the way: the evaporator is usually located in the engine compartment, but can also be accessed via the footwell of the passenger seat. You can find out exactly where it is located in the owner’s manual of your vehicle.
- Leave the cleaning foam to work for 30 minutes.
- Then start the engine, open the air vents and set the air conditioner to full power (the coolest temperature). Let the engine and the air conditioner run for a while so that the active ingredient can distribute itself well.
Disinfection with cleaning spray
if you decide to use a cleaning spray, be sure to find out whether the interior material of your car will tolerate the spray. Especially materials like leather can react sensitively or become discolored.
Cautionasthmatics or allergic persons should check if they can tolerate the cleaning spray. Read the ingredients carefully and ask your doctor if you are unsure.
- Place the can next to the intake area of the air conditioner. You can find out exactly where it is located in the vehicle’s operating instructions. Mostly it is in the footwell behind the passenger seat.
- To protect the interior material, you can place a towel or cardboard box under the can and tilt the passenger seat forward.
- Then start the engine and close all windows.
Remember to set the air blower to the highest setting. © gettyimages/efenzi
4. Set the air blower to the highest setting.
5. Turn the temperature of the air conditioner to the coldest setting.
6. Now you can activate the can at the push of a button. Be sure to leave the car and close all doors from the outside.
7. After 15 minutes, the spray mist has completely escaped from the can.
8. Afterwards, you should let the car air out well with the doors open.
In addition to disinfection, you should regularly change the cabin air filter. Because replacement is more complicated and time-consuming, you can visit a workshop to do this. It is recommended that the cabin air filter be replaced every two years or after 30.000 kilometers to change. An activated carbon cabin filter costs around ten to 30 euros.
What is better?
You’re now wondering which method is better? It is generally understood that the cleaning foam is more thorough because it is applied directly to the evaporator, where fungi and bacteria accumulate. Disinfection with the cleaning foam is more time-consuming and requires that you know where the evaporator is located in your car and that you can reach it at all.
The cleaning spray is less costly and also disinfects the interior of your vehicle. Allergy and asthma sufferers may not tolerate the spray.
How to take care of your air conditioning system
Clean dust and dirt from the air vents regularly. © gettyimages/humonia
To keep your air conditioning system free of bacteria between maintenance and disinfection, you can observe the following:
Keep evaporator dry
While you are running your air conditioner, a film forms on the evaporator, in which bacteria can colonize. To allow the deposits to dry due to the heat of the engine, you should switch off the air conditioning a few minutes before the end of the journey.
Turn on the air conditioner regularly
The deposit on the evaporator cannot be completely avoided. Therefore, it is important to run the air conditioner regularly (at least once a month). The condensation that forms in the process partially rinses off the coating on the evaporator.
Clean the ventilation system
To prevent dust and dirt from being blown through the car, you can regularly clean the air vents with a damp cloth.
Defective air conditioning after an accident?
Damage to the air conditioning system can be caused not only by defective components or incorrect maintenance. Because the air-conditioning condenser is usually located very far forward in vehicles, it is damaged more quickly in the event of an accident. Repairing the air conditioning system and other damage caused by the accident can quickly cost a lot of money.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re well covered by car insurance. If you caused the accident yourself due to negligence and damaged the air conditioning system on your own car, you can file a claim with a fully comprehensive insurance policy.
We wish you a safe journey! Your allianz direct
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