Mechanically Speaking

Mechanically Speaking

Mechanically Speaking : A little maintenance can go along way to ensuring a cool summer

"Once you have had air conditioning it is hard to give it up."

It is pretty hard to buy a vehicle without air conditioning these days. Once you have had air conditioning it is hard to give it up. When your air conditioning first breaks down you will consider living without it. Not …. when it has been a summer like this one though.

Like many systems of the automobile air conditioning systems have been invaded with electronics but basically the function and various components are the same as the original.

A compressor, evaporator, condenser, refrigerant metering device and the various connecting hoses and pipes are common to every system. The most frequent failure has always been the same. The refrigerant finds a way to leak out. Once the refrigerant level gets too low the passengers and driver get hot and bothered.

Low refrigerant is not the only failure though. There are many possibilities. Electronics and electricity are involved. The systems are a lot less primitive than the originals. As with most systems several computers will have some say in how and when the air conditioning operates.

Therefore when you phone your mechanic in a hot and bothered state to ask, “how much” the answer will be “it depends.”

A broken wire can take down an air conditioning system as well as a corroded evaporator. The broken wire may be quickly fixed and you will be on your cool way.

A corroded evaporator that was one of the first parts installed in your vehicle when it was put together on the assembly line may present another scenario all together.

Evaporator removal and replacement on some vehicles can be a 10-hour job. Complete disassembly and removal of the seats, centre console, and dashboard requires a patient, careful, methodical technician. Then the intricacies of the air distribution system must be disassembled to get at that elusive part.

As with all systems automotive care and maintenance can reduce the incidence of  air conditioning system failure. The condenser is located in front of the radiator. It is a bug collector.

Cleaning off those bugs not only helps to cool your engine it also makes life easier for your air conditioning system.

Another oft-neglected maintenance practice is cleaning the air intake at the base of your vehicle’s windshield. Those leaves, buds, seeds, needles that accumulate at the base of your windshield can sneak their way down into the air intake passage to the blower fan and then air conditioning evaporator. While functioning the evaporator becomes wet with condensation. The leaves and needles mix with the condensate forming a somewhat acidic mash. This stuff can be corrosive to the evaporator (it is made of aluminum) along with blocking it up. This reduces the cooling performance and eventually leads to failure as the evaporator corrodes through and lets the refrigerant out.

By design with time the refrigerant becomes low in all air conditioning systems. Compressor seals, rubber hoses, “O” rings and gaskets are not perfect barriers to the refrigerant.

If you are cognizant of somewhat reduced cooling from your AC system it is a good idea to have it serviced before it does not work at all. An evacuation of remaining refrigerant followed by a deep vacuum and complete refrigerant recharge will help to increase the service life of the system.

The proper amount of refrigerant helps to better circulate the oil to the compressor. The deep vacuum aids in removing internal moisture from the system that will prevent corrosion from the inside out.

A little maintenance can go along way to ensuring a cool summer.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:

Just Posted

Keith Smyth, Kootenay Savings director at-large joins children from the Kids’ Care Centre at St. Michael’s Catholic School. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay Savings continues credit union’s tradition of giving

Funding totalling $48,250, is going to a wide array of Kootenay initiatives

From left: Karl Luedtke (West Arm Outdoors Club), Dale Williams (BCWF), Molly Teather (FLNORD), Gord Grunerud (West Arm Outdoors Club), Eugene Volokhov (Grand Prize Winner), Casey McKinnon and Lex Jones (Jones Boys Boats). Photo: Tammy White, Whitelight Photography
Balfour man lands big prize from angler incentive program

Eugene Volokhov of Balfour is now the proud owner of a sleek 18-foot Kingfisher boat

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read