Exploring the Consequences of Poor HVAC Maintenance in Vehicles

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Whether you’re dealing with a compact hatchback, a luxury sedan, or a full-size twelve wheeler truck, an air conditioning system is a staple across all categories of vehicles. Drivers want efficient and reliable AC for cooling and heating but unfortunately, many of them often use it inadequately, causing dysfunctions and sometimes serious damage which can jeopardize onboard safety and induce hefty repair costs. In this dedicated guide, we’ll delve into the consequences of poor vehicle HVAC maintenance and provide useful troubleshooting tips.

Improper Cooling

One of the most common effects of inadequate AC maintenance is improper cooling. An onboard air conditioning system that isn’t blowing air as cold as it used to is generally a sign of a malfunctioning or damaged compressor. Whether it’s due to overuse, lack of care, or a simple clog, this vital component is no longer able to regulate the flow of refrigerant in the AC system. This results in the air flowing being warmer but it doesn’t necessarily affect ventilation.

Overheating Engine

Like most elements found inside a vehicle, an HVAC system uses power from the engine. With wear and tear, the compressor’s clutch can start to give out; it can either seize or break, both of which are very problematic. An unmoving clutch will cause unnecessary pressure on the engine, overheating, and early fuel exhaustion. A broken clutch usually requires the entire compressor to be replaced altogether.

Loud Noises

Odd noises from an operating AC unit are a typical sign of poor maintenance. A worn compressor bearing can cause a loud grinding sound to emanate directly from the engine, while other noises from inside the cabin call for a blower fan clean or replacement. This can be particularly bothersome for drivers who spend countless hours on the road. In addition, you’ll want to ensure meticulous and periodic checks are done to increase the longevity of your vehicles. 

Foul Odors

Foul odors are another commonly reported onboard HVAC problem. Mold or mildew smells generally indicate a moisture build-up in the air conditioning filters, which can be taken care of with regular disassembly and cleaning. Now, if a pungent smell emanates from the vents, it might be that you’re dealing with a pest infestation or a dead rodent lodged somewhere in the vehicle. In such cases, an air freshener just won’t cut it!

Water Leakage Inside the Cabin

Lastly, because of inadequate maintenance, drivers can come to notice water inside their vehicle cabin. There may be refrigerant flowing through the evaporator, which gets condensed and forms water. When the draining tube that redirects the liquid outside is clogged, this residual water will seep directly into the cabin, causing all sorts of damages to carpets and possibly onboard navigation.

Ultimately, HVAC systems can be just as problematic inside homes as they are in cars or trucks. Because its components are not immediately visible, except for the vents, many drivers will often fail to take care of their onboard AC system properly, resulting in all kinds of setbacks that can hinder comfort and jeopardize the occupants’ safety.

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