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How To Tell If Your Car’s AC Is Leaking

Driving in the summertime with music and the AC on is relaxing, and finding a puddle under your car afterward is normal due to the AC system draining moisture from the air. But how do you detect if you have a leak in your car's air conditioner?
How To Tell If Your Car’s AC Is Leaking
How To Tell If Your Car’s AC Is Leaking

Driving during summertime is an incredible way to unwind. With the music and the AC cranked up, the long way home from work seems like the best route. That is until you step out of your car and see a puddle starting to appear under your vehicle. However, seeing a few drips of water appear after a car ride is normal, especially in warm weather. An integral part of the AC is pulling moisture out of the air and draining it out.

How Does The AC System Work?

The process of cooling air starts in the compressor. This component compresses the refrigerant, raising the gas’s pressure and temperature. Then, it travels through a hose to the condenser, losing a lot of heat and condensing it. Once cooled, it travels through the receiver and dryer, where any excess moisture or contaminants are removed.

The refrigerant then travels through the expansion valve, where it is chilled as it enters the evaporator, which acts as the radiator. As air passes through the chilled evaporator, it removes moisture and cools as it blows into your cab.

When a hose leaks or one of the system’s components begins malfunctioning, the system will lose refrigerant quickly. If you allow your system to begin filling with moist air from the outside, the expensive components will start corroding. Catching these leaks early could save you from a massive AC replacement project.

Detecting AC Leaks Before Disaster

Seeing small amounts of liquid under your car isn’t an issue. However, if you notice a large pool of liquid forming under your car, you likely have a leak in your vehicle’s AC system. The first thing you should do on the liquid is a dip test: dip a rag so that you can tell the liquid’s color and scent. If you see some kind of colored liquid, then the refrigerant may be leaking onto the evaporator and dripping down with the water.

Finding the leak itself is a much bigger project. The AC system is incredibly complex, requiring in-depth diagnostics to tell which part is on the fritz. This is partially because the entire car AC system must be sealed at all times so that the refrigerant doesn’t leak. The best thing to do once you notice a leak is to take it into the mechanics to get a professional’s eyes on it.

Expert Mechanics For Diagnosis And Repair

If you have an AC leak, you need to take it to a mechanic as soon as possible. There’s only so much refrigerant in your engine, so once the seal is broken, it’s just a matter of time until your car blows nothing but hot air out of the vents. Mission Auto Repair in Winchester, VA can help you diagnose and replace the affected parts of your AC system! Our expert team of mechanics has the tools and experience to find the issue and get it fixed. Call today to make your appointment!