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Car air conditioning service and ozone

17.04.2024

Car air conditioning service and ozone

Servicing of car air conditioning is recommended at least once a year to ensure its proper operation and long life. Maintaining the efficiency of the air conditioning system not only helps avoid costly repairs, but also improves driving safety and comfort.

The article will discuss basic and advanced maintenance activities, including the use of equipment such as ACT-2 for testing variable displacement compressors and the QST-5 for sensor testing. Checking the appropriate ozone level, indispensable for effective ozone treatment, is possible with the device OCT-3 PRO .

The importance of air conditioning servicing

Air conditioning in a car is responsible not only for thermal comfort in hot weather. It also helps dry the interior and prevent condensation, ensuring safe driving even outside the summer season. In vehicles with a continuously driven compressor, proper maintenance must be ensured throughout the year. The importance of regular auto air conditioning service is also underscored by the fact that maintaining its efficiency ensures healthier air inside the vehicle.

Basic maintenance

Basic automotive air conditioning maintenance includes a series of measures to keep it efficient and trouble-free. The following are the main steps carried out when visiting the site:

Checking and refilling the refrigerant.

Control and replenishment of the refrigerant is carried out by special devices operating on the basis of a closed circuit. What refrigerant is used in a given system has a significant impact on the cost of service. The most popular and widely used are:

  • R134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane). It is relatively safe for the environment because it does not contain chlorine, which has contributed to the destruction of the ozone layer. R134a is available and relatively inexpensive to purchase and service.
  • R1234yf (2,3,3,3-tetrafluorpropene). The new refrigerant was developed to be more environmentally friendly due to its lower potential global warming impact than R134a. However, R1234yf is more expensive to buy and service than R134a.
  • R744 (carbon dioxide), used in recent years by Mercedes. The use of CO2 as a refrigerant in cars is rare due to technical issues, including additional safety requirements (higher operating pressure). In terms of servicing costs, carbon dioxide can be more expensive than traditional refrigerants due to the need for specialized equipment, despite the low price of the refrigerant itself.

In the circuit along with the factor must circulate an adequate amount of oil to ensure lubrication of the compressor. The correct amount of oil must also be verified.

Air conditioning cleaning/dehumidification.

Car air conditioning, due to its operating conditions, especially the persistent humidity, is an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi. A/C de-fumigation and disinfection should be carried out regularly. For cleaning and de-fumigation of air conditioning use:

  • Spray foams to clean and disinfect the air conditioning system. They can even be applied by the car user himself, but their effectiveness is limited due to the difficulty of effective distribution.
  • Ultrasonic method. Ultrasound is used to create a mist of chemical agent, which in this form enters the system and performs air conditioning de-fumigation.
  • Ozone cleaning involves introducing ozone, which has disinfecting and oxidizing properties, into the vehicle’s air conditioning system.

Cabin filter replacement.

The cabin filter is responsible for the purity of the air that enters the car’s interior through the vents. With a high level of filtration, modern filters not only protect the interior from dirt, but also absorb some of the chemical pollutants.

For low to moderate annual mileage, it may be recommended that the filter be replaced at the same time as the air conditioning service. If there is a carbon filter then remember to put it on only after ozonation.

The importance of ozonation of the air conditioning system

Ozone is a three-atom variety of oxygen that has very strong oxidizing properties. Ozonation of air conditioning involves the introduction of ozone, produced by an ozone generator, into the system.

  • Odor Removal. Ozonation breaks down chemical contaminants that cause bad odors from the air supply. As a result of these reactions, they are broken down into more stable and less harmful compounds. The process copes with natural and artificial odors, such as tobacco smoke, animal, food or paint odors, ensuring a comfortable ride.
  • Elimination of microorganisms. O3 has strong disinfectant properties. Ozonation removes microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi from the air conditioning system, which allows you to take care not only of comfort but also the health of passengers.

Ozonation can be carried out using ozone generating equipment that emits ozone into the environment to be cleaned. It is important that this process is carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and safety standards, due to the toxicity of ozone. Ozone has a very characteristic odor, detectable even at very low concentrations. This causes the smell to be very strong even at the low output of the ozone device.

Ozonation is an effective method of de-fumigation of air conditioning. OCT-3 PRO will evaluate the effectiveness of ozonation.

In order for ozonation to be effective, it is important to remember to achieve the right concentration of this gas. The solution is to use the device OCT-3 PRO , which allows you to check the level achieved to document the successfully performed service (it is possible to generate a report from the Android application). Device OCT-3 PRO also has an integrated probe for high ozone concentrations, making it possible to compare the performance of ozonators. It is worth noting that many of the devices offered do not achieve the claimed performance. In addition, high temperature or humidity reduce the effectiveness of generation.

Remember that ozonation does not remove all contaminants, being one of the methods of de-fumigation and disinfection. If organic matter lingers in the system then before long the fungi will re-emerge, causing an unpleasant odor. Sometimes a more radical air conditioning cleaning may be necessary, involving disassembly and physical cleaning of components.

Advanced maintenance

A full air conditioning service may require additional work, especially if you find that some components are not functioning properly.

Replacing the dehumidifier filter

The dehumidifier filter in the automotive air conditioning system is an important component that is responsible for removing moisture from the refrigerant, preventing corrosion. The recommended replacement interval is 2-3 years or every 40,000-60,000 kilometers. It is also important to regularly check the condition of the dehumidifier filter during air conditioning inspections and replace it if you notice any signs of wear or damage.

Checking the compressor with ACT-2

In the past, the A/C compressor drive was often disconnected by a solenoid clutch. In such a situation, there is no problem in finding out whether the compressor is engaged or checking the clutch circuit.

In the new solutions, the drive of air conditioning compressors is realized without the use of a clutch and the compressor operates throughout the operation of the engine, and the regulation of operation is adjusted by a suitable valve. In such a situation, it becomes natural and safe to use a dedicated device for such purposes, such as the ACT-2.

The ACT-2 device will check the car's air conditioning by forcing it into service.
  • Tester ACT-2 can be used to check both the system with a control valve and the operation of the electromagnetic clutch in the system.
  • It is possible to control the valve smoothly by changing the fill factor.
  • The PWM signal measurement function allows you to inspect the frequency and filling of the signal generated by the controller. In this way we check both the operation of the controller itself, we also gain the ability to match the signal frequency to the actual one used in the car.

Check for leaks in the system.

If the system is found to be leaking, components such as the air conditioning condenser or evaporator may need to be replaced.

  • Pressure/vacuum method. This is one of the simpler methods of checking the air conditioning system for leaks, which will work for large leaks. It involves using a pressure gauge to measure the pressure or vacuum in the air conditioning system. After the system is scooped or a vacuum is created, the pressure should be kept constant for a certain amount of time. If the pressure changes, it means there is a leak in the system.
  • Test with foam: A foaming solution can be applied to joints and areas where leakage is suspected. Characteristic bubbles will form at the site of the leak.
  • Test using UV dye: Fluorescent dye is added to the air conditioning system, and then the system is filled with refrigerant. If you illuminate the site of the leak with a UV lamp, you will see glowing mostly bright yellow or green.
  • Test using a leak detector: Leaks in the air conditioning system can be detected with dedicated leak detectors that react to the presence of refrigerant in the air. Alternatively, you can fill the system with a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen and use a hydrogen detector. This is a very effective way, due to the ease of detecting hydrogen relative to the agents used in air conditioning.

Checking temperature or pressure sensors with QST-5

The proper operation of a car air conditioning system is responsible not only for the efficiency of the compressor and the tightness of the system, but also for the operation of the pressure and temperature sensors. Using the QST-5 tester, we can easily check the operation of pressure sensors, both those with voltage output, but also the popular sensors with PWM output often used in VW group vehicles.

The QST-5 will allow you to check the sensors that car air conditioning uses.

The undoubted advantage of the QST-5 is the ability to work independently with the sensor under test, so we are able to check the sensor both inside and outside the vehicle. For off-vehicle testing, we can use an ordinary compressor to obtain pressures in the range up to 10 bar, making it easy to test the sensor in this range.

Use of QST-5 is very simple even for people without much knowledge of car electronics . We can connect the sensor in any way we want, without knowing its leads. The tester will recognize and display the connection layout itself and then let you proceed to the test.

The QST-5 will also come in handy for temperature sensors – it will measure the resistance of the sensor, and when you select one of the available temperature scales, it will allow you to convert it to a value in degrees Celsius.

Summary

Professional service is not just the popular air conditioning refill, but the performance of a number of activities to ensure trouble-free operation of air conditioning. When choosing a service, do not be guided only by price, but bet on the quality of the service.

These measures not only ensure optimal thermal conditions and clean air in the vehicle, but also protect the health of passengers from harmful microorganisms and eliminate unpleasant odors, highlighting the importance of adequate ozone levels for proper ozone effect.

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