5 Signs Your Car’s Air Conditioning Needs Repair

On hot days, your car’s air conditioning system is one of the most important features of your vehicle. However, it’s also a system that is prone to the wear and tear that inevitably comes with frequent usage. If your car’s air con fails on a hot day, it can turn a comfortable drive into a sweaty nightmare.

To prevent untimely air con failures, it’s important to have your vehicle regularly checked, serviced, and repaired as necessary. Knowing when your vehicle is in need of a car air con service can be challenging, but there are ways to determine you’re due for an aircon regas. Here are four of the most common signs of a damaged air conditioning system that let you know you should book an appointment with a qualified mechanic.

Weak Airflow

One of the most obvious signs of an air conditioning system in need of a service is weak airflow from the cabin vents. This weak airflow may mean the air is having trouble reaching your air vents. This is often caused by a buildup of mould or mildew in the evaporator core, or a broken ventilation fan. However, it can also be caused by other issues such as an opened core case seal, house seal, or evaporator core case seal, as well as a loose blower house – all of which can make the car aircon blower weak.

There are several different issues that can impact the amount of air reaching the cabin of your car. If you regularly notice a weak airflow, it’s important to get your air conditioning checked by an expert who can properly diagnose and fix the problem before it becomes a larger issue.

Car Air Con Noise

If you’re constantly hearing a strange rattling noise when you turn your car’s air conditioning on, or if you hear the car aircon making hissing noise, it’s likely there is an issue with a component within the system. It’s impossible to know exactly what is causing the rattles in your air vents without getting the air conditioner serviced by a qualified mechanic. A rattling noise is often a sign of a broken fan belt or condenser. However, it could also be a result of debris or a crucial component has come loose. If you do hear an unusual noise, it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible as it can indicate a more serious issue.  

Bad Smell

If your air conditioning smells like sweaty clothes, this can be a sign that your cabin air filter is damaged. This filter should be regularly cleaned, or replaced as necessary, to prevent long-term damage to the air conditioning system. By properly maintaining the cabin air filter, you’ll not only keep the air inside your car clean and fresh, but you’ll also save money by reducing fuel consumption.

Another common cause of unpleasant odours is a mouldy evaporator case or air vent. This is particularly concerning, since some people are allergic to moulds. To prevent this problem, it’s important to regularly have your car’s evaporator case and air vent cleaned. You should pay attention to any strange odours in your car, since certain smells can indicate problems that require immediate attention in order to keep you safe on the roads.

Only Warm Air 

Sometimes when your air conditioning system isn’t functioning, the vents initially blow cold air that turns warm over time. This can be caused by a number of underlying issues, including a clogged expansion valve that restricts flow from the refrigerant into the evaporator. It can also indicate a damaged compressor, or a blown fuse – all of which are problems you should get checked right away. When your air con blows hot air, a straightforward repair by a mechanic can restore the system to its full efficiency. This means a more comfortable and safer driving experience for you and your passengers during those hot summer months.

Australia’s Auto Air Con Experts 

At Highfields Mechanical, our experienced team specialises in car air conditioning maintenance and repair. We are fully equipped with the latest temperature control tools and diagnostic equipment, and always ensure any repairs or servicing will comply with your vehicle manufacturer requirements. 

When you next need a car air con repair, Highfields Mechanical can get you back on the road with cool air to keep you comfortable. Give us a call today on (07) 4646 1780 or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch.

When should I get my brakes serviced?

The brakes on your car are arguably the most important safety feature, ensuring that you and your family have stopping control in an emergency situation. Common car brake issues can be dangerous for this reason, and it’s vital that you look after your brakes with regular servicing.

How to know you need a brake service

There are many signs you should be on the lookout for when driving your car that will let you know when it’s time to have your brakes examined. They include:

Dashboard warning lights

The clearest signal that you’re in need of a brake service will come from your car itself. A warning light will appear on your dashboard as soon as your car detects that there is an issue with the braking system. This will usually present in most models of car as a circle with a ‘!’ in the centre, and the word ‘BRAKE!’ written nearby (usually below or above). 

This can indicate a range of issues, from simply needing a mechanic to top up your brake fluid, or something more serious that needs fixing. Whatever the problem ends up being, it is considered unsafe to drive a car that is showing this brake warning, and it should be taken to a mechanic as quickly as possible.

Concerning noises while braking

By paying attention to the noises your car makes as you’re driving and braking, you may catch problems early. Listen carefully when you apply pressure to the brake pedal for anything out of the ordinary. This could be the common squeaky brakes that you may have experienced before, something more concerning like a squealing or screeching noise, or even a grinding, crunching sound coming from your brake disc.

As soon as you consistently hear something that’s out of the ordinary, get in touch with a mechanic so they can diagnose and fix the problem.

Brake response issues

Your brakes may also suffer when it comes to their actual performance. If you’ve noticed that your vehicle isn’t stopping as reliably as it used to, this can be a sign of a serious issue. A delay of less than a second in an emergency situation can be the difference between an accident and a near-miss. 

You might also experience a difference in how your brake pedal feels when applying pressure. If it is taking more pressure to push the pedal down, or it’s feeling more slack or ‘spongy’ under foot, then something is wrong and you’ll need to organise a brake check as soon as possible.

Shuddering when you brake

Similar to the pressure that you’ll feel from your brake pedal, it’s important to take note of any concerning shaking or vibrating coming from the pedal. This can often travel up the steering column and into the steering wheel, resulting in your wheel shaking while you brake. If you notice this, it’s vital that you seek a brake service immediately.

Burning smell

Another obvious sign to look out for is if you notice a sharp burning smell after you’ve applied your brakes or returned from a drive. Smells from your car are reasons for real concern, but can often be missed by drivers because they don’t make it into the cabin or can only be noticed once the car is parked. If you’ve noticed any other issues with the brake, make sure to assess whether there’s a concerning smell alongside it, and immediately ask a mechanic to take a look as well.

Even if you aren’t noticing any of these signs from your car, brake servicing is recommended every six months. This will ensure that your mechanic catches any potential problems early and may prevent a costly brake repair later on. 

Your local brake service experts

The team at Highfields Mechanical are experts at all things brake servicing, and will make sure that your car is safe for you and your family, and that your brakes will look after you when you need them most. To book in for a brake service, or any of our car services, get in touch on (07) 4646 1780, or fill out our online contact form.

Do electric cars need servicing?

Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming more common with each passing day, as internal combustion engines (ICE) become less standard and electric cars gradually become more popular. But for many people, how they actually work and how they need to be maintained is still a bit of a mystery.

The expert mechanics at Highfields Mechanical are here to help answer any questions you might have about electric vehicle servicing and what you need to know about maintaining an electric car.

What needs servicing in an electric car?

One question you might have is: do electric cars need mechanics at all? It can be easy to think your electric car would only need an auto electrician, but in reality, electric vehicles do need a professional mechanic, just like the car you grew up with. 

Your specially-trained electric vehicle mechanic will be able to perform all of the necessary checks and maintenance that your car needs to keep running smoothly. But what exactly makes an electric car service different from a standard service?

What’s different from a regular service?

The main and most obvious difference between maintenance on EV and ICE vehicles is that EVs don’t have an engine that needs to be serviced regularly. The electric motor itself is a fully enclosed unit that doesn’t require any internal maintenance like a traditional car might. In fact, most of these motors are expected to last between 15–20 years without needing to be replaced or even opened.

This means that there’s no need to swap out all of the small consumable parts that make up an internal combustion engine, such as the various belts, fans, spark plugs and filters that are part of a traditional mechanic’s checklist during a routine service. There are also no emissions-related systems like the muffler, exhaust pipes or catalytic converters – with an EV, they simply aren’t needed.

What’s the same as a regular service?

There are still quite a few components in an EV that would be familiar to a traditional mechanic and require the same or similar type of servicing. Most of these fall under the category of ‘auxiliary’ items that do something other than moving the car. They include:

  • Monitoring safety systems, such as the traction control and airbags
  • Checking the health of the 12V battery that runs the cars internal systems
  • Inspecting and replacing windshield wipers and fluid as required
  • Assessing the general condition and air pressure of the tyres

All of these are relatively standard operations that are no different in an EV but are still important to the safety and comfort of driving your car.

How to look after your electric car

As a driver, it’s also vital that you understand how best to maintain your EV so that you’re not putting any unnecessary stress on the car and to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible. There are a few simple things to keep in mind as you drive.

More than anything, you need to make sure that you’re looking after your battery. As batteries age, they’re able to hold less and less of a charge, meaning your vehicle will be unable to reach the same range as when it was new. The trick to EV battery maintenance is to keep it as close to 80% charged as often as you can; it’s actually bad for the battery’s health in the long term to be consistently charging it to full, due to its complex chemical makeup.

It’s also important that you regularly inspect your vehicle’s tyres – EVs are much heavier than traditional cars that are a similar size, as the batteries contribute a surprising amount of weight. This means that your EV will be harder on the tyres, and they may wear out sooner than you were expecting.

The best thing you can do to maintain your EV’s health is to find a qualified EV mechanic that will look after it properly and bring it in for its service at least once every 12 months, or every 10,000km (the same as a traditional car servicing schedule).

The electric car mechanic you can trust

If you have any questions about what it’s like to own an EV or how different they are to service, get in touch with the expert team at Highfields Mechanical today. Our staff have the right training to make sure that your electric vehicle is performing safely and at its best. 

Give us a call today on (07) 4646 1780 or fill out our online contact form at any time.