What do I do if my air-con loses its cool?

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Sometimes the air conditioning systems in our cars can start to become less effective, or can even start to emit bad smells.

Sometimes the air conditioning systems in our cars can start to become less effective, or can even start to emit bad smells. If this is the case, going to get the refrigerant gas recharged or topped up seems like the first thing to do, but it may not be that simple.

Car air-conditioning can stop working for a number of reasons, including system leaks, compressor or condenser failure, belt drivesfailing, or simply lack of use. Therefore, topping up your gas might not always be the right thing to do first.

At Halfords we offer a variety of solutions to get your air-con running cold again.

I think my air-con system has a problem?

If you suspect your air-con system has stopped working, for example it isn't blowing any cold air at all, or there's a strange smellcoming from the outlets, then we'd recommend you get it checked out at your nearest Autocentre.

At Halfords Autocentres, our expert technicians always carry out an Air-Conditioning Pre-service Inspection before we replenish the gas in your air-con system. During theinspection we will check the system for any faults or leaks and carry out the following procedures:

  • A temperature check
  • A refrigerant check
  • A thorough inspection of the system's key components, including the compressor, condenser, drive belts and hoses
  • Carry out a leak test (using nitrogen)

Once your air-con inspection is complete, we can either re-gas and service your refrigerant for an additional cost, or recommend any repair work that needs to be carried out on your air-con system, to get it working again. We'll quote all prices up front too, so you won't get any nasty surprises before we start work.

During the re-gas, we replace the lubricant and refrigerant levels in line with your manufacturer's recommendation, to ensure it continues to give the best performance over time.

How much does it cost?

It depends on the type of car you drive! There are two main different types of air-con gas; the older R134a gas and the new 1234yf gas. Your car will require one or the other depending on the make and model.

You can find out what type of gas you need by either looking in your vehicle's handbook, or checking our article here , before you book an air-con inspection. If you can't find which coolant gas you need, then you can always head into a Halfords store and ask, but you may need to re-book an appointment if there aren't any slots available.

Topping up your car up with R134a gas costs £50 while topping up 1234yf costs £110. Meanwhile, our Air-Conditioning Diagnostic costs £34.99.

Halfords Autocentres' 317 garages can all carry out the Air-Conditioning Diagnostic and supply R134a gas. Meanwhile 95 of our garages can supply the new 1234yf gas. To find out if your local garage can supply the gas you need, see our article here.

Why are there different types of gases?

Though it may seem odd that cars have different types, the reason is that in January 2017, a new law came into force requiring all new cars to be fitted with 1234yf gas, because it causes less damage to the environment. In fact 1234yf produces 98% fewer climate-damaging pollutants than its predecessor, R134a!

From 2013 onwards, some car manufacturers decided to fit their vehicles with the new gas, even before the new law came into force. Therefore even if your car isn't new, if it was manufactured in 2013 onwards, you should check if your car needs the new 1234yf gas.

I just think my air-con gas need recharging?

If you think your air-con refrigerant just needs recharging e.g. it is still blowing cold, but not as cold as it used to be, you can get it checked and topped up at one of Halfords shops.

Halfords offer a free air-con system pressure check, to see if your refrigerant levels need to be topped up. If they do, you can book infor an air-con recharge service at the shop, and our trained in-store specialists will take care of it for you for £50 as part of the air-con recharge service.

The other option is to purchase all of the air-con essentials from the Halfords store to recharge at home. Our new air-conditioning recharge kits come with everything you need to just re-gas your system, but make sure you check if your car is compatible, and you know what you're doing, before you begin. Re-gassing your car's air conditioning can be dangerous, thanks to the pressurized gases involved, so sometimes it's better to leave it to the professionals at Halfords.

Maintaining your air-con

We recommend you service your air conditioning system every two years to replenish the liquids used, and to ensure all components are working correctly. Your owner's manual will give you the specific requirements for your car.