The Benefit of Utilizing Fully Automatic A/C Equipment on Today’s Cars

Utilizing Fully Automatic A/C Equipment on Today’s Cars

As technology evolves, fully automatic A/C equipment becomes a greater necessity.

As auto technicians, we rely on our tools and equipment to help us perform our jobs efficiently and accurately. Much of the modern equipment designed for automotive service features automatic operation, or, at minimum, some automatic aspects. While this is often beneficial to technician productivity, it’s not always a necessity.

When servicing today’s air conditioning (A/C) systems, however, utilizing fully automatic A/C equipment not only realizes many advantages, but due to the precision required, the necessity of it becomes more prevalent as technology evolves.

To begin with, fully automatic equipment works off vehicle make and model, so there’s no looking up specifications, which saves time and eliminates error.

Intuitive software is designed to easily walk you through all steps and, in addition, it performs all aspects of the charging process including oil and dye injection. This allows you to walk away and work on other things as the process runs. There’s no monitoring or checking progress. It’ll let you know when it’s done.

They’re quick and convenient to use, but accuracy and precision are the far more important reasons to use a fully automatic machine. Today’s A/C service leaves no room for error. The operation of today’s A/C systems is based upon maximizing the potential of the refrigerants, and it is critical to balance the heat transfer rates of the evaporator and condenser. If the evaporator is more efficient and draws more heat out than the condenser can release, system operation will suffer.

In addition, on today’s systems, compressors are much smaller and more efficient to save weight and increase fuel economy. Smaller hoses and lines allow for more precise pressure control, and lower capacities mean there is less of an effect on the environment in the event of refrigerant loss. The result is considerably lower system capacities, with most systems using only 12-16 ounces of refrigerant.

Due to low system capacities and the need for balanced system operation, the accuracy of a correct system charge is the most prevalent factor in A/C service. The slightest over or under charge will throw off the designed pressures of the system, resulting in an immediate effect on duct temperature. A low charge also means low oil circulation, which can cause damage to the A/C compressor.

Leak detection is another important aspect of A/C service, and fully automatic machines perform strict leak tests of the system during the recharge process. This takes more time than a traditional recharging process, another good reason to let a fully automatic machine do the work.

Utilizing fully automatic A/C equipment removes the guesswork from A/C service, both during recovery and recharge and it is designed with the precision required to ensure correct system operation.

Another valuable feature of fully automatic equipment is the built-in technology that complements the overall operation, such as service printouts, multi-language software, technical support, app control options and regular updates.

As automotive and A/C technology continues to evolve, the abilities of your A/C machine will determine your success in this type of service. Charging accuracy is critical, and automatic compensation for the length of the charging lines is another feature that’s important to maintain that accuracy. Close doesn’t count anymore in A/C service, and it’s your reputation at stake. Consider a fully automatic A/C machine and consider it an investment in your future. TS

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Don’t Forget the Basics

Every now and then, I get tunnel vision during diagnostics, and forget to think about the big picture.

2000 Jeep Cherokee

We’ve all made the mistake, at least I know I have. Every now and then, I get tunnel vision during diagnostics, and forget to think about the big picture. And this last episode even violated my cardinal rule: don’t leave a malfunction indicator light (MIL) unresolved.I always recommend fixing every problem that causes the MIL to illuminate. I hear the excuses all the time about why people would rather live with the light, but I always tell them, even if the immediate cause of the light doesn’t affect the dependability of the vehicle, if something else happens that does, you’ll have no idea of knowing. That’s the beauty of computer controls. You always know when something is going on.Just a couple weeks ago, a friend called me because they were having trouble with the transmission in their 2000 Jeep Cherokee. It was shifting erratically, and it occurred after driving on a very hot day. The fluid was dark in color, and when it last had been changed was unknown.This particular vehicle was located in Arizona, so phone-only troubleshooting was the only option. I decided to focus on the condition of the fluid and the hot climate. We’ve all faced neglected and burnt transmission fluid and had to make the decision of change or not to change. Some say change it, but some say that may cause the transmission to completely fail, so leave it alone.I decided to roll the dice, and, in this situation, I decided the fluid should be changed. Then, knowing the climate, I decided to dig in and focus on the other factors that could affect the fluid. After asking questions, I learned that the cooler in the radiator had been bypassed and the only cooler was a small aftermarket unit. I also discussed the fact that if the fan clutch was not operating properly, it could cause a problem with cooling as well.Taking my advice, the Jeep’s owner changed the fluid and filter, installed a new radiator, reconnected the transmission lines to it, installed a new aftermarket cooler in line and installed a newfan clutch.After performing all the work, the transmission continued with its erratic shifting. No better, no worse. The next day, unexpectedly, the engine stalled when coming to a stop. This had never happened before. The Jeep’s owner decided to check for trouble codes and found a code for the throttle position sensor (TPS).He didn’t think about looking for codes before because the MIL was already illuminated for another problem. He was “living with the light.” After replacing the TPS, not only did the engine run better than it had in a while, but the transmission shifted perfectly and has ever since.Of course, it all makes perfect sense. I wasn’t there to see the MIL, I didn’t think to ask if it was illuminated, and on or not, I didn’t even think to check for codes. My tunnel vision in this case only made me think about the transmission fluid, not the information the transmission needs to know in order to shift properly. Luckily, the outcome was good and the owner is happy knowing the transmission is serviced and the fluid is being properly cooled. TS

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