Hot Weather Straining Car A/C Systems

ACMEDFORD, Ore. — For drivers stuck in hot cars on the drive home from work, the heat wave in southern Oregon this week can put a big hurt on their car’s air conditioning system.

Mechanics say too many people don’t take care of their A/C system, and that can lead to costly repairs. But there are things drivers can do to avoid a big mechanic’s bill.

Mechanics at Southern Oregon Auto Care said air conditioning problems are one of their most common repairs when temperatures start to go up, and their shops gets busy. They said some cars can lose Freon in the air conditioner, which prevents the A/C from cooling the car.

If the air isn’t blowing cool enough, it could also be time to replace the air filter. Doing so could also prevent other costly repairs, because a clogged air filter can lead to a sluggish engine.

“Sometimes the air flow coming out of the air conditioning doesn’t blow quite as hard as it should. And the cabin air filter is a common problem,” said owner Ron Shubin. “Just pull that air filter, a lot of consumers can do that themselves. If it gets plugged up, it doesn’t flow and doesn’t cool as well.”

Using the A/C can also put a strain on engine belts. Shubin recommends checking under the hood to make sure the belts aren’t cracked or frayed.