Van Nuys Auto Repair & Service Center

It’s Too Hot to Handle

Over the years, I’ve learned that my customers with poor or no air conditioning in their cars are the most unhappy. This has been especially true if they had to drive their car into my shop on a hot day--by the time they get here, they are irritated. Take my customer, Velma. She’s been coming to my shop almost since I opened my doors in the late 1970s. Her car issues have been  minor (she’s been great at bringing it in for maintenance) until her car’s air conditioner stopped working. It was over 90 degrees F. that day. I had just walked out of my office, and I saw Thelma looking a bit harried. “Jack, my air conditioner isn’t working. It’s too hot to handle.”

I couldn’t agree more. We depend so much on our car’s air conditioning systems during the hot weather, which seems to be year-round. They get much more wear and tear than units in other states where they have summer temperatures for just three months.

I led her to our customer lounge to rest up and gave her a cold drink. Then I went to look over the car. We performed our complimentary car and truck visual inspection that looks at 38 points of your vehicle, including the air conditioning system.

Velma was lucky this time. From the visual inspection, our technicians could see that some debris had blocked her A/C condenser. We did some further checks to ensure there wasn’t anything wrong with the A/C compressor, condenser, or electrical hookups; a refrigerant leak, or a problem with cooling fans.

She looked a little more like herself when I returned to the Customer Lounge. She was happily munching away on cookies we put out there and seemed surprised to see me so soon.

Looking panicked, she said: “Okay, Jack. What’s the damage? Did an expensive part die?”

“No, Thelma. This time you were fortunate. Some debris got in the way of the cold air coming into the A/C unit. We just had to move it out of the way.”

“Some schmutz caused all that hot air? I thought I would have to work here part-time to pay the bill. Thanks, Jack. You always come through for me.”

Many people will likely experience problems with their automobile’s air conditioning system, especially during the months that temperatures hit triple digits. Here are four tips on how to keep your car cool.

  1. Park your car in a garage or the shade if possible. Here’s why. In 70-degree outdoor temperatures, your vehicle’s interior can reach 104 degrees F. in 30 minutes and up to 113 degrees F. in an hour. At 90 degrees, the interior temperature soars up to 109 within 10 minutes and 124 after 30 minutes. An increase of five degrees to 95 degrees F. can push that up to 114 degrees inside after 10 minutes and 129 after 30 minutes. Now that is too hot to handle. However, temperatures inside your car can increase by 40 degrees in an hour, in any weather.
  2. Use a window shade to keep the sun’s rays from coming in through the windshield.
  3. Cover up your upholstery, dashboard and steering wheel, particularly on hot days.
  4. Most importantly, keep all maintenance appointments for your car. This is the number one thing you can do to prevent problems with your A/C and other components. Cars are machines, and they need a lot of TLC to remain safely on the road.

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AutoAid has received AAA’s Approved Auto Repair and Customer Service Award for over 30 years. We provide maintenance and repair for Domestic, European and Japanese vehicles. Besides A/C units, our trained technicians can help you with your car's brakes, oil changes, engine, windshield, tires, tune-up service and battery replacement for hybrid or gas-powered vehicles. Contact us at 818-305-6632 or visit our website’s appointment page. Our 5,000-square foot facility is located in the heart of San Fernando Valley near several freeways and major thoroughfares. At AutoAid, we are here to help any motorist, whether it’s replacing parts on your car, conducting maintenance, or answering your questions. We make auto repair easy, understandable, and convenient because we listen to your needs.

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