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How To: Cleaning out your car’s AC system

Have you noticed a foul odor coming from your air conditioning vents, or a decrease in your fuel efficiency? It may be time to clean out your car’s air conditioner. Cleaning out dust and debris from your air conditioner actually helps it to function more smoothly, in turn, helping your vehicle use gas more efficiently.

Although it is recommended that you leave cleaning out the vehicle’s AC system to the professionals, doing it on your own is not as complicated as you might think if that is what you’d rather do. Below we have broken down the process into five basic steps:

Step 1: Take it Apart

The first step is to effectively disassemble your air conditioner, giving you the best access to the vehicle’s inner workings and making it possible to flush out whatever dirt and debris may be trapped inside. Take out all air conditioning parts you happen to spot including hoses, evaporators, and condensers.

Step 2: Flush it Out

Next, you have to flush out the debris by using an aerosol air conditioning flush. You have to flush out each individual piece of the system to allow the dirt and debris to come out on one end, then wipe each of them down with a clean cloth.

Step 3: Search the Ducts

The next step is to investigate the ducts (which look like large tubes that stem from the zig-zag tubes of the evaporator) for any leaks. If you spot any holes, use duct tape to patch them up as you don’t want any air leaking out if you can help it.

Step 4: Remove the Accumulator

Next, you need to remove the accumulator. This will be shaped like a coffee can. Its role is to sift out the debris and condensation from the air while it prepares to enter the vehicle. Since the accumulator gets bogged down over time, it is likely the cause of all the dust and debris build-up. You will need to replace this part.

Step 5: Replace the Accumulator

You’ll need to purchase a brand new, clean accumulator. It can be found at any auto parts store, but be sure that it matches your vehicle make and model. Installing the accumulator should be fairly easy: you bolt it down just as the old one was, and then reattach all the hoses and other connecting parts.

This kind of DIY project is not meant for everyone so if you ever have any doubts about it, it’s always best to take your car into the professionals. Cleaning out you vehicle’s AC is certainly not something that should be neglected. It can be a great way to protect your engine, maximize your fuel efficiency and remove any foul odors that may be coming from your vents.


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