The air-conditioning service in workshops: how to keep your customers cool

A look at the seasonal workshop calendar will tell you workshop professionals the following: the summer and holiday season is in full swing! So it's high time to pay a little more attention to a car's air-conditioning system – after all, you want your customers to keep a cool head and arrive safely at their destination even when temperatures start to get tropical. So this is what it means for you: brushing up on your skills on air-conditioning servicing is the best way forward. And here is our suggestion for those of you who still do not have the relevant certificate: why not obtain your air-conditioning certificate of competencedirectly in our Knowledge Workshop, the HELLA Academy? In this detailed training course, you will learn among other things everything about the physical principles of refrigeration technology, all about the components of a motor vehicle air-conditioning system and also how to handle hazardous substances.

But just hang on a moment! Before you all rush off to sign up – as a true friend of the independent workshop, it goes without saying that we won't leave you in limbo with such a cliffhanger. We have summarised for you the most important information about the servicing of air-conditioning units in short and to the point.

Air-conditioning service – just hot air about nothing?

"It's just another scam to make more money!" Have any of your workshop customers ever sounded off in this way when you recommended that they have their car's air conditioning serviced? Yet a properly functioning air-conditioning system is much more than just an unnecessary extra that is intended to make the cash register ring a little louder: today air-conditioning systems are part of standard equipment in most cars – with good reason. They ensure comfort and safety by regulating the interior temperature to the set number of degrees. If it gets too hot in the vehicle, the driver’s concentration and thus reaction speed both decrease. In a dicey traffic situation, it is precisely this impairment that can make the difference between becoming involved in an accident and remaining safe and unharmed. Regular inspection of the air-conditioning system should therefore be part of a workshop’s standard procedure. If car owners neglect the air-conditioning service, damage can also occur to the components, the repair of which is significantly more expensive than the actual air-conditioning service.

Air-conditioning check and air-conditioning service step by step

Now you have good arguments at hand if once again a customer doubts the necessity of the air-conditioning service. And we’re pleased to have been able to help! Let's carry on now with the specific to-do list, tasks that make up the maintenance and care of the air-conditioning system. This is where we distinguish between the "minor" air-conditioning check and the more extensive air-conditioning service.

Air-con check

A typical indication that it is high time for the air-con check is this: the air-conditioning system gives off a musty smell. The cause is usually the car interior’s air filter. This filters pollen, dust and dirt particles out of the air before it then flows clean and cool into the car’s interior. But a filter like this is also just a – well, just a filter – and it reaches its limits after a while. This is because condensation forms in its fins, in which bacteria, fungi and microorganisms gradually settle. And if this unappetising idea is not reason enough for your customers to rethink, then they have to realise this, too: the whole thing can also be detrimental to health. So for this reason, the car interior’s filter should be replaced regularly and the evaporator should also be disinfected regularly. Your to-do list for the air-conditioning check also includes the inspection of the compressor, the evaporator and the capacitor or expansion valve. Don't forget to check hoses and connections for possible leaks – this is also good for the environment. It makes sense to carry out the air-con check every 12 months.


The essential steps at a glance:


•    Visual inspection of all components •    Function and performance checks •    Replacement of car interior’s filter •    Disinfection of evaporator, if necessary

Air-conditioning service

10% – that's how much refrigerant even new air-conditioning systems lose through hoses, seals and the like every year. Less refrigerant automatically also means less cooling capacity. In addition, there is a risk of damage to the compressor because of the lack of lubrication. The filter drier ensures that the refrigerant is kept free of moisture and impurities. The air-conditioning service should be scheduled to take place every 2 years.


All steps at a glance:


•    Visual inspection of all components •    Function and performance tests •    Replacement of filter drier •    Disinfection of evaporator, if necessary •    Changing of refrigerant •    Leak test •    Replacement of car interior’s filter     

With our little refresher course on the subject of air-conditioning services and air-conditioning checks, we hope that you are now well prepared for the summer! And don't forget to drop by the HELLA Academy. There you will not only find the course for the air-conditioning certificate, but also our entire training programme!