Things to Consider in Choosing an A/C Pipe
Air conditioning systems on vehicles are Godsends. You can have the most awesome looking ride, a decked out interior, and a lot of other extras, but without functioning air conditioning, it won't be as comfortable a driving experience. Of the many components in that system, none is as vulnerable as the pipe that supplies the refrigerant that keeps things cool.
Fit is a catchall term that covers many factors that go into buying the right pipe. The most obvious aspects are the length and circumference of the pipe itself. While air conditioning is a fairly standard affair, between years, makes, and models, there are enough differences to make fit an important issue. Your best guides to fit are your owner's manual and the pipe you are planning to replace.
If you will notice, your pipe isn't a simple rubber tube. Attached to it is a twisted and curved metallic addition called a fitting. This part works exactly like a pipe-it allows refrigerant to flow through. The only reason it's metallic is to provide stability around the bends and corners that the entire length of the pipe has to pass through. This section has to match exactly to make the pipe effective.
Once you have the question of fit safely answered, it's important to look into the following factors that help to determine whether or not the pipe you will buy will last long or break down easily.
- Temperature-resistance: For the more vulnerable rubber tubing, a safe resistance range is between -40 degrees and +210 degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from cold-obviously-the a/c pipe is subjected to a lot of heat under the hood.
- Corrosion-resistance: Applicable to a small degree to the rubber section and more to the metallic fittings, corrosion-resistance-indicated by a label-is important because a lot of moisture and corrosive compounds abound in the engine block of your vehicle.
A matter of price
Price ranges for simpler fittings can go down as low as $35. The more complicated or branded ones can run as high as $160. It's really best not to be cheap on this-unless keeping cool is not your kind of thing, that is!
Stop That Leak! Changing Out Your Old A/C Pipe
No one likes a faulty air conditioning unit-keeping cool on a hot day is just that important. More often than not, the fault lies in the most vulnerable part of the system: the A/ pipe. This guide will start with helping you identify a Freon/refrigerant leak, and then show you how you can save a lot from replacing the pipe by yourself. It takes a little bit of time and patience, but it is do-able.
Difficulty level: Easy
Stuff you will need:
- New A/C pipe
- Your vehicle's owner's manual
- Clean rags
- Insulated gloves
Step 1: Disengage your battery whenever you have to work under the hood-it can save you from electrical shocks. You should wait at least 30 minutes before continuing with the procedure.
Step 2: Check the Freon levels in its receptacle-annually, you car bleeds off a certain amount of Freon that is in the acceptable range. Compare your findings with data from your owner's manual and top-off as necessary.
Step 3: Carefully check the couplings where the a/c pipe attaches to the compressor-especially the surrounding area. What you're looking for is any leak of coolant.
*Caution* This is the best time to wear those gloves as the extreme cold could cause damage to your hands and fingers.
Step 4: Slowly remove the old a/c pipe with careful, yet firm, twists. While you do so, take time to check the length of the pipe for damage or wearing-this will help you to monitor the new pipe you are putting in as damage will be in roughly the same areas!
Step 5: Install the new a/c pipe. Be extra careful-tighten the connection points with the coolant tank and the compressor, make sure the pipe isn't bent or twisted too much, and check if the pipe is bumping into any other parts that could damage it.
Step 6: Re-engage the battery, start your vehicle, and run the air conditioner at full blast for several minutes.
Step 7: After a good 20 minutes, re-check the a/c pipe to make sure there are no leaks due to installation errors-you're done!