How to replace Toyota Vios air conditioning filters

Air conditioning in the car: maintenance, disinfection

➤ Costs for the air conditioning service
➤ Maintenance procedure
➤ Disinfect the air conditioning system yourself
➤ How the air conditioning works
➤ Additional consumption due to the use of air conditioning
➤ Tips for use

The air conditioning in the car smells or no longer cools properly? High time for a disinfection and an air conditioning service. Because behind the stench there are mold, bacteria and microorganisms that have spread in the blower box and on the evaporator, aided by moisture and heat. The loss of refrigerant is often responsible for the weaker cooling function. Within a year, the systems can lose up to 15 percent of the refrigerant that needs to be replenished. Experts advise to carry out maintenance at least every two yearsto prevent expensive damage. Escaping coolant also pollutes the environment. Maintenance is therefore also a measure for environmental protection, since leaks are discovered and eliminated here.

By the way: a working one Air conditioning is also a safety factor. As the interior temperature in the car increases, the driver's ability to concentrate decreases sharply and the risk of an accident increases. That is why air conditioning in summer is not only a comfort function that ensures pleasant temperatures, but also makes an active contribution to road safety.

Air conditioning service costs

Air conditioners are not maintenance-free because over time they start to stink, leak and strike.

© Christian Bittmann

The costs for the air conditioning service are largely dependent on the refrigerant that is used in the respective car. For older models that still use the now banned R134a refrigerant, the Price usually between 50 and 100 eurosfor maintenance. Since the beginning of 2017, however, only the refrigerant R1234y may be used in new cars. This is significantly more expensive than R134a, so the price for maintenance also rises. Mostly have to for Cars with the refrigerant R1234y between 100 and 200 euros be taken into account. Depending on the amount required, the costs can also increase. Even if further repairs to the air conditioning are necessary, the costs for the service increase.

Air conditioning maintenance procedure

The air conditioning professional sucks the remaining coolant out of the air conditioning system.

© Sven Krieger / AUTO BILD

During the air conditioning service, the functions of the most important components such as the coolant compressor (also called compressor), condenser, evaporator and expansion valve are checked. And hoses and seals can age, dry out and become leaky as a result. Manufacturers therefore recommend an annual check of the air conditioning system. It is important to visit a designated specialist workshop that has a special air conditioning service unit and trained specialist staff. Incorrect maintenance can result in considerable damage, so only appropriately trained mechanics are allowed to work on an air conditioning system.

The air conditioning is not automatically checked during every inspection, so you should inquire about it beforehand and the Book air conditioning service if necessary. At the latest when the cooling capacity decreases, the system should be examined with regard to a possible loss of coolant. Even without a leak, air conditioning systems lose a certain amount of coolant over time. This not only reduces the cooling capacity. The likelihood of expensive consequential damage also increases, because the refrigerant not only provides cooling. Oil is added to the coolant, which also lubricates the compressor and protects seals from drying out. If a new compressor is required, including installation, more than 1000 euros can come together.

These services are part of the air conditioning service:
• Maintenance with functional and visual inspection
• Refrigerant exchange
• Add oil to the compressor
• Disinfection to remove bacteria and fungi
• If necessary, repair the system

A professional Treatment with ozone removes all bacteria and fungi from the evaporator as well as from shafts and air ducts. Price for the ozone treatment: around 50 euros. In addition, a regular change of the cabin filter ensures that the air conditioning system is always ready for use and that the air in the cabin remains clean. So pollen allergies don't stand a chance either.

Disinfect the air conditioning system yourself: this is how it works

If you want, you can clean your air conditioning yourself. Although this does not replace the professional air conditioning service, it prevents the development of unpleasant odors from fungi and bacteria. Evaporators, ducts and air ducts are disinfected in the process. This requires special cleaning sprays or foams for the air conditioning in the car. Depending on the product, they usually cost between ten and 15 euros per bottle.

Cleaning foams come directly onto the evaporator, which is particularly effective.

© Roman Rätzke / AUTO BILD

Disinfection with cleaning foam:
The foam from the can is sprayed directly into the evaporator with a longer hose in the engine compartment. After half an hour of exposure, you start the engine, open all ventilation nozzles, turn on the air conditioning fully and let it run for some time so that the active ingredient can be distributed well. Since the agent is used directly at the source of the bacteria and fungi, i.e. on the vaporizer, it is usually more effective than a spray that first has to work its way through the intake tract.

The spray is simply sprayed inside, after a short exposure time, the disinfection is done.

© Roman Rätzke / AUTO BILD

Disinfection with spray:
In contrast to foam, the spray in the vehicle interior is placed in the footwell with the engine running, the windows closed and the circulating air fan switched on at the highest level and temperature (in the air conditioning intake area) and activated at the push of a button. After about 15 minutes, the spray mist has completely escaped from the can. One filling is enough for the complete disinfection of the air conditioning and ventilation system. You are not allowed to stay inside the car during the disinfection. The interior must then be thoroughly ventilated.

Dirty: old (left) and new pollen filter.

© Ralf Timm

Don't forget the cabin filter:In addition to disinfecting the air conditioning, the cabin filter should be replaced. The change is often a little more complex, as it is often installed behind the paneling of the bulkhead in the engine compartment (here for instructions). But with a little skill and patience, you can change the filter yourself. The price for an activated carbon cabin filter is between ten and 30 euros. This has one advantage compared to conventional pollen filters: it filters 92 percent of the toxic nitrogen dioxide from car exhaust gases from the indoor air.

This is how the air conditioning works in the car

A gas that is compressed heats up. Conversely, it cools down when it expands again. Air conditioning systems use this principle: The contained, gaseous coolant is sucked in and compressed by the compressor. The pressure heats the gas and then cools it down in a subsequent heat exchanger. Here it changes into a liquid state. A dryer then filters any water that may be present from the coolant. The coolant, which is now liquid, then reaches an expansion valve, from where it is metered into the evaporator. Because the coolant is no longer under pressure, it returns to the gaseous state when it passes through the evaporator. For this change in the physical state, heat is required. This is extracted from the air that flows into the evaporator. As a result, when the air has passed the evaporator, it has cooled down considerably and enters the interior via the ventilation nozzles. The coolant (now in a gaseous state) is sucked in again by the compressor - and the cycle starts all over again.

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Basically, all air conditioning systems in the car work according to this principle. There are only differences in operation. Two operating versions are common: the automatic air conditioning with automatic control as well as the manually operated air conditioning. The latter is only cooled in the set temperature range. The automatic air conditioning, on the other hand, uses sensors to keep the desired temperature even when the outside conditions change. A multi-zone air conditioning system is even more convenient: it enables separate settings for the driver and front passenger, and in luxury cars even in the rear area. The air conditioning system is now linked to numerous sensors. Some systems vary their performance depending on the position of the sun.

Higher fuel consumption and additional costs due to air conditioning?

The use of the air conditioning in the car always generates additional consumption. Because the air conditioning compressor is driven by a belt on the engine. This increases the working resistance of the engine and thus the fuel consumption. However, the way the compressors work has been technically optimized in recent years. So-called regulated compressors adapt their performance to the cooling requirement. This reduces the working resistance of the engine. In addition, according to ADAC, manual air conditioning systems should consume more than automatically controlled systems (automatic air conditioning), which automatically vary the cooling capacity after the desired temperature has been selected. The amount of additional consumption does not only depend on the type of compressor, but also on the operating conditions and the engine power of the car. In addition, the additional consumption varies between motorway journeys (0.4 to 1.2 L / 100 km) and journeys in city traffic (2.0 to 5.0 l / 100 km).

In addition to the operating costs for fuel, air conditioning also incurs workshop costs for coolant replacement and wear and tear on the compressor shafts. Many drivers believe that they can save operating costs by keeping their air conditioning off all the time. But In the long term, non-use leads to damage to the system. Even when the system is switched off, the compressor of the air conditioning system is driven by a belt from the combustion engine without working. If the system is never active, the bearings of the compressor shaft can receive insufficient lubrication and become leaky, causing them to lose refrigerant permanently. A sealing of the system that is then required and the refilling or refilling with coolant are expensive. The air conditioning should therefore not be switched off all the time, even in winter. It is better to set them to a temperature slightly higher than the outside temperature. The control then does not request any cooling and the compressor runs with it without additional consumption.

Tips for the correct use of air conditioning systems

• Before switching on the air conditioning, allow the existing heat in the vehicle to be drawn off through open doors and windows.
• Close windows and sunroof during operation. Open doors as rarely and only briefly.
• Recirculation mode reduces the contamination of the pollen filter and thus reduces the cleaning and replacement cycle. Indoor air that has already been pre-cooled can be cooled to the desired temperature with less energy than warm outdoor air.
• The desired temperature should not be too low and should be a maximum of 5 ° C below the outside temperature so that the air flow only cools slightly.
• Turn off the air conditioning five to ten minutes before the end of your journey. This prevents residual moisture on the evaporator and counteracts the formation of germs.

Further topics: Mobile air conditioning units in comparison