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BMW Air Conditioning System – Repair Process

Written by maryp posted on Thursday, April 7th, 2011

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Feel a cool breeze in your BMW, or feel that warm air? This is the time of year when you may need your Air Conditioning checked. Is the air blowing out as cool as it should be? Is your A/C blower working? What should be done when checking my BMW or MINI Air Conditioning System or getting it serviced.

Let’s look at the A/C service and what is done at our work shop to insure that you are getting a great checkout. You can also understand exactly what you are paying for.

The procedures described below are part of the discovery process to determine, (what) if anything is wrong with your A/C system in your BMW or MINI. The benefit of having a thorough checkout, is that you will know exactly what is wrong with your A/C system and what it will take to fix it. After this discovery or initial diagnostic service, we will then advise our clients whether they need a hose, a belt, and/or whatever (including the cost) it will take to get their A/C system cool again After all, that is the goal. Yeah!

First off: Quality shops now are using what is called an “A/C identifier” which tests the refrigerant in your A/C for any contamination. Whether or not your system has a pure refrigerant vs. something else, we need to know. This keeps our expensive equipment from being ruined and also lets us know how it needs to be disposed lawfully or recycled properly. We do not run across this very often, (thank goodness) our clients aren’t putting “stuff” in their BMW or MINI that they picked up at a hardware store.

  • After identifying your refrigerant, we check all of the exposed hoses, tubing and connections for any damage or leaks.
  • The compressor and clutch, (when accessible) are examined for damage, missing bolts, hardware, broken housing and leaks.
  • Rotate the compressor to determine if it is seized or locked up.
  • Service ports are examined for missing caps, damaged threads and conformance of labeling.
  • The condenser coil is examined for damage, restrictions or leaks.
  • The expansion device, if accessible, is examined for physical damage or leaks.
  • Check the accumulator receiver dryer and the in-line filter for any damage missing or loose hardware or leaks.
  • The Drive belt system is checked: note any damaged, missing pulleys or tensioners.
  • Check the belt system for proper belt routing tension, alignment, any excessive wear or cracking.
  • The fan clutch is examined for leakage, bearing wear and proper operation.
  • Cooling fan is checked for bent or missing blades.
  • Accessible electrical connections are examined for loose, burnt, broken or corroded parts.
  • The system is checked for leakage at a minimum of 50-PSI system pressure.
  • The compressor clutch, blower motor and air control doors have been checked for proper operations.
  • High and low side system operation pressure have been recorded noted on your invoice.
  • The center air distribution outlet temps are also recorded and noted the final invoice.

(Note: the above may vary slightly depending on make, year, and model)

Our experienced and trained staff know your BMW and MINI A/C systems.

The days of just “it just needs some freon topped off – my A/C is not cold” are a thing of the past. It is the law in our State that the above procedures are performed anytime there is an AC performance test, a need to “top off”, Inspection or diagnosis. Due to strict regulations of the refrigerants and the CARB/EPA rules, the idea is to catch any leaks of your system that are depleting the ozone layer. These rules were also put in place with the idea that all customers in the State of CA would be getting the same thing when they asked for an A/C service. Unfortunately, we suspect that may not be happening when we see some of the cheap and quick A/C services advertised.

BTW, the U.S. is changing the refrigerant again and will be in line with what the Europeans are using. We blogged about world wide refrigerant debates before, and now the manufacturers are lining up for the change to the product and processes.

Now YOU are an informed BMW or MINI owner. Keep it cool!

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