Understanding Automotive Parts

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Replacing Old Hoses On Your Car's Air Conditioning System

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The air conditioning hoses under the hood of your car play an essential role in the way the system works. As the hoses age, they can begin to crack and wear, and replacing them before they fail will help ensure the AC in your vehicle continues working. 

Hose Location

The air conditioning hoses on vehicles that use them are located under the hood of your car. The hoses connect the air conditioning compressor on the vehicle's engine to the condenser at the front of the vehicle. Several additional lines run from the evaporator on the firewall to the condenser and compressor and can be rigid tubing or rubber lines, depending on the vehicle manufacturer's design. 

The hoses are made from reinforced rubber with metal ends and connectors that are part of the hose and cannot be removed. If a hose fails, it must be replaced as one piece, so it is necessary to remove the connectors and the hose together. The hoses should be visible near the front of the engine but may require the removal of some other parts to reach the hoses for service, depending on the location of the compressor on the engine itself.

Hose Inspection

If you have concerns about the age of the air conditioning hoses in your vehicle, inspecting them for damage is easy to do, and it can be the best way to find a problem before the hoses fail. Look closely at the rubber portion of the hoses, checking for cracks, cuts, or splits in the hoses that appear to go deep enough to potentially puncture the rubber. 

At each hose end, check the connection between the rubber and the steel fitting. If there is any separation between them, it is essential to take the vehicle to an AC repair shop and have them replace the air conditioning hoses that are worn or damaged before they fail. 

Hose Replacement

If the air conditioning system in the car is active and still has refrigerant in it, replacing the air conditioning hoses is not something you can do at home. The refrigerant in the system must be captured by federal law because it is damaging to the ozone. An AC shop will use a special capture tank that allows them to remove the refrigerant from the system before working on it. 

Once the system has been evacuated of refrigerant, the hoses can be removed and replaced. If a hose fails and the refrigerant is released accidentally, you can replace the hoses yourself. However, you will still need to have an AC shop charge the system to ensure it has the right amount of refrigerant in it, or the system will not cool efficiently. A technician will recharge the system with fresh refrigerant until it reaches the operating pressure for that make and model of vehicle.