Can I make my car air conditioner colder?

Tara Baukus MelloDear Driving for Dollars,
I don't know if I'm just getting old or what, but it seems like my car air conditioner takes forever to get cold. Is there any way to make it get colder faster?
-- Eddy

AC controls on dashboard © Alexandru Nika/

Dear Eddy,
The reason for your problem probably isn't you getting old. It's likely that your car air conditioner is showing its age.

Car air-conditioning units create cold air by using a system that takes liquid refrigerant and turns it into a gas, which in turn makes the air cold. After awhile, the refrigerant isn't as effective and the system needs to be recharged. It seems like the car isn't getting cold as fast because the air blowing into the car isn't as cold as it was when your car and air conditioner were new.

You'll want to take your car to a franchised dealer for your car's brand or to an independent shop that specializes in car air-conditioning systems to have the system serviced. Be sure to call and ask for estimates and get a thorough description of what the shop is offering with the service, as prices and the exact service can vary widely from one shop to another. It's also a good idea to see if they offer a warranty with their work.

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If you have a car question, email it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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