Justin Schofield, Master Mechanic at VIP Tires & Service in Sanford, ME


Have you ever stepped into your car on a hot day, cranked the AC and BAM – no air at all? Or worse yet, hot, sweaty, totally not conditioned air comes blasting out in your face?  You’re headed to work, an important event or stuck in traffic and there’s no cold air to keep you comfortable. Why oh why is this happening NOW?


To answer the age-old question of busted ACs, we met up with Justin Schofield, Master Tech at VIP Tires and Service in Sanford ME. It’s a hot day and there are quite a few vehicles that need their AC checked this morning. Justin is currently working on his first vehicle of the day, and it’s one of at least 5, specifically in for an AC check.


“Your AC system either works or it doesn’t. And most of us only pay attention to our AC system when we need it and it doesn’t work,” said Justin.


Under the hood of a pick-up truck, Justin is listening and watching. An older pickup is hooked up to diagnostic equipment to help Justin discover the source of a leak. The truck’s owner states that the AC was no longer making cold air. Based his preliminary examination, Justin has determined that there is a leak in the refrigerant line. Before recharging the refrigerant, the leak needs to be sealed up so that the problem doesn’t keep reoccurring.


“A vehicle’s whose AC isn’t blowing cold air isn’t the only sign that your AC is on the fritz,” said Justin. Other signs that your AC is failing include:


Weak air flow from vents;


Air starts cold but gets warm; and


Distinctly smelly air when the AC system is on.


If you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do to keep your AC in tip top shape BEFORE it stops making cold air – the answer is unfortunately, not really.


“I do recommend that you keep the system clean, though,” says Justin. “Especially the cabin air filter, as it will help your AC system function more efficiently.”


In most cases, today’s modern technology can make locating the source of the trouble pretty simple and repairs prompt. The most common problems that can cause your AC not to work include:


A refrigerant leak


Clogged tube or hose


Failed compressor or compressor clutch


Dead blower or motor resistor


Blown fuse


If you suspect that you have a leak in your AC, it’s best to have it confirmed and repaired by a professional, as letting the leak continue can allow unwanted things into the system and create further, more expensive damage. In most cases a refrigerant leak is a quick diagnosis and repair. Costs will vary, depending on the cause, e.g. a repairing a leak vs replacing a compressor.



While we waited, our Master Tech, Justin, found the source of the leak in the truck’s AC system. Next, he brings out the truck’s owner to show and explain the leak and what it takes to repair it. One mystery solved with at least five more AC’s to diagnose before the day is over. Justin also remind us that “VIP offers FREE AC checks, so it’s pretty easy to just stop by your local service location and find out what’s going on.


Where and When Can You Find Justin?

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday |  8 to 5

VIP Tires & Service
1238 Main Street
Sanford, ME 04072
(207) 324-1117

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