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The Impact of Altitude on Your Off-roading Vehicle’s AC System (and How to Deal With It)

Car air conditioner check service leak test and fill refrigerant.

At Barney Brothers Off Road and Repair, we are the go-to source for all things off-roading in Grand Junction, CO. As the premier full-service auto repair and off-roading customization center in Grand Junction, CO, we live and breath all things off-roading. But we don’t just perform off-roading and overlanding vehicle modifications, we are dedicated enthusiasts. So much so, we regularly host off-roading classes and events.

One often overlooked aspect of off-roading or overlanding is the impact high altitude has on your air conditioning. Let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of off-roading and high altitude air conditioning.

Does Altitude Impact the Performance of Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System?

Yes. Altitude can definitely impact your car’s air conditioning performance. As you increase altitude, the air thins out, which reduces the volume of air flowing over your condenser. The air conditioning condenser plays a vital role in the cooling process. But if your condenser doesn’t receive sufficient airflow, it will not deliver the cool air you want. At the same time, your condenser will work much harder to move refrigerant and deliver the same level of cooling. This can place extra strain on all air conditioning components and reduce the lifespan of the system.

How Does Altitude Impact the Air Conditioning Performance of Your Off-Roading Vehicle in Grand Junction, CO?

As we mentioned, your off-roading altitude can have a direct impact on the performance of your vehicle’s air conditioning performance.

Higher Altitudes Can Mean Reduced Cooling Efficiency

The higher you go, the less dense the air and air pressure will be. With reduced air density, less will flow over the condenser, which negatively impacts the cooling efficiency of the system.

Higher Altitude Causes Greater Strain on the Compressor

The compressor is the heart of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. It compresses the refrigerant to transform the vapor into a liquid, which enables the flow of cool air through the condenser. However, when you climb to higher altitudes, your compressor will have to work extra hard to deliver the same level of cool air.

Increased Likelihood of Air Conditioning Repair

The higher altitude causes most car AC components to work harder. And when anything works harder than normal, it leads to extra wear and tear, which increases the likelihood of air conditioning repair.

Reduced Air Conditioning Condenser Performance

Your AC condenser is a relatively small device that manages the condensing process. However, when you climb to higher altitudes, your condenser will not perform as efficiently.

Increased Likelihood of Overheating.

At higher altitudes, most AC components are under extra stress and duress. Unfortunately, this can cause your compressor to overheat. It can also cause other parts to overheat, especially during extended use.

How To Deal with High Altitude Air Conditioning Issues When Off-Roading in Grand Junction, CO?

As the driver of an off-roading vehicle, there are simple steps you can take to mitigate the phenomenon of high altitude air conditioning. For starters, you can drive your vehicle at lower speeds to reduce the overall strain on your air conditioning system. At the same time, you can avoid using your car air conditioner for extended periods of time, which can also reduce the strain. However, the most important step to mitigate the impacts of high altitude air conditioning issues is to have it regularly serviced by the off-roading pros at Barney Brothers Off Road and Repair.

Contact Barney Brothers Off Road and Repair to Remedy High Altitude Air Conditioning Problems

Whether you’re venturing through the Rockies or cruising through Grand Junction, CO, the key to protecting your vehicle is to have proactive preventative maintenance. And when it comes to the high altitude air conditioning problem, it’s the same. Make sure to have your vehicle’s air conditioning system regularly serviced and maintained at Barney Brothers Off Road and Repair. During AC service, our mechanic will inspect all components to ensure everything is in good working order. Most importantly, we will ensure your air conditioning system has sufficient refrigerant.

Call us today at 970-243-9300, stop by to see us at 2394 Hwy 6 & 50, Grand Junction, CO, or complete our online contact form.