How to test A/C in cold weather.
January 31, 2009 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Buying a used car in the winter, how can i test to see if the A/C works?

I want to be sure the A/C works on a used car before I buy it, but it is only 15 outside right now. What can i do?
posted by unreasonable to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A mechanic is your best bet. They can hook your car up a machine to test and see if there's refrigerant in the system, among other things.
posted by nitsuj at 6:29 AM on January 31, 2009

Take the car to a heated garage.
posted by notreally at 7:16 AM on January 31, 2009

Definitely take the car for a mechanic inspection.

However, it is very easy to test A/C in the winter:

1. sit in the car with a friend or two for 5 minutes
2. note that the windows are all fogged up
3. Turn on the heat AND the A/C
4. If the fog goes away, the A/C works
posted by b1tr0t at 7:49 AM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

b1tr0t nails it. Indeed, in modern cars, the A/C is part of the defroster (the idea being to blow *dry* air onto the windows to remove the fog, and A/C units dehumidify as well as cool air.)
posted by eriko at 8:52 AM on January 31, 2009

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