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Your truck works hard in the heat of an Idaho summer, but with proper maintenance of its air conditioning system, you don't have to swelter. The cab of your truck should be an oasis of cool comfort even on hot days, but if it isn't, the fix may be easier than you think.


A truck's air conditioning system works on the same principle as the central air or window unit in your home. It's the same principle that makes your refrigerator work too. The AC transfers heat from inside an enclosed space to the outside air via coolant that flows in a closed loop. Although it has the same name, this coolant isn't related to the fluid that keeps your engine from overheating. As the coolant expands into a gas, it rapidly cools, chilling the evaporator coil array. Fans send the cold air into your truck's cab. The compressor then forces the gas back into liquid form so the cycle can begin again.


If your system is topped off with coolant and its coils are clean, the AC transfers heat efficiently, drawing less power from your engine. Whether your truck has a GMC/Chevy Duramax, a Dodge Cummins or a Ford Powerstroke engine, you want as much of its power as possible to go to hauling and towing, not cooling. An efficient air conditioner is also a less expensive air conditioner, so having your local diesel engine repair shop maintain your vehicle's AC system makes financial sense too.


On a hot day, it takes your AC some time to cool your truck, but the air from the vents should be noticeably chilly within a few minutes of operation. If your trucks' air conditioner isn't cool enough, you could have a coolant leak. If you don't detect much air flow even when the system's fan is on high, a malfunctioning blower could be the problem. The cause could be something as simple as dirt or dust on the coils limiting heat transfer.


In newer models, the air conditioner may not be the problem; you could have a faulty sensor or a problem with the computer that controls sophisticated systems with climate zones. In the case of a physical repair, your local diesel engine repair shop can diagnose the air conditioner's system and usually repair it that day with factory-made diesel engine parts. Running diagnostics on the software could take more time, but being able to drive in cool comfort makes it worth the effort to get at the root of your diesel truck's AC problem. It may not be as integral to your truck's function as its diesel fuel injection pump or common rail injectors, but your AC is vital to the most important equipment in your truck: its driver.


Gem State Diesel offers full diagnostic and repair service for Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Idaho, truck owners. If your air conditioner isn't doing what it's designed to do, take it to a specialist. Please visit