If you live in a part of the country that gets a respite from tropical heat and humidity during the "off" season, you may be used to driving around town with the windows rolled all the way down. You may enjoy the fresh air as an alternative to the A/C and are perfectly happy to give the system a rest at this time. However, summer heat is approaching once again and you will have to revert to artificial means in order to survive behind the wheel. So, why do you need to make sure that your system is ready for the challenge, even though it may have had a lengthy rest?
In the summer months, you will undoubtedly use the air conditioning system in your car a great deal. In other words, you'll take it for granted and expect it to perform as it should, to keep you cool during your daily commute. Generally speaking, it will do just that, but as time goes by it will become gradually less efficient the more that you use it. This is because the refrigerant gas is only designed to last a certain amount of time and you should take the vehicle in to be refreshed at least once each year.
When you do so, the technician will "re-gas" the system by extracting the old solution and replacing it. They will also have a good look at the configuration to make sure that none of the internal pipes and connectors are cracked or corroded, as this could allow some of the gas to escape and could lead to system failure. To do this, the technician will perform a vacuum test, which will highlight any irregularities in the system.
It's technically possible for you to "re-gas" your own vehicle, but it does require a certain amount of skill, as well as special tools and components. Don't forget that if you get it wrong this could lead to system failure and you could find yourself stranded while you wait for somebody who knows what they're doing to take a look.
If it is time for you to take your vehicle in for a regular service, ask them to schedule a re-gas for your vehicle as well. It's not always included in a typical service visit, but you'll certainly want to make sure that you are ready for the long, hot summer ahead.