Air Conditioning in Your Car – What’s Important
Virtually all new cars are now equipped with air conditioning. Most people rely on this invaluable feature every day during the hot summer months of June through August. You simply cannot live without it in some parts of the country. Fortunately, there are generally very few, if any, problems that crop up with today’s modern air conditioning systems. That does not mean, however, that there are never problems or that there will never be a time when your automobile’s air condition system requires some sort of service.
There are, by far, two fairly common issues with automobile air conditioning systems that seem more prevalent than others. Sometimes, these air conditioning systems will blow no cold air (or very little) and at other times, it may blow too much cold air. Both of these malfunctions are annoying but neither means that you’ve necessarily experienced a catastrophic air conditioning system failure. However, each of these cases will require some diagnostics to be preformed to locate the source of the failure.
The air conditioning system in a car contains six major components. These components include the compressor, the condenser, the evaporator, the receiver drier, the expansion valve, and, of course, the refrigerant itself. Knowing how all of these pieces interact will allow you to better troubleshoot your air conditioning system when it experiences issues such as the ones mentioned above.
The compressor is quite possibly the most important component and it is probably also the most expensive. This part runs the entire air conditioning system and is driven by the belt that’s attached to the engine. As it runs, the compressor injects cold vapors from the refrigerant into the condenser, where the vapor is then converted to a liquid and then sent on to the receiver drier. The receiver drier acts as a holding cell for the liquid refrigerant and also removes extra moisture from the refrigerant.
Liquid refrigerant is then moved through the expansion valve where all of the pressure is removed. This is done to allow the refrigerant to turn back into a vapor before it goes into the evaporator. The evaporator vaporizes the refrigerant and absorbs all heat from the automobile’s passenger area. After the heat is removed, the air obviously remains cold and is blown with a fan.
If your car’s air conditioning system is blowing too much cold air, there is probably a blockage somewhere that is forcing more air than normal out of all vents upstream from the blockage. An air conditioning system that is not blowing enough cold air usually indicates a leak somewhere. Finding these defects quickly is critical to maintaining you car’s air conditioning system.
As you can see, the air conditioning system inside most cars is a very complex system of interconnected components. Because of this complexity, it can be quite costly to have it repaired. More often than not, it is easier and less expensive to repair a car’s air conditioning system at the first sign of trouble rather than procrastinating and allow a small problem to fester and cause larger problems later.