The air conditioning unit in your vehicle operates similarly to a refrigerator. Your vehicle’s air conditioning unit is designed to move heat from the inside of your car to outside of it.
Your vehicle’s air conditioning unit has six major components:
- The refrigerant in the a/c system of your vehicle carries heat and oil for lubricating the compressor and expansion valve in an a/c system. There are 3 types of refrigerant that have been used in vehicles YF1234, R-134a and R-12 freon.
- The compressor circulates and compresses refrigerant within the vehicle’s air conditioning system.
- Your vehicle’s condenser expels heat from the refrigerant by condensing the gas back into a liquid therefore, lowering the temperature of the refrigerant making it ready to absorb heat from the cabin again.
- Vehicles are either equipped with an expansion valve or an orifice tube. They act as a restriction, there by dropping the pressure of the refrigerant and metering it’s flow. The orifice tube restriction is fixed to one size and is specific to the vehicle in which it is installed. The expansion valve restriction is variable there by increasing the efficiency of smaller a/c systems in today’s newer vehicles.
- Your vehicle’s evaporator absorbs heat to the refrigerant from the air blown across it. It takes the heat away and turns the liquid refrigerant into a gas.
- The receiver dryer or accumulator contains a desiccant bag to remove small amount of moisture from the refrigerant.
When you start your vehicle’s air conditioning system, the compressor works by putting the refrigerant under pressure, sending it to the condenser coils, which are generally in front of your vehicle’s radiator. The condenser expels heat from the refrigerant to the outside of the vehicle. When this happens, the refrigerant is cooled and it changes from a gas to a liquid, which then passes through the expansion valve to the evaporator.
Once the evaporator receives the liquid-state refrigerant, this low pressure liquid gets heated by cabin air and evaporates into a gaseous state by the absorption of the cabin heat. Therefore, the air left behind is cooler to be circulated by your vehicle’s blower motor and venting system. If you keep your air conditioning unit turned on, the refrigerant goes through this cycle continuously.
If any of these components are damaged, it can turn your cool car into a furnace during the summer months. We strongly recommend NEVER TO USE a do it yourself a/c charge kit to try to recharge your air conditioning system yourself. These products contain sealants that can damage the components in the system and damage professional refrigerant reclaiming equipment. When your air conditioning in your vehicle is not working as it should, bring your vehicle to All About Automotive One of our trained and certified refrigerant handling technicians will examine your entire a/c system for proper operation.