If your A/C system fails, it’s not only uncomfortable but can be dangerous if your passengers include children, the elderly or pets. In addition, a faulty system may be bad for the environment, as a refrigerant leak can be harmful to the earth’s ozone layer.
Auto Air Conditioning Design
Most contemporary vehicles feature A/C systems that are composed of four main components. These include:
1. Compressor. The compressor is the belt-driven pump connected to the engine. Known as the “heart” of the A/C system, it compresses and pumps the refrigerant to the evaporator. Without the compressor, the system cannot function.
2. Condenser. Heat is dissipated in the condenser. Similar in appearance to a radiator, only thinner, the condenser is usually located just in front of the radiator. The refrigerant enters the condenser, but as it’s cooled, it becomes a liquid. It’s vital that air flows smoothly whenever the A/C is running.
3. Evaporator. This “miniature radiator” performs many functions, the most important of which is removing heat. A secondary function of the evaporator is dehumidification. You can control the evaporator temperature by controlling the refrigerant pressure and flow into the evaporator.
4. Pressure-regulating devise or thermal expansion valve. Mounted on both the low and high sides of the A/C system, the two pressure-regulating devices are safety switches that monitor the refrigerant pressure. Low pressure poses a risk for compressor damage that can result from a low level of oil. High pressure can result in damage to the compressor as a consequence of overheating.
The thermal expansion valve, also known as a thermostatic A/C metering valve, turns the high-pressure gas into a low-pressure liquid refrigerant.
A number of problems can arise with any of your vehicle’s A/C system components that can affect the entire system. An electrical failure can allow acid to build up and damage any one of the system’s components. In addition, if there’s not enough oil lubricant in the system, problems can arise. Think of the lubricant as the “blood” of your vehicle’s A/C system.
Dirty coils filled with built-up dust and grime can cause the A/C to run continuously, resulting in increased pressure and causing the compressor to fail. Another cause of overheating and compressor failure is blocked or damaged refrigerant lines. Cracks or holes in the lines can also cause the system to leak refrigerant. The resulting low refrigerant level forces the compressor to work harder pumping refrigerant through the system, causing the compressor to ultimately break down. Another cause of compressor failure is adding too much or using the wrong type of refrigerant.
Symptoms of a faulty condenser include insufficient cooling and leaks in the system. Because of its location, the condenser can be damaged in a frontal collision or by debris that flies up off the road. A green-colored, oily residue in the area can be indicative of leaks in the condenser. In addition, leaves and other debris can clog the condenser fins and reduce the airflow, decreasing the efficiency of the entire system.
Most problems with evaporators involve leaks. Two main causes of evaporator leaks are broken seams and corrosion that results from moist debris. A failed evaporator must be replaced.
No matter which of your car’s A/C components is damaged, it’s imperative that you take it to a reputable automotive repair shop. Creech Import Repair is a 5-star-rated auto repair shop. We have been serving our satisfied customers for a quarter century. Let us at Creech inspect your car’s A/C system and make any necessary repairs to ensure the remainder of your summer cruises are enjoyably cool.