What Should You Know about Car AC?

With the arrival of summer, there arises a need of something which you do only infrequently. It’s your car AC maintenance. You feel the urge of a properly working car AC when the temperature inside rises to 60-degree C and hence checking up your car AC becomes your priority. Improper car AC can give rise to a host of issues like low cooling, failed compressor, odor and several others.

Although it’s essential to perform a regular car AC maintenance, it’s a good idea to get full car AC recharge services every year to keep your car AC’s efficiency to its optimum level. While you can do this without knowing anything, knowing and understanding your car AC and what goes into its maintenance service can make you well-informed, leave you without any mental hitches and thus make you comfortable about getting just the right service.

driving in summer

What does a Car AC Do?

As you know any AC keeps the air in a space cool and comfortable. A car AC comprises of a compressor, which compresses the refrigerant. It works like a pump and pressurizes the refrigerant and passes it on to the evaporator. The drive-belt drives the compressor. It also powers the power steering, water pump etc. The refrigerant is a fluid that the coils of a car AC system contain and makes the entire cooling possible. Most commonly the refrigerant R134-a, or Tetrafluoroethane, is used in car ACs. Earlier the refrigerant named Freon was used in car ACs, but it proved to be harmful to the environment and hence it was replaced by Tetrafluoroethane. Next part of the car AC is condenser which is a mesh of coils that are arranged in a zigzag pattern to remove heat easily from the compressed gas. It cools the refrigerant by changing it from gas to liquid. An evaporator is opposite of a condenser, i.e., it turns the liquid refrigerant back to gaseous state and at the same time dissipates the heat and further cools it down. The evaporator is positioned inside the car, typically behind the dashboard. The expansion valve works in tandem with the evaporator, by controlling the refrigerant’s pressure through the AC system. Then there is a dryer which contains a desiccant which pulls away moisture that can leak into the AC system and the cabin.

You can turn on the blower, press the AC button and your cabin becomes cool and comfortable. But there is more to it than that. When you switch the AC on, the compressor uses some power from the engine and kicks in. then it compresses the refrigerant in the AC system liquifying it.

car a/c recharge services

When you take your car to one of the car AC recharge services, firstly the technician checks the cabin temperature while operating the AC. It should ideally be around 5- to 10-degree C. further they would check the level of refrigerant in the system. If the refrigerant level goes down, it affects the AC’s ability to cool. Actually, this is one of the main reasons why a car AC isn’t cooling a car properly. In that case, they use a pressure gauge and a precision AC gas recharging machine and flush the refrigerant out and tops it up to the ideal level.

Technician also checks if there is any possible leak or crack in the AC line and hoses. For this, they may use a UV dye to spot a possible leak.

Then they’d turn to the compressor, the priciest component of a car AC system. It’s a component from where everything gets the power. If the compressor stops working, the entire AC system will fail. The best way to keep your compressor in top condition is to get it checked out and serviced every year. Also, make sure they replace the compressor oil.

car AC

Next, they would check the condenser which resides in front of the engine and may be bent/damaged or clogged due to debris, leaves and dust build-up and can reduce the AC’s cooling ability. In that case, the technician will wash the condenser with mild water pressure, so as not to bend the fins.

Knowing what’s wrong with your car AC would make you informed regarding what action the technician should take and whether the problem is really repaired and thus get the best service.

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