How Your Car AC System Works

AC is not workingWhen it’s hot out, you simply press a button or two and the magic of car AC gives you a comfortable ride. But do you know how your car AC system works? While you can remain blissfully unaware, and leave the upkeep and repairs to our automotive technicians at Dakota Ridge Auto in Littleton, it’s a pretty neat system to learn about. Let’s take a look.

Your car’s compressor pumps freon through the air conditioning system. When your air conditioning is in good working order, it will not usually run out of freon. The compressor compresses the gas and pushes it into the car’s condenser, which causes the gas to turn into a liquid. It is pushed through a drier keeping the liquid dry, then it goes to an expansion valve.

The expansion valve pushes the liquid through a small opening and creates small droplets of refrigerant which gets pushed back through the evaporator. In the evaporator, the liquid refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas. The low-pressure gas is sucked into the compressor and the process is repeated, using the same gas.

In order for this system to work, it must be clean and have the right amount of freon in it. It’s best to let a professional fix your air conditioning because dirt and debris in your air conditioning system will create all kinds of issues. It’s also important to put the right amount of freon in the air conditioning system. Too much or too little can prevent it from cooling and even be dangerous.

From time to time, mechanical or electrical components in the system will break or wear out. This includes electric motors, condensers, belts, evaporator coils, compressors, and pulleys. Depending on the part, it will need to either be repaired or replaced.

For example, if it’s a broken evaporator coil, we’ll go ahead and replace it. They aren’t worth repairing. A compressor clutch can sometimes be repaired, but most of the time you will need to replace it so that it doesn’t continue giving you problems.

As you might know, belts and pulleys in any car often wear out after time. Replacing them isn’t a quick fix and requires a professional with the right tools. This is especially true with the AC pulley. At Dakota Ridge Auto, we can replace belts and pulleys quickly because we have the right tools and know exactly how your car AC system works.

If it’s not a worn out part, belt or pulley, the issue might be a leak. Our certified technicians will use a harmless dye to find it. Once the leak is repaired, we utilize an air conditioning machine that vacuums out all of the old refrigerant, air conditioning oil and dye. We’ll then properly refill the necessary fluids.

If you drive your car where your winters are cold, like right here in Colorado, remember to occasionally turn on the air conditioning. About once a month should be enough. Turning it on helps the oil in your air conditioner system to circulate and lubricate the seals. This can help prevent leaks.

As you can see, just refilling the freon doesn’t always solve the problem. Most of the time when your air conditioning stops working, it is something bigger than just topping off fluid.

While it can be interesting to learn how your car AC system works, there’s no need to worry about taking on the repairs or part replacements yourself. Our automotive technicians at Dakota Ridge Auto in Littleton know the system inside and out, and we’ll make sure that you’re enjoying cool clean air even if it hits triple digits outside. Call or come by the shop if you ever need help.

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