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AUTOMOBILE AIR CONDITIONING

Your Vehicle Air Conditioning -The compressor is the power unit of the A/C system. It is powered by a drive belt connected to the engine's crankshaft. When the A/C system is turned on, the compressor pumps out refrigerant vapor under high pressure and high heat to the condenser. -The condenser is a device used to change the high-pressure refrigerant vapor to a liquid. It is mounted ahead of the engine's radiator, and it looks very similar to a radiator with its parallel tubing and tiny cooling fins. If you look through the grille of a car and see what you think is a radiator, it is most likely the condenser. As the car moves, air flowing through the condenser removes heat from the refrigerant, changing it to a liquid state. -Refrigerant moves to the receiver-drier. This is the storage tank for the liquid refrigerant. It also removes moisture from the refrigerant. Moisture in the system can freeze and then act similarly to cholesterol in the human blood stream, causing blockage. -As the compressor continues to pressurize the system, liquid refrigerant under high pressure is circulated from the receiver-drier to the thermostatic expansion valve. The valve removes pressure from the liquid refrigerant so that it can expand and become refrigerant vapor in the evaporator. -The evaporator is very similar to the condenser. It consists of tubes and fins and is usually mounted inside the passenger compartment. As the cold low-pressure refrigerant is released into the evaporator, it vaporizes and absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment. As the heat is absorbed, cool air will be available for the occupants of the vehicle. A blower fan inside the passenger compartment helps to distribute the cooler air. -The heat-laden, low-pressure refrigerant vapor is then drawn into the compressor to start another refrigeration cycle. If your A/C does hiccup, below are a few troubleshooting tips: No Cool Air

  • Loose or broken drive belt

  • Inoperative compressor or slipping compressor clutch

  • Defective expansion valve

  • Clogged expansion valve, receiver-drier or liquid refrigerant line

  • Blown fuse

  • Leaking component: any of the parts listed above or one of the A/C lines, hoses or seals

Little Cool Air

  • Low refrigerant charge

  • Loose drive belt

  • Slipping compressor clutch

  • Clogged condenser

  • Clogged evaporator

  • Slow leak in system

  • Partially clogged filter or expansion valve

Make sure to have the system checked regularly according to your vehicle's owner's manual. If you happen to live in a cold climate, it might not make much sense to run the A/C during the winter months, but you should run your A/C system regularly, because it contains a special mineral oil in the refrigerant to keep the compressor properly lubricated. Turn it on one a month for about 5-10 minutes. Some heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems also engage the A/C compressor for defrost mode. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.




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