How does your Car’s Air Conditioning Work?

Your car’s air conditioning system keeps you cool during the long summer drives and prevents you from getting too sweaty. But how does it work, even in the middle of a heatwave? How does it cool down the air in a burning hot car? Keep reading to find out more about your car’s air conditioning system and how to maintain it.

How does your Car’s Air Conditioning Work?

We may not know exactly how it works, but we are happy to use our car’s air conditioning to cool down in the summer and eliminate condensation in the winter. But how does it cool down hot air from outside in the middle of a heatwave? Air conditioning actually uses the physical principle of gas compression and decompression.

When gas is compressed, its temperature rises. But when it is decompressed, its temperature decreases significantly. This phenomenon allows the air conditioner to produce cold air. However, if the gas is simply compressed and decompressed we will end up with lukewarm air, not cold… which is far from sufficient in the summer. It is therefore necessary to first cool down the compressed liquid by passing it through a cooling radiator.

What are the mandatory steps in the air conditioning system? First of all, the system is composed of two different parts: a high-pressure system and a low-pressure system.

  • The air first arrives in the compressor, where it is compressed using energy from the car’s motor. Its temperature increases.
  • The compressed gas then arrives in the condenser to be cooled down. This is where it is liquefied under pressure.
  • The cooled liquid then goes through the dehydrator, which removes any water and filters impurities in order to preserve the air conditioning system.
  • When the liquefied gas arrives in the pressure reducer, it reduces the pressure and decompresses the gas. This process cools down the gas even further and makes it cold! We are now in the low pressure system (less than 5 bars).
  • Now that the gas is cold, it will be able to cool down the air from outside. To do so, it passes through the evaporator, which resembles a radiator.
  • The evaporator filters the air coming in to eliminate dust and humidity, and then evacuates it in the form of water under the vehicle.
  • After cooling down the air coming in, the gas returns to the compressor.

A/C Car

Why isn’t my Air Conditioning Working?

Now that we know how air conditioning works, it is easier to understand why it isn’t working, or working poorly.

If your car’s air conditioning system isn’t working, you may need to change the Freon gas. Since the air conditioning system is closed, the gas isn’t supposed to escape. But if the quantity of gas decreases, the air conditioning will be less effective. Be careful; it is not recommended that you recharge the gas yourself, as you must be able to measure the mass of the gas while checking the pressure (high and low) of the system. The system could also be low on cooling liquids. If you have any doubts, make an appointment at your local Centre Auto Point S.

It is also possible that the dehydrator is damaged because of dust, the compressor isn’t working properly (which could cause overheating), the radiator fan has stopped working, or a thermal expansion valve is blocked.

In case of doubt, make an appointment at the Centre Auto Point S closest to you. Our experts will be able to thoroughly inspect your air conditioning system in order to target the problem and fix it.

How to Maintain your Air Conditioning System

Yes, it is entirely possible to maintain your air conditioning system to avoid having to get it repaired too often. Contrary to what we could think, it is recommended to turn it on regularly, even in the winter. This allows us to work all the elements in the system and ensure that everything is functioning properly. Keep an eye on your gas level: if it decreases suddenly, it could indicate a toxic gas leak.

Keep your filters in good condition: the dehydrating filter that filters impurities in the system as well the filter inside the vehicle which ensures cleaner air for your lungs.

It may not be the most essential part of your vehicle, but an air conditioning system in good condition changes everything! If you aren’t sure that your system is working properly, make an appointment at your local Centre Auto Point S. And don’t forget to have your air conditioning system inspected before leaving for your summer holidays!

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