Your car’s air conditioning (A/C) system provides a means of cooling down the passenger compartment when the outside temperature increases. There is quite a bit of physics involved in the process, as the refrigerant (typically R-134a) changes from a gas to a liquid and back to a gas as it cycles through the system. We will keep our explanation of how the system works as simple as possible.
When you turn the A/C switch on, it engages the A/C compressor clutch which engages the A/C compressor. The compressor forces the refrigerant at high pressure through the condenser (in a gas state) and as it is cooled – both by the electric fan and airflow through the condenser fins from driving – it returns to a liquid state. The liquid refrigerant continues to flow through the accumulator (or receiver/drier in some systems) to remove any moisture before reaching the expansion valve (or orifice tube in some systems), where the pressure is reduced. The refrigerant then enters the evaporator (which is located inside the passenger compartment) at low pressure and it is at this point where the refrigerant is cold and the blower motor inside the car flows air across the evaporator which results in cold air entering the passenger compartment.
Here is an overview of how the automotive air conditioning system works:
As the refrigerant flows through the A/C system, there are multiple points of potential leakage and these include the connections between components and the components themselves. If the refrigerant leaks out, the pressure will drop and the low-pressure sensor will deactivate the system so it does not run without refrigerant as this could damage the A/C compressor. There is also a high-pressure sensor used to detect abnormally high pressures that could potentially cause a hose to burst or a system component to fail. In the event of higher than normal pressure, the switch will deactivate the system to avoid damage to the system.
In the event of an A/C compressor failure, the system will need to be completely flushed to ensure that any foreign matter is removed from the system. Additionally, the accumulator or receiver/drier must be replaced anytime there is a repair requiring the system to be opened because once it opens the atmosphere, it will absorb moisture from the atmosphere and no longer be able to absorb moisture from the A/C system.
It is recommended to have your A/C system inspected annually to ensure that it is running optimally as this can minimize unexpected failures of your A/C system.
Air Conditioning System Services We Perform:
- A/C System Service
- Air Conditioning Not Cooling Diagnosis
- Noisy A/C Diagnosis
- A/C Belt Replacement
- Refrigerant Leak Detection
- Refrigerant Recharge
- Replacement of A/C Compressor
- Replacement of A/C System Components (i.e. Condensor, Hoses, Switches, Accumulator, Evaporator, etc.)
Ready to Make An Appointment For Your A/C System Service?
At Kneble’s Auto Service Center we always want to make the process of getting your car serviced as convenient as possible. To ensure that we can get your car serviced in a timely manner, we ask that you make an appointment.
We are able to accommodate those who desire to wait for their A/C system service as we feature a comfortable waiting area complete with TV, complimentary refreshments, a library, desk, and a charging station. And yes, we even have free Wi-Fi!
In some cases, we may determine that the car needs to stay overnight either due to the time required for service or the unavailability of parts.
If you need service and have not made an appointment you can always feel free to call us at (609) 625-3286 to get on the schedule.
Please note that we offer a shuttle service within a 10 miles radius of the shop (Atlantic City, Mizpah, Estell Manor, Dorothy, Pleasantville, and surrounding areas).
Frequently Asked Questions About Air Conditioning Systems:
There are a wide variety of causes for your A/C system to not work. Some of the more common reasons include low refrigerant or a faulty pressure switch. The best course of action is to have one of our expert ASE Certified A/C Technicians assess your vehicle to make an accurate diagnosis.
Your car’s A/C system is a sealed system and should not need to be recharged unless there is a leak. We do recommend an annual inspection of your A/C system to proactively ensure that there are no potential problems with the system.
This could be caused by a loose drive belt or a seized A/C compressor pulley. A visual inspection of the vehicle by one of our ASE Certified A/C Technicians would help pinpoint the exact problem.