Most people take their car’s air conditioning system for granted; it is one of those things that doesn’t mean a whole lot until it’s gone, and if you have ever tried to make it through the summer with no air conditioner in your vehicle, you probably appreciate it a lot more.
Air conditioners are what make it possible for us to live and work in high temperature areas and during the summer months. Your a/c system probably seems very complicated, so we are going to break it down so that if and when something goes wrong with the a/c in your car, even if you don’t know how to fix it yourself, you will at least understand well enough to know whether your repairman is taking you for a ride.
Your car’s air conditioner has 3 main parts. They are: the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. There are also a number of sensors and refrigeration lines scattered throughout the system.
1. AC Compressor
Your compressor is the main functioning part of your a/c; it runs with the help of an engine belt and clutch that turns it on and off, depending on whether there is a need for more cool air. Your compressor pressurizes the refrigerant in your system which enables it to cool the air.
2. AC Condenser
Your condenser looks like a smaller version of your car’s radiator and is in fact often located near your car’s radiator. Hot, compressed air passes through your condenser and becomes a liquid as it cools down.
3. AC Evaporator
The evaporator has the exact opposite job of the condenser. As cool liquid from the condenser passes through the tubes of the evaporator, it instantly cools the air that it comes in contact with (air from either outside or inside your car, depending on which setting you have it on). The cooled air is then blown into your car.
Obviously there are certain other complicated aspects to your car’s a/c system, but this is the gist of it. Next time something goes wrong with your car’s ac system, you should at least be able to locate its three main parts and isolate where the problem is coming from. If you can do that, you may even be able to fix it without the help of a professional.
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