Looking After Car Air Conditioning is Easy

by John Wright

Air Conditioners, including that fitted in your vehicles, are built to remove unwanted 'heat ' from within, dehumidify the cabin atmosphere and supply cool air for the comfort of the occupants. Each automotive air conditioning system works by taking the heat from the cabin air to heat and vaporize the refrigerant liquid like Freon.

The liquid is pressurized by the compressor and even though it takes the heat from the air it vaporizes in the enlargement valve and the 'hot ' gas is circulated thru a sequence of tubes to diffuse the heat and in the midst the Freon gets cold. By this point it is clear that the most important part, in the rather complex layout verbally described above, is the compressor which is the same as the heart in your body and the Freon is like blood. At first cold Freon is passed through metal tubing to the dash area in your vehicle to the 'evaporator zone'.

This where the heat should be removed from and has an 'evaporator core ' resembling a tiny radiator with thin tubes and metal fins, the sole difference being there's no coolant or anti-freeze and this is cold unlike the radiator which is always hot. A small fan or blower, which is controlled for its speed and volume of air delivery from your cabin, fitted behind the evaporator blows the air through the evaporator griddles and into your cabin. Freon soaks up the heat from the cabin with the help of the 'condenser ' fitted in the front next to the radiator.

Freon circulating back from the cabin carries the heat thru rubber and metal tubes and the condenser has coils of aluminium and Freon is forced through fine slits while the electric cooling fan mounted in front or behind the condenser takes away the heat. The cycle is repeated steadily so the atmosphere in the cabin remains cool.

After having been familiarized with how your automobile air conditioner works and what its major components are, it will be fascinating to see what all potentially could go bad and the way to cure them. Some of the most common of such Problems include:

- Low or total lack of air circulation across the condenser- this is going to be due to issues with the electrical cooling fan. Check to confirm if this is turning (in models with fan blades visible) or if undecided you have to call your engineer
- Low Freon level - this could be doubted if the cooling potency is low i.e, even with the automobile AC fully ON there is very tiny cooling inside. That issue could only be attended by a certified AC technician.
- AC is working in full , but cooling is poor and engine is overheating "this occurs in models where there aren't any separate fans for condenser and radiator, which shares a common large fan or engine is overheating due to other Problems and cuts down the condenser potency. In both cases reach for the telephone and call your garage, before you have more heavy problems with your vehicle.
- If the air conditioner doesn't start at all check and confirm that there's blown fuse or the switch is not disconnected while cleaning and so on. Electrical connections can be frequently the offender, which can sometimes be found out with a little experience.
- If your automobile requires a complete change or replacing of major components like compressor, get it from the OEM and check the refrigerant is the right one. (R12 is being PHASED OUT)

It should be borne under consideration that the refrigerant which in older models is R-12, substance known for its detrimental impact on the environment due to 'ozone layer depletion'. In addition, the substance is liable to cause injury to your skin and eyes if you try to mess with the automobile air conditioning system and accidentally lets it leak. In short vehicle air conditioners have very little 'user serviceable ' parts or components and require the help of a qualified and licensed mechanic.

Whenever low Freon level is suspected or low cooling is felt despite everything else seemingly fine, do not refrain from seeking professional help from qualified staff. It could be opportune to say here that old models of cars using R12 as the refrigerant has only up to 2013 to restore the banned substance.

No new vehicles are allowed to use R12, but has to change to R134A or similar environment friendly refrigerants as laid out in the Montreal Protocol and directives by the EPA. Some vehicle makers have already started promoting retro-fit kits and when your car desires servicing or repair of AC, check if you are still using R12 or any other illegal substance and change over to authorised refrigerants Asap.

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