How to Check Your Car Air Conditioning

By John Wright

Automotive Air Conditioning is built to remove unwelcome 'heat ' from within, dehumidify the cabin atmosphere and supply cool air for the comfort of the occupants.

Each air-conditioning system works by taking the heat from the cabin air to heat and vaporize the refrigerant liquid like Freon. The liquid is pressurised by the compressor and even though it takes the heat from the air it vaporizes in the expansion valve and the 'hot ' gas is circulated through a sequence of tubes to disperse the heat and in the process the Freon gets cold.

By this point it is clear that the most vital component, in the rather complicated 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 thru metal tubes to the dash area in your vehicle to the 'evaporator zone'.

This where the heat needs to be removed from and has an 'evaporator core ' resembling a tiny radiator with thin tubes and metal fins, the one and only difference being there isn't any 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 thru the evaporator grills and into your cabin. Freon soaks up the heat from the cabin with the aid 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 aluminum and Freon is forced thru fine slits while the electrical cooling fan mounted in front or behind the condenser removes the heat. The cycle is repeated steadily so the atmosphere in the cabin remains cool.

After having been familiarized with how your car air conditioner works and what its major components are, it will be interesting to see what all possibly could go wrong and how to remedy them. Some of the most typical of such issues include:

- Low or total lack of air circulation across the condenser- this could be due to Problems with the electric cooling fan. Check to determine if this is turning (in models with fan blades perceivable) or if not sure you must call your mechanic
- Low Freon level - this is going to be doubted if the cooling efficiency is low i.e, even with the auto AC entirely ON there's very tiny cooling within. This issue could only be attended by a certified AC mechanic.
- AC is working in full , but cooling is poor and engine is overheating "this happens in models where there aren't any separate fans for condenser and radiator, which shares a typical huge fan or engine is overheating due to other Problems and cuts down the condenser potency. In either case reach for the telephone and call your garage, before you have got more serious problems with your car.
- If the air conditioner does not begin at all check and confirm that there is blown fuse or the switch isn't disconnected while cleaning for example. Electric connections can be often the culprit, which can on occasion be found out with a little experience.
- If your car requires a complete change or replacement of major elements like compressor, get it from the OEM and check that 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 renowned for its adverse effect on the environment due to 'ozone layer depletion'. In addition, the substance is responsible to cause injury to your skin and eyes if you try and meddle with the automobile aircon system and accidentally lets it leak. In short automobile air conditioners have very little 'user serviceable ' parts or elements and require the assistance of a certified and licensed engineer.

Whenever low Freon level is suspected or low cooling is felt in spite of everything else seemingly fine, do not refrain from looking for pro help from qualified personnel. It may be opportune to say here that old models of autos using R12 as the refrigerant has only up to 2013 to restore the banned substance.

No new vehicles are permitted to use R12, but has to switch to R134A or similar environment friendly refrigerants as per the Montreal Custom and directives by the EPA. Some car makers have already started marketing retro-fit kits and if or when your car desires servicing or fixing of AC, check if you are still using R12 or any other illegal substance and change over to approved refrigerants A.S.A.P.

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6 Responses to "How to Check Your Car Air Conditioning"

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