Closeup of hand adjusting the air conditioner button in the car

Understand your car’s air conditioning system

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A car’s air conditioning system is one of those things that many people ignore until they actually need it.
It is a big function of the car, even as it affects some people, many of whom have allergies which don’t allow them to use an AC.
Here, we shall seek to understand, in a layman’s understanding, how the AC works.

The refrigerant

It is a feature that is created for the car industry, also known as the Freon. It was first launched in the late 1980’s.
The AC is composed of a compressor, which pumps a gas and liquid-like substance called the Freon through the system. The Freon is compressed and pushed through the system after which it is released through the expansion valve.

The gas is then released as cold vapor or air through different metal lines, some of which are cut out in the dashboard or other such spaces. The air is then blown out by a small fan that sits inside the car.
The AC operates like a small refrigeration system and just like any other refrigeration system it generates a certain degree of cold but with controlled degrees.

When the AC system fails

The AC is a sensitive component of the car and it will, at times, suffer low efficiency or no cooling at all.  This might be a result of a failure of the condenser, which helps to cool and direct airflow.
This can be mitigated by ensuring that the motor or the blades are sufficiently moving and blowing air as required. However, the AC might also fail because of low levels of Freon, which cuts back on internal pressure, a crucial part of the air cooling process.
As indicated earlier, the AC is a sensitive element, therefore, it needs regular servicing. However, it is also important that you avoid topping Freon without expert opinion as it will cause damages that might turn out expensive.

When the AC heats

If the engine is running, it is only natural there is a certain degree up to which the air within the car will heat. Therefore, the heat will have a noticeable effect on the air conditioning system. Some cars are fixed with two electric cooling fans, one which is for condensing the air that comes through the AC and the other for cooling the radiator.
The AC works much hard and faster when the car is moving than when it is idling due to the fact that it has to produce much air for the heat being generated by the moving of some parts of the car.

In such cases, there will be a dramatic increase in airflow across the condenser, which allows the engine to operate at a more efficient temperature. The AC then operates more efficiently at a relatively high speed, due to the added airflow that is pumped through the condenser. Periodic air conditioning performance checks by a mechanic are advised to keep it in shape.

Why your air conditioner might fail

After air has been created, it is forced out through different passageways. However, in some instances, the air will fail to come through because of the following.

Faulty fan

The fan is electronically-controlled to blow air into the passenger compartment. The motor that runs the fans can fail, which might be attributed to the failure of the motor or the system controlling it.

Failing cable operation

The cable controls a network that is composed of a lever or knob, a cable, and a cable controlled flap.  Therefore, if any of these fail, they will disrupt the movement or generation of air.

Vacuum Operation

The AC uses a vacuum motor to control the movement of door or flap. However, the operation of the vacuum motor might fail which will automatically result in the proper functioning of the AC.


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