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.
Every aircon system works by taking the heat from the cabin air to heat and disperse the refrigerant liquid like Freon. The liquid is pressurized by the compressor and although it takes the heat from the air it vaporises in the growth valve and the ‘hot ‘ gas is circulated thru a series of tubes to dissipate the heat and in the midst the Freon gets cold.
By this time it is clear that the most important element, in the rather complex layout verbally noted above, is the compressor which is like the heart in your body and the Freon is like blood. Initially cold Freon is passed through metal tubing to the dash area in your car to the ‘evaporator zone’.
This where the heat must be removed from and has an ‘evaporator core ‘ looking a little like a small radiator with thin tubes and metal fins, the single difference being there is no coolant or anti-freeze and this is cold not like 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 through 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 continuously so that the atmosphere in the cabin remains cool.
After having been familiarized with how your vehicle air conditioner works and what its major elements are, it’ll be fascinating to see what all presumably could go screwy and how to remedy them. Some of the commonest of such issues include:
– Low or total absence of air movement across the condenser- this may be due to Problems with the electric cooling fan. Check to see if this is turning (in models with fan blades visible) or if undecided you need to call your technician
– Low Freon level – this could be doubted if the cooling efficiency is low i.e, even with the car AC totally ON there’s very little cooling within. That issue could only be attended by a licensed AC engineer.
– AC is working totally 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 standard large fan or engine is overheating due to other Problems and cuts down the condenser potency. In all cases reach for the telephone and call your garage, before you have more major issues with your vehicle.
– 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 and so on. Electric connections can be regularly the guilty party, which can on occasion be found out with a little experience.
– If your vehicle requires a complete change or replacement of major components like compressor, get it from the OEM and check that the refrigerant is the proper 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 allegedly fine, do not refrain from looking for pro help from qualified personnel. It may be opportune to say here that old models of cars using R12 as the refrigerant has only up to 2013 to replenish the banned substance.
No new autos are able to use R12, but has to switch to R134A or similar environment safe refrigerants as laid out in the Montreal Custom and directives by the EPA. Some auto makers have just started selling retro-fit kits and if your auto needs servicing or repair of AC, check if you are still using R12 or any other illegal substance and change over to authorized refrigerants Asap.
John Wright is recognized as a globally published writer, voicing his thoughts and opinions on a distinctive selection of subjects, covering anything from Automotive Air Conditioning to politics, religion to BMW tyres. His insightful work is released on websites around the globe.