Air Conditioning System
The sole purpose of the AC system is to keep the vehicle passengers
cool. While it depends on the engine cooling system to help eliminate
or pull heat from in-side the passenger compartment, it is a
completely separate system from the engine cooling system.
Instead of coolant or antifreeze, the AC system uses and circulates
refrigerant (sometimes called Freon) through the system.
The AC compressor pumps refrigerant through hoses and lines. The
refrigerant enters a unit under the dashboard called an evaporator.
The blower fan under the dash circulates hot air from inside the
passenger compartment, through the evaporator. The refrigerant in the
evaporator absorbs this heat and that heated refrigerant is pumped (by
the compressor) to a unit called the condenser located at the front of
the car in front of the engine cooling system radiator.
Just like the engine cooling system radiator, the AC condenser
transfers this heat to the air.
Then the “cooled” refrigerant is circulated back to-ward the passenger
compartment where it passes through a filter/drier (sometimes called
an accumulator) and a metering valve (called an orifice tube or
expansion valve) and returns to the evaporator where the whole cycle
starts all over again.
If the engine cooling system is not working properly it can seriously
impede the operation of the AC system (even to the point of destroying
the AC system).
Air Conditioning Maintenance
Most car owners don’t service
their air conditioning until after it fails. Maintaining your car or
truck air conditioning system means that you always have enough
refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the air
conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system
can’t cool the air as well.
Along with the refrigerant, a special oil circulates in the system.
The oil lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals
resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air
conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and we all know that
air conditioning repairs can be costly in and around the
conditioning service at our shop starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of
damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine,
most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or
The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for
proper operation by our Service Center Technician. Then
comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or
connection, it’s repaired and the system is retested. Our Service Center Technician will also perform a temperature drop
Air Conditioning Service/Repair
vehicle a/c systems can lose 5% of their refrigerant per year
causing the system to become inefficient. Another thing to remember
is the a/c system is used all year long, every time the defroster is
used the a/c system is activated to assist in removing the moisture
from inside the vehicle which can defog windows much faster than non
a/c equipped vehicles. It is recommended that modern a/c systems be
tested annually to assure peak performance. Schedule an appointment
with one of our factory trained professionals and let us make sure
you’re a/c system is running efficiently. We have the latest
equipment available to diagnose the computerized components, as well
as to service all the different systems including the newer systems
on hybrid and electric vehicles. Below is a brief explanation of the
major components that make these a/c systems work so well:
The compressor is a belt-driven device that compresses refrigerant
gas and transfers it into the condenser. The compressor is the core
of your vehicle's air conditioning system.
The condenser's primary function is to cool the refrigerator. The
condenser dissipates heat released by compressed gases and condenses
them into high pressure liquids.
The receiver is a metal container that serves as a storage
receptacle for the refrigerant; also known as a drier because it
absorbs moisture from the refrigerant and filters out harmful debris
and acids. You should change your drier every 3-4 years to ensure
quality filtration and prevent any chemical damage.
Orifice Tube/Expansion Valve:
The orifice tube (also known as the expansion valve) is a
controlling mechanism that regulates refrigerant flow throughout the
system. It also converts high pressure liquid refrigerant (from the
condenser) into low pressure liquid, so that it can enter the
The evaporator removes heat from the inside of your vehicle. The
evaporator allows the refrigerant to absorb heat, causing it to boil
and change into a vapor. When this occurs, the vapor leaves the
evaporator through the compressor, cooling your car and reducing
humidity. The evaporator houses the most refrigerant in the heat
transfer process and harmful acids can corrode it. This corrosion
typically damages the evaporator beyond repair.