Do you know what’s one of the worst nightmares of every car owner? Going on a trip with a broken AC! That’s right. Imagine going on a long drive under the scorching heat of the sun! But what can you do to fix your AC system problems without breaking the bank? This article will walk you through everything you need to know about your car air conditioning system, its common problems, and how to fix them. Before anything else, let’s dive deep into the essential components of your air conditioning system.
Air Conditioning System 101
Your car’s air conditioning system is composed of 5 main elements, which include:
The primary function of the compressor is to pressurize the refrigerant, a gaseous cooling substance, to cool the air. It is also temperature sensitive. It can detect temperature changes inside and outside of your car while controlling the temperature output.
The condenser reduces the temperature and pressure of hot gasses from the refrigerant by receiving air from the compressor. It is located at the front of the radiator.
Receiver or Dryer
The receiver or dryer separates gas from the liquid. It is also responsible for taking away moisture. It also has built-in filters that protect the air conditioning system from contaminants.
Thermal Expansion Valve
The thermal expansion valve monitors the pressure and temperature of your AC system and calibrates the amount of refrigerant that can go safely into the evaporator for cooling. It is located between the condenser and the evaporator.
Lastly, the evaporator, located behind your dashboard, is responsible for cooling the air with the refrigerant before it is blown into your vehicle’s cabin.
How does the car’s AC system work?
The air conditioning system uses a belt that enables the air conditioning compressor to compress the refrigerant and pump it throughout the system. The refrigerant is subsequently pressed through a valve to reduce pressure and temperature. It moves through the evaporator delivering cool, dry air to the passenger compartment.
Signs That Your AC System Needs To Be Checked
Your car may not be cooling because of a low refrigerant level, a broken condenser, a cracked or damaged compressor belt, a defective clutch, malfunctioning pressure switches, or idle valves.
Strange and loud noise when the AC is on
Noise is an indicator of a dying compressor. Other common causes can be cross-contaminated refrigerant, use of the wrong lubricant, or broken parts.
Moisture inside your car
The most common cause of moist air inside your car is moisture or debris inside your AC system.
Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus tend to build up and produce a foul smell when your car’s AC system has not been used for a while, especially during winter.
Watch out for leaks from your air conditioning system as this could be the refrigerant, a dangerous chemical that can cause harm to your engine and the environment.
5 Common AC Problems to Look Out For
Remember: refrigerant is vital to your air conditioner.A refrigerant leakage tends to happen during winter as it is not frequently used in this season. This leads to seals running dry and lowering refrigeration levels, causing warm air to be delivered out of your unit.
If your car loses refrigerant, it only means leakage.
Solution: Perform a leak test. Buy leak detectors with sensors to find the leaks. But the best option is to head to your trusted dealership or the best auto ac repair; case in point: Car Geeks in Kapolei.
Defective Cooling Fan
A fully functional cooling fan allows you to save energy by removing excess heat from the engine when it’s necessary. Otherwise, if it’s defective, only hot air will be emitted through your car unit, compromising air quality.
Debris accumulation, a faulty temperature switch, electrical issues, or blown fuses can cause a damaged cooling fan.
Solution: You will need to have your unit checked in a car ac repair shop, so qualified mechanics can have a good look at the wiring and connectors and test the cooling fan motor.
Defective Condenser or Radiator
With a damaged condenser, high-pressure refrigerant vapors from the compressor won’t be cooled, thus, constricting the airflow.
A condenser uses seals and tubes that may wear and tear over time. If this happens, the refrigerant will leak, causing the AC system to stop working. An indicator of leakage is if you discover an oily, greenish residue around the problem area.
A defective condenser can be due to debris build-up or breakage.
Solution: Replace the condenser or radiator to rectify the problem.
If your cabin temperature is higher than usual or you hear loud noises when the compressor runs, chances are your compressor is malfunctioning. This can lead to inadequate cooling or no cooling from your AC system.
Solution: Switch on your AC unit. Check the compressor or clutch switch to see if they are correctly functioning. Your car auto service and repair team will evaluate whether the oil inside the compressor has been contaminated, so they can flush the AC unit before adding new oil.
Sometimes, a damaged air conditioning system may result from loose electrical connections such as damaged wires, broken temperature sensors, or blown-up fuses. The longer you address this problem, the higher the risk of acid build-up will be.
Acid build-up can corrode and damage your AC system, and a total replacement will be required.
Solution: Have your electrical connections inspected and repaired.
Expert Tips on How to Maintain Your AC System
Lastly, here are some practices that you can do to prevent severe damage to your AC system:
- Check for any leaks or damage in your AC system.
- Watch out for cracks and damage on your air conditioning compressor belt regularly.
- Empty the refrigerant system.
- Perform a vacuum test on the air conditioning system.
- Recharge your car’s air conditioning system. Note: Always use the right refrigerant type and quantity specified by the car manufacturer.
- Perform regular service on your air conditioning system
The best way to avoid costly repairs is to be vigilant of the signs you need to look out for when your air conditioning system is not functioning correctly. In addition, follow recommended inspections during your maintenance schedule. Lastly, consult a professional mechanic if you need help with what to do next.
Work only with the best! Visit Car Geeks today!