Everything You Need to Know About Your Car’s A/C

Spring has sprung, kind of, and while warmer weather is going to be a welcomed change, it won’t be long until mild temperatures turn into sweltering days. Before that happens, you will want to make sure your automotive air conditioning (A/C) is running optimally to keep you cool on the road this summer.

Because automotive A/C isn’t necessary year-round in most parts of the country, people tend to only notice a problem when they need their A/C the most. That’s why automotive shops see the highest volume of air conditioner problems during the summer’s hottest days. To avoid an emergency A/C situation this summer, there are a few things you need to know.

The Main Components of Your Car’s A/C

A car’s A/C is made up of five main components:

1. Compressor
2. Condenser
3. Thermal Expansion Valve or Orifice Tube
4. Evaporator
5. Accumulator or Receiver/Drier

These five components form a closed circuit that make up the refrigeration cycle of your car. Once the refrigeration liquid, commonly known as Freon, is added to the system and helps to continually cool the interior of your car. The three most important components are the compressor, condenser, and evaporator, the other parts mentioned above connect these three and allow them to function properly.

How Your Car’s A/C Works

The compressor and the condenser are the first two steps of the cooling cycle. The compressor draws in the refrigeration liquid while it is in the form of a gas, applying pressure which heats the gas as it’s pushed into the condenser. Once there, the pressurized gas meets cool air and is condensed into a liquid. Now that the refrigerant in its liquid form, it’s finally ready to cool your car. This fluid goes on to enter the evaporator where the refrigerant is heated by warm outside air and evaporates back into a gas. This transformation, from liquid to gas, allows the refrigerant to absorb a large amount of heat, at which point the newly cooled air blows into your vehicle.

How to Fix a Faulty Automotive A/C System

While in theory, the closed-circuit automotive A/C system of a car should maintain itself once set up, that is not always the case. Leaks in the system or a myriad of other easy-to-miss problems can lead to loss of refrigeration liquid which can be the cause of your A/C blowing lukewarm or hot air on your passengers.

If your A/C is not functioning properly there are a few quick fixes that you can try. Your first step if you suspect your A/C is faltering should be to refill your refrigeration liquid. If you fear a leak, try adding a product such as A/C Pro Professional Formula Refrigerant which recharges refrigeration liquid and repairs small holes in rubber. For more serious leaks, try using an R-134a Super Seal A/C Repair Kit, which can seal holes in both metal and rubber components of an A/C system.

For additional information and all the parts you’ll need to keep your A/C running cool all summer, contact or visit the knowledgeable employees and technicians at Sanel NAPA today!

About Sanel NAPA

Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 42 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting in order to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.

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