A car air conditioning system is a set of components that works together to cool the car’s interior. It helps in the cooling of the car’s cabin. When someone is driving under a hot sun or in the rain, he or she would not like to have the car window rolled down if the car has a functional air conditioning system.
The air conditioning system improves the driver’s comfort and when the air conditioning system of the car is working well, it helps to improve the driving ability of the driver. This is why it is very important to have good and functional air conditioning.
There are about six components of the automobile air conditioning system that enables the effective functioning of the system. The components include a compressor, condenser, evaporator, thermostat, dryer and cooling fan.
Compressor: the compressor is one of the major components of the air conditioning system. It pressurises the refrigerant to cool the air, senses temperature changes inside and outside the car, monitors and controls temperature output and moves air to the condenser.
There are manual and automatic compressors. The automatic compressor is controlled electronically while the manual compressor is controlled manually.
The automatic compressor has sensors around it that help it to compress and send signals to the air conditioning system. Here, when the compressor is engaged, it will not be noticeable and will not have a heavy impact on the engine of the car because it doesn’t take much load, unlike the manual that makes use of clutches.
Meanwhile, when the manual compressor engages, the car driver will notice the impact and when the manual compressor has a problem, it will be difficult to run a scan but for the automatic compressor, it is very easy to always run a scan to discover the situation of the system especially when it develops fault.
Condenser: the condenser reduces the temperature and pressure of hot gasses coming from the refrigerant as the compressor pressurises the refrigerant. It is also responsible for transferring cooled liquid refrigerant to the receiver/dryer or accumulator. It is located at the front of the radiator.
Receiver/dryer or accumulator: a car can have a receiver or accumulator depending on its model. The receiver is used in vehicles that have a thermal expansion valve, while an accumulator is found in vehicles that use an orifice tube.
The receiver or dryer separates gas from liquid to avoid the liquid getting into the compressor while an accumulator controls and monitors the amount of refrigerant that goes into the evaporator.
Evaporator: the evaporator takes charge of cooling the air with refrigerant before it is blown into the cabin of the vehicle. It is located right behind the dashboard.
Thermal expansion valve or orifice tube: the thermal expansion valve uses a receiver/dryer, while vehicles with orifice tubes use an accumulator. It monitors the amount of pressure and temperature of the system. They also calculate the amount of refrigerant that can go into the evaporator without any harm to the system. It is located between the condenser and the evaporator.
Cooling fan: The cooling fan is a vital part of the car’s cooling system. It is sited just in front of the car’s radiator and is electrically powered.
It is activated by two means – either by the thermostat in the car’s cooling system or by an electronic system that senses when the coolant is too hot and switches on the fan through an electrical relay switch.
The car’s air conditioning system can be leaking which will affect its performance. For, instance, if there are leakages in the air conditioning system, it will reduce or terminate the cooling effect of the air conditioner depending on the extent. If the leakage is heavy, the car will not cool at all but if the leakage is light, the cooling will be small.
The system can also experience blockage. When there is a blockage in the air conditioning system, it will force refrigerants out of areas where there is a seal and there will not be any cooling because the refrigerants will be unable to flow due to blockage in the system.