How Does Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioning System Work?

Tech Talk Thursday with Auto Electrical Leading Hand Sebastian Arcidiacono

Air conditioning is an essential part of a vehicles operation in our tropical climate.  The systems were first introduced in 1939 and have basically worked in the same way ever since.  An air conditioner not only cools down the air inside your vehicle by moving the heat from the inside out, it also reduces moisture content or humidity.

The air conditioning system is a sealed system with a high-pressure side and low-pressure side and operates using a fluid called refrigerant. The system is made up of five components, in a six-step process:

  1. Compressor: The compressor pumps refrigerant vapour under high pressure into the condenser
  2. Condenser: The condenser turns the vapour into liquid. The changing of vapour into liquid generates heat. The heat is then removed from the condenser by air flowing through the condenser on the outside.
  3. Receiver: The receiver dryer acts as a filter for the liquid refrigerant, removing any moisture and other contaminates that may have leaked into the refrigerant.
  4. Expansion Valve: The liquid then goes from the receiver dryer into the expansion valve which causes a change of state of the refrigerant by creating a pressurised restriction in the valve to create a low pressure liquid.
  5. Evaporator: As it enters the evaporator, it vaporises and absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment. The blower fan inside the passenger compartment pushes air over the outside of the evaporator, so cold air is circulated inside the car.
  6. Compressor: The compressor then draws in the low-pressure refrigerant vapour to start the process again.

If you start to notice a difference in your vehicle’s air conditioning, it could be due to a leak in the system, electrical fault, blocked valve or damaged components among other things. This may cause issues including not blowing cold air, blowing hot air, odour coming from the vents, fluid leaking, weak airflow or uneven pressure, or a clunking or rattling noise when switched on.

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, our licensed technicians are available to complete a full diagnosis on your vehicle’s air conditioning system for only $49.00. Contact our friendly team at our Paget (07 4952 3931) or Rural View (07 4840 2334) workshop to book a diagnosis today 😊.