Automotive air conditioning systems use significant power, though at the same time it’s better than having to drive with the window open. There are many factors that may play into your cooling system failing. Either way, if you notice your vehicle air conditioner either losing cooling capabilities, or failing to cool all together, you want to get it checked out. Luckily, you can now receive an AAMCO free air-conditioning check this summer at participating AAMCO dealers. Check here to find Colorado AAMCO locations.
The very first thing you will notice if your AC goes out, is obviously that the air so no longer being cooled. This is automatically a sign that something is wrong. But there are times when other symptoms can be noticed prior to the unit actually failing entirely. Of course all symptoms are noticeable, if you know what to look for.
Air Conditioning Symptoms
Noise – If you hear noise when the unit is on, this is usually means the compressor is on its way out. But noise can also be caused by cross-contaminated refrigerant (operating pressure too high), air in the system or the wrong type of compressor lubricant.
Odor – If when the unit is turned on, there is an odd odor being emitted, microbes such as mold and mildew can be growing on the evaporator.
Poor Cooling – This is usually due to a deficient level of refrigerant fluid, but can also be due to air or water being stuck in the system, the expansion valve being stuck closed, the orifice tube being plugged, or a compressor/control valve having failed.
Intermittent Cooling – If the system blows cold air, then warm air, the reason is it is probably freezing up. This can be caused by air and moisture in the system that allows ice to form and block the orifice tube. Electrical malfunctions can also cause this problem, which a number of things can go wrong to cause this.
If you notice any of these symptoms occurring, you should immediately speak to an AAMCO automotive technician. Though, if want to know what the results means when they let you know, you should probably have an understanding of the components to an automotive air conditioner. Which are as follows:
Air Conditioning Components
Compressor – This compresses and circulates the refrigerant in the system.
Refrigerant – This is what carries and transfers the heat.
Condenser – This changes the phase of the refrigerant from gas to liquid. It also expels heat that has been removed from the car.
Expansion Valve/Orifice Tube – This drops the pressure of the refrigerant liquid, regulates its flow, and atomizes it as well.
Evaporator – This transfers heat to the refrigerant from the hot air blown across it.
Auto Air Conditioning Process
The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant and sends it to the condensing coils. The condenser expels the heat to passing air outside the vehicle that the refrigerant picked up in the evaporator. Once the refrigerant is cooled, it will change back to a liquid from a gas state. It then passes through the expansion valve to the evaporator where its pressure decreases which was initially added by the compressor. This causes the the gas to turn back into a liquid as it cools the remaining liquid. The mixture of gas and liquid then enters the evaporator, where the liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat that was transferred to it. Your car then circulates air around the the cold evaporator and into the interior of the vehicle. The refrigerant then goes back through the same cycle over and over.
Now you know what to be aware of if your air conditioner is malfunctioning, what components there are within it, and how the process works. If you notice your air conditioner malfunctioning, it is advised to get it checked out. Especially if you notice an odd odor, you don’t want to be inhaling various molds and mildews while you are driving around. Receive your free air conditioner check from AAMCO, they will ensure that your system is working efficiently and optimally. Because those who know, go to AAMCO!