How does pushing the A/C button in your vehicle cool you down?   A vehicles air conditioning not only cools down the air, but also reduces the moisture content, or humidity of the air coming through the vents. This is one of the reasons that you’re Air Conditioner comes on when you set your heater to defrost. It helps eliminate the moisture causing poor visibility on the inside of the glass in cold weather.  A+ Japanese Auto Repair is well versed in automotive A/C systems.  We will explain the systems we see in today's vehicles. Below in (Fig A.) is an overview or flow chart of how your A/C system looks. Your A/C system is a sealed high-pressure system.


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The four main principles for Air Conditioning are Evaporation and Condensation, then Compression and Expansion. Rigid piping and flexible tubing connect all the actual components of the air conditioning in your car. There are five main components to the whole system, namely the Compressor, Condenser, Receiver-dryer, Expansion valve, and the Evaporator. These parts are explained below:

Compressor: The compressor is the pump moving all of the freon in the air conditioning system, powered by a drive belt connected to the crankshaft of the engine. When the A/C Button is pushed, the compressor pumps refrigerant under high pressure (100+ PSI) to the condenser.  On newer vehicles, the compressor can also be electric-powered, vs. belt-driven.

Condenser: The condenser is a heat exchanger used to cool refrigerant vapor to a liquid. Your condenser is typically placed in front of the radiator for optimal airflow to help with cooling the freon. The A/C condenser looks very much like a radiator. The condenser cools the refrigerant vapor to liquid form by transferring the heat to the air that rushes through it while driving, or by fan force.

Receiver Dryer: The liquid refrigerant moves from the condenser to the receiver dryer. This is a small separator device for the liquid refrigerant. The receiver dryer removes any moisture that may have leaked into the refrigerant. Moisture causes ice crystals causing blockages and mechanical damage. Therefore a properly working receiver dryer is an important part of your A/C system. From the receiver dryer, the refrigerant moves onto the expansion valve.

Expansion Valve: The pressurized refrigerant flows from the receiver-drier to the expansion valve. Remember, the refrigerant at this point is still in liquid form. The purpose of the expansion valve is to drop the pressure on the refrigerant so that it can expand and become refrigerant vapor in the evaporator.

Evaporator: The evaporator is another device that looks similar to the radiator in your vehicle. The evaporator is typically housed in a plastic box that the air coming out of your heater and air conditioner vents is forced through. As the cold low-pressure refrigerant is passed into the evaporator, it vaporizes 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 your vehicle keeping you cool and happy on a warm summer's day. From here, the compressor pulls the heated refrigerant back in the direction of the condenser.

Refrigerant Types:

The refrigerant that passes through the whole system is freon. The refrigerant can evaporate at a low temperature and then condense again at a higher pressure. In Pre 1996 R-12 was the refrigerant used in almost all vehicles on the road. It was found that this greenhouse gas was a contributor to the hole in the ozone layer. Since this time the auto repair industry has switched to an environmentally friendly refrigerant known as R-134A .

A+ Japanese Auto Repair A/C System Experts - San Carlos, CA

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Please note: When it comes to AC System service and repair not all of these services are performed the same way. At A Plus Japanese Auto Repair Inc., we use the highest quality evacuation and recharge machines, quality freon, lubricants, and the highest quality parts. The combination of these allows us to offer our clients a 24 Month 24,000 Mile warranty on any auto repair performed at our facility. When summer comes around and it's time for A/C system service or repair, bring your vehicle to A Plus Japanese Auto Repair. We are experts on the following vehicles: Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Infiniti, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Kia, Scion, Hyundai, Isuzu, and Hybrid vehicles. If you have any further questions please stop by, or follow this link to make an appointment today.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose. Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

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