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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Air Conditioning Season is Upon Us

The main components of air conditioning system in your car are the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, evaporator and belts and hoses. A compressor circulates a liquid refrigerant often referred to as "Freon” The compressor moves the Freon from an evaporator, through a condenser and expansion valve, right back to the evaporator. The evaporator is right in front of a fan that pulls the hot, humid air out of the car's interior. The refrigerant makes the hot air's moisture condense into drops of water, removing the heat from the air. Once the water is removed, the "cool" air is sent back into the car's interior through hoses.

Signs that you may have a faulty air conditioning system

The most common symptoms for a fault in a car air conditioner are:

Air conditioning system is blowing warm air

Intermittent cooling performance

Excess noise

Foul odor

Frequent recharging of A/C system

Lack of cold air is usually due to a lack of refrigerant. This implies there is a leak from the seals or hoses somewhere in the A/C system. Intermittent cooling is often attributable to an obstruction caused by moisture. The problem may also be triggered by an electrical failure that prevents the compressor clutch from engaging. Excess noise may indicate that the compressor is about to fail, and will need to be replaced. A musty odor coming from the vents indicates a mold has likely grown on the evaporator.

The heating and air conditioning system of your vehicle should operate without any problems for years. When problems do happen, however, the repairs are best left to a certified technician.

Did you know?

The most common cause of poor air conditioning performance is a low refrigerant level. Because refrigerant is a gas, it escapes easily through worn valve seals and o-rings as well as through deteriorated hoses and damaged components. A system running on low refrigerant will inevitably lead to major component failure. Repairing small leaks in advance could save on large, costly repairs in the future.

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