You might be surprised to learn exactly how your auto air conditioning system works. While it’s commonly assumed that the AC generates cool air, that’s not quite the case. Actually, it blows hot air, with all the heat removed through a peculiarly complex, multi-step process. In a nutshell, your auto air conditioning works by condensing the refrigerant (Freon), which in turn raises its temperature. This passes through a dryer, where contaminants and moisture are removed, then into an accumulator where it’s slowed down further, leading to a loss of both pressure and temperature. The evaporator then cools down that air further still before the ventilation system pushes it out—and you experience it as a blast of chilly air!
There are a couple of main reasons why it’s smart to get air conditioning service work done. The first is that you’re going to run out of refrigerant eventually, and will need to have it replaced. (You use roughly 15 percent of your refrigerant each year.) In addition, wear and tear to each individual piece of your AC unit can cause long-term problems, but routine maintenance prevents minor problems from turning into larger, more expensive ones. It’s ultimately in your best interest as a vehicle owner to make preventative maintenance a priority, and that includes getting a regular AC check.
Most of us assume we know how the auto air conditioning system works. You press the button and your car’s air vents produce cool, refreshing air—right? Well, actually, it’s a bit more complicated than that. The quick synopsis: Your air conditioning unit produces air that’s actually quite hot, but through a multi-step system it’s both cooled down and also cleared of moisture and contaminants. This is a process that begins with your vehicle’s refrigerant and ends with cool air coming through the vents—providing you with a comfortable ride no matter the weather.
Responsible car owners get their oil changed about twice a year. They get their tires rotated, as well. They might do this work themselves; more likely, they go to a service station like Meineke in Gilroy CA. As you show diligence to these routine auto maintenance steps, don’t forget about your auto air conditioning. Your auto air conditioning works harder than you might think: It takes hot air and cools it, cleans out contaminants, and removes extra moisture. Through a multi-step process, it moves cool air from your refrigerant (Freon) to the vents, where you finally get to experience cool, refreshing air in your cabin. That’s a lot of hustle, so it’s no wonder your auto air conditioning needs some TLC from time to time.
There are a couple of reasons why you might eventually need to have some air conditioning repair work done. One, speaking generally, is that your air conditioning system does a lot of hard work, and eventually that heavy lifting will lead to wear and tear. Any one component of the system can break and throw the whole thing off; an AC check will help you identify and correct problems before that happens. Additionally, you’ll eventually run low on refrigerant, which is a critical ingredient in keeping your cabin cool. That’s when an AC recharge is needed.
How well do you understand the workings of your auto air conditioning system? Many drivers are surprised when they learn that their auto AC doesn’t simply push out cool air, but rather it starts with warm air, cools and depressurizes it, filters out its contaminants, and then—at the end of a multi-stage process—it finally pushes that cool air into the cabin of the vehicle. If that sounds like a laborious undertaking, well, it is. The auto air conditioning takes on a lot of wear and tear. It goes without saying, then, that regular maintenance is a must.
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