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!
Contrary to popular belief, your auto air conditioning doesn’t simply create cool air. Actually, the process is quite a bit more complicated and multifaceted than that. It begins when the compressor condenses your vehicle’s refrigerant—raising its temperature and sending it to the condenser, where it begins to lose heat. Passing through a dryer, the air is stripped of pollutants and airborne contaminants. In the accumulator, it’s cooled further still, and also depressurized. It eventually makes its way to the ventilation system, where it’s cooled down completely, and is released into your cabin as nice, refreshing air.
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 Chicago IL. 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.
Certainly, you should be getting an AC check as part of your regular vehicle maintenance. This helps you to stay on top of any potential issues, and address small problems before they become big ones. Getting an AC check once or twice a year, perhaps when you get your oil changed or tires rotated, can be a great way to invest in the lifespan of your car.
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