Repairing Car Air Conditioning Unit

When a car goes into the shop for repair, owners often wonder what goes on behind the scenes. It would be nice to find out a little more information that the pricey bill that is handed over after repairs have been completed.

One such area of concern is what exactly is involved in car air conditioning repair. A good starting point would be to understand that a car air conditioning unit is basically a refrigerator on wheels. The function of the unit is to take the presence of hot air and banish it to another area such as outside the car. Mechanics begin a car air conditioning repair by following this process through from start to finish. It gives them a good idea of where things are going wrong and how it can best be repaired.

There are several essential components to an air conditioning unit. These are the compressor, the refrigerant, the condenser, the expansion value, the evaporator and the dryer. Each carries a specific function that works with the other elements to keep the air conditioner running.

A compressor circulates condensed refrigerant through the system. The refrigerant is what cools down the car by removing heat from the air. The condenser takes that hot air and sends it to an outside source. The expansion valve drops refrigerant liquid temperatures, measure the flow and atomize it. Each of the three functions is completed at the same time. An evaporator takes the hot air and the refrigerant blowing across and mixes the two to cool down the car. Finally the dryer removes moisture and other contaminants from the air.

Mechanics will often start a repair by making sure there are no leaks in the compressor. To do this a fluorescent dye is added to the system to pinpoint where there is a possible leak. When a leak is detected, the next step is determining how bad of a leak is present. Compressors need pressure to function properly. A leak anywhere along the line causes pressure to drop or be non existent.

Another check point is whether or not the compressor is turning. To evaluate this, a mechanic turns on the vehicle, turns on the air conditioning and takes a look under the hood. A compressor consists of a pump that has rubber and steel hoses running in and out. The hoses operate on a pulley system. When the air conditioning is on and the pulley is not moving, the compressor clutch is not working. A number of causes could be behind this. Wiring problems, broken air conditioning switch on the dash or low refrigerant levels are just a few examples.


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