How does a car air conditioner work?
A vehicle's air conditioner unit has three main parts: an A/C condenser
, an A/C compressor
, and an A/C evaporator
. The condenser and evaporator are like two radiators connected in a loop. The compressor is situated between them on one side of the loop. The system is sealed from the outside, and filled with a working fluid, in this case r-134a. The compressor takes low pressure, gaseous, r-134a, compresses it (which creates heat), then sends it to the condenser, where the heat is dissipated to the outside. After the condenser, liquid refrigerant travels to the evaporator, located inside the passenger compartment, where it can expand, removing heat and cooling the evaporator. The fan directs air over the evaporator, then out the air vents in your car. What are the causes of air conditioner failure?
The most common reasons why your A/C might not be working properly include low refrigerant charge, lack of air flow across the condenser, an overheated car engine, a loose or broken drive belt, inoperative compressor or slipping compressor clutch
, defective or clogged expansion valve
, blown fuse, a clogged cabin air filter
, or leaking A/C lines, hoses or seals. Because the working fluid gets both very hot and very cold, it is important to keep moisture out of the system, as ice forming in the compressor can damage it. How to make the air conditioner last longer?
If you live in a place with a cold climate, it might not make much sense to run the A/C during the winter months, but many shop technicians recommend running your A/C system regularly, because it contains a light mineral oil in the refrigerant to keep the compressor properly lubricated. The general rule of thumb is 10 minutes per month. How does the heating system work?
The heating system in earlier cars is usually a water-cooled system, the heater casing contains a Matrix - a small radiator - that takes hot water from the engine through a hose. Incoming air goes through the water-heated matrix and is warmed. There is also an electric fan, which can be switched on to blow air through the system when the car is stationary, or when extra ventilation is called for. The fan can be adjusted to run at different speeds, when needed.
In cars with air-cooled engines, air for the interior heater
can be warmed by ducting it around fins on the hot exhaust manifold. The warmed air is mixed to the right temperature by an air-blending system, including a heat-sensitive valve that keeps the temperature steady and at a comfortable level for the occupants. If necessary, the air may be warmed further by an electrically ignited petrol-burning heat exchanger. The heat exchanger also allows the heater to work with the engine off, unlike a water-heated type. The rest of the system, the way in which the heat is distributed, is like that of any other car. What are the causes of heating system failure?
Common issues that can cause the heating system in a car to stop functioning properly may include: low coolant, air in the coolant system, malfunctioning heater core
, malfunctioning blower motor
, or a failed (or failing) thermostat.