A Quick Guide to Vehicle Air Conditioning

As the temperature begins to rise during the hot summer months, your car, van, or truck’s air conditioning suddenly becomes an invaluable feature, and something that can make those long days of driving seem like a breeze. But, air conditioning is one of those vehicle extras that most drivers don’t know much about. So, in this short blog post, we thought we’d give you a quick guide to vehicle air conditioning, including:

  • What are the main components of a vehicle's air conditioning system are

  • Some air conditioning maintenance tips

  • Troubleshooting some common vehicle air conditioning issues

What are the main components of a vehicle's air conditioning system?

It might not be something you’ve thought deeply about, but knowing what the main parts of your vehicle's air conditioning system are, can be helpful, especially if you need to get it repaired, or if you’re trying to troubleshoot an issue.

  • Compressor

    The compressor is the heart of the system, and is responsible for compressing and circulating the refrigerant - the liquid which cools the air.

  • Condenser

    The condenser is typically found in front of the radiator, with its main function to dissipate heat from the refrigerant, allowing it to cool down and turn into a liquid.

  • Evaporator

    The evaporator is found at the front of the vehicle, often behind the dashboard, and it works with the blower fan to cool down the air and distribute it into the cabin.

  • Expansion Valve

    The expansion valve is designed to regulate the flow of the refrigerant into the evaporator, as well as control the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant as it enters the evaporator coil.

  • Refrigerant

    The refrigerant is a special liquid running through the air-con system that absorbs heat from the air and cools it down to facilitate the overall cooling process.

Air Conditioning

Some maintenance tips for vehicle air conditioning

To make sure your vehicle's air conditioning system functions the way it should, here are a few basic maintenance tips:

  • Get it inspected

    Make sure to get your air conditioning system checked over by a professional technician, at least once a year. A good technician will be able to spot for leaks and give each component the once over, helping to ensure the cold air continues to flow.

  • Get the cabin air filter replaced

    Whether you do it yourself, or (preferably) get a professional to do it, by regularly replacing the cabin air filter, you help to ensure the ongoing performance of the whole unit.

  • Run the system regularly

    To help maintain the system's lubrication, and to prevent seals from drying out, it’s important to run your vehicle's air conditioning every few weeks, even during the colder periods.

  • Clean the condenser

    To ensure optimal airflow, make sure to clean the condenser periodically, using a soft brush or compressed air to remove dried leaves or anything else that might cause an obstruction.

Troubleshooting common vehicle air conditioning issues

Like any feature of your vehicle, air conditioning systems do go wrong, so, here are a few common issues and the possible reasons they could be happening.

  • Insufficient cooling

    If the air from the system isn’t as cold as it should be, it may be because there are low refrigerant levels or an issue with the compressor.

  • No airflow

    If you have airflow problems with your vehicle's air conditioning, it could be due to a faulty blower motor, or even a blockage in the ductwork.

  • Strange smells

    If you’re getting a few strange whiffs coming from your aircon, it could be a sign of mildew or mould.

  • Weird noises

    Unusual noises, like squealing or grinding could be one of several things, including a faulty compressor.

IMPORTANT: For all of the above issues, we’d always recommend getting professional advice from a reputable vehicle air conditioning expert, rather than attempting a DIY repair, which could result in making the issue worse.

Car air conditioning servicing and repair in Leighton Buzzard

If you’re looking for a reputable professional for an air conditioning service, repair, or an aircon re-gas in Leighton Buzzard, visit Jackson & Phillips, one of the areas leading vehicle air conditioning specialists.

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