9 of the 10 warmest years ever recorded on the planet have happened since 2010. Regardless of what your stance is on climate change, there is no denying the simple fact: it can be hot out there.
When you’re on the road on a hot summer day, nothing feels better than that ice cold blast of air conditioning in your car. But how does car air conditioning work?
Here’s a quick lesson on your car air conditioner to help you appreciate not just the result, but the complex system that keeps you cool on the road.
History of Car Air Conditioning
The history of car air conditioning systems has had its bumps in the road. It was blamed for the death of the convertible in 1971. The commonly used freon was blamed for ozone depletion and replaced in the mid-1990s.
While the first car with air conditioning straight from the factory goes back to 1940 and the Packard, it wasn’t until the late 1960’s that more than 50% of factory vehicles came with air conditioning.
Today, there are still models available from most manufacturers that either don’t offer air conditioning at all or offer it as an added feature.
How Does Car Air Conditioning Work?
Your car air conditioning system is a closed-loop system. It moves a refrigerant like R12 or R134a through itself repeatedly changing it from a gas to a liquid and back again.
As it does this through a dedicated condenser and evaporator. The process allows the refrigerant to pull the heat and moisture out of the air it collects before blowing into your car.
The system is separated into two parts. The high-pressure side condenses and filters your refrigerant. The low-pressure side of the system evaporates the refrigerant and cools the air. When both sides work in tandem you get cool, clean air at the push of a button.
Car Air Conditioning Repair
When the air conditioning system in your car breaks down, driving can get pretty miserable. Luckily, repairing your system is usually pretty simple and can be done in your own driveway.
When the system springs a leak, the refrigerant is lost. When this happens, the system will turn itself off to avoid further damage. Typically, leaks are very minimal and can be addressed by refilling or recharging the refrigerant.
Many simple products and simples like this ac revitalizer make that an easy process. Most of these leaks don’t even need to be repaired if you are willing to recharge your refrigerant on occasion.
If you ever end up having to do further repairs to any of the components in the system, it is recommended that you replace the receiver dryer to keep your system working properly.
You likely won’t ever need to know how to answer the questions “how does car air conditioning work?” File it under useless knowledge, if you must. As long as the air keeps blowing, just enjoy it.
And if it stops working, you now have the know-how to get it up and running, again.
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