Most Automobile Owners Don’t Know How the Air Conditioning in Their Car Operates
Most automobile owners don’t know how the air conditioning in their car operates. All they know is they want cold air to come out when they turn it on. The air conditioning system in a car is fundamentally very simple. The compressor pumps refrigerant gas to the condenser (located by the car’s radiator) which turns the refrigerant into a liquid. This liquid is then pumped into the evaporator (located in the blower housing on most cars) which is forced by a reduced opening and flashes into gas picking up the heat in the car and taking it to the compressor and starting the circuit all over again. The heat is removed when the hot gas passes by the condenser. The refrigerant is not consumed nor does it evaporate. This refrigerant is always under pressure and will circulate continually as long as the compressor is running. The compressor is belt pushed from the engine (meaning that the engine must be running for your air conditioning to cool.) Many panicked calls come from car owners thinking their a/c is not working when the engine is simply not running.
Since the refrigerant circulates continually if the pressures go down the only thing it can be is the dreaded leak. There are many ways to find these leaks but that does not average the leaks are easy to find. Some technicians use ultraviolet dyes additional to the system to find these leaks. Others use electronic leak detectors, but in any case the methods used the leak must be located and properly repaired. The first thing to do before the repair is to retrieve the remaining refrigerant in the system. This is done with a recovery machine. Once the refrigerant is recovered the repairs can begin. After the repairs, the system is then checked by a pressure test and then a vacuum test. After proving the soundness of the system you are know ready to start to charge the system.
A vacuum pump is temporarily installed into the system by a set of manifold gauges. With this set-up the system is then evacuated to remove contaminates and any moisture that had entered the system during the repairs. The vacuum pump lowers the pressure in the system so that the moisture is boiled out. When the contaminates have been removed it is now time to recharge the system. This is a very important part of the repair course of action. The correct amount of refrigerant is induced into the system by a charging extent. If the right amount is not entered into the system it will not work properly. This is why it is very important to have a specialized do this repair.