Air Conditioning Service
To simplify it, air conditioning is meant to cool and remove moisture from the air. These systems need regular maintenance to prevent a loss of efficiency. Even if it has been neglected our factory-trained professionals can recover much of the system's lost efficiency. Our mechanics are on top of the latest improvements - they are proficient in understanding each computerized component and every aspect of the air conditioning system.
Automotive air conditioning is composed of a high-pressure side and a low-pressure side in a (nearly) closed loop. The low-pressure side begins with the compressor, the central component of the air conditioning system.
CompressorThe compressor is a belt-driven pump connected to the engine's crankshaft and is the central component of the system. The refrigerant, usually Freon, now in a low-pressure gaseous form is taken from the receiver into the compressor. Inside the compressor the gas is placed under pressure increasing in pressure and temperature – it is then forced out into the condenser. Compressors only compress gasses – not liquids.
CondenserThe condenser is usually located in front of the vehicle's radiator and acts as a radiator, radiating heat out of the system. The high-pressure, hot refrigerant enters the condenser and is cooled down by tubes inside the condenser until it enters a liquid state. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is now ready to cool the car.
Receiver-DryerThe receiver-drier is a metal reservoir usually located along the system's liquid line. When the high-pressure liquid leaves the condenser it moves through this component that contains desiccants, like the packets found in shoe boxes, to attract any water that has entered the system. It also filters out debris and acids that can harm system. Vehicle manufacturers typically recommend that the dryer be replaced every four years to prevent damage and maintain the quality of the filtration of the system. That's enough high-pressure for anyone, so let's move on to the low-pressure side of the system.
Thermal Expansion Valve (TXV) or an Orifice TubeBoth of these components allow the high-pressure liquid refrigerant to expand thereby lowering the pressure. If it is a valve is will sense the pressure and regulate the flow allowing the air conditioning system to steadily operate. Note: The moving parts of the valve can wear out needing replacement. If it is an orifice tube it allows the liquid to flow consistently with any moving parts. But the tube can become clogged. Vehicles using the orifice tube will operate by turning the system on and off automatically in order to regulate the flow. Note: If an orifice tube is used in the system there will be an accumulator between the evaporator and the compressor. The tube can often let in too much refrigerant into the evaporator and it doesn't all boil. Since the compressor cannot compress liquid, only gas, the accumulator traps any excess liquid before it can get into the compressor.
EvaporatorWhat sets this component apart is that it is usually located inside the vehicle's cabin above the foot-well on the passenger's side. Its function is to absorb heat and take humidity out of the air. Moisture in the air of the vehicle's cabin condenses on the coil, along with pollen, dirt and other contaminants. The low-pressure liquid refrigerant enters the evaporator coil usually at 32 degrees F and although it does not freeze at this degree yet is does have a low boiling temperature. The heat inside a vehicle's cabin makes the liquid boil thereby becoming a gas and as it leaves the evaporator, it takes the heat out of cabin. The fan that blows over the evaporator coils blows the cooled air into the vehicle. Then the gaseous refrigerant enters the compressor to begin the cycle again. Note: Often water from the air conditioning system can be seen dripping underneath your vehicle when the engine is turned off.