How Does an Automobile Air Conditioning System Work?


Air conditioner usage in vehicles has existed for decades. Although the system in its entirety may seem difficult to comprehend its functionality and the various divergent components, it is actually quite simple to understand. A heating and an air conditioner in a vehicle is responsible for three tasks, to cool down the interior of the vehicle, heat up the interior and defrost the windshield. All three of these tasks function synergistically as a climate control system. This entire system is controlled by a computer which is housed in the interior dash of the vehicle. Additionally, the vehicle dash houses the temperature settings as well as the controls for the different modes. The computer executed numerous vital functions necessary for proper climate control system operation. Not only does the computer control fan speed, but it also gives commands to the compressor, which then begins to pressurize the refrigerant. Furthermore, the compressor also pressurized the blend door actuators in order to direct the air flow from the defrost vents, floors and mid-vents. Actuators are also the components that control the temperature of the air by combining hot air from the heater with cold air from the air conditioner. When an individual switches the system on, a voltage supply is provided to the compressor clutch or internal valve, the climate controller and blower motor fan. These components combined ultimately begin to function, as they are all connected through a relay and a climate control wiring harness fuse.

The compressor is equipped with a clutch which is activated when the system is turned on. The internal parts of a compressor then starts to turn through the engine’s power and the pressurization of the refrigerant. Some vehicles contain condensers designed with an attached receiver dryer, which behaves as a refrigerant cleanser as well as a moisture remover, ultimately helping the system last for a longer time. Additionally, some vehicles are equipped with a separate fan for the condenser rather than a radiator cooling fan. These fans are also controlled by the climate control computer, which ultimately provides an edict to the control relay, providing power to the fan.

The primary principles of an air conditioning system are evaporation and condensation, and compression and expansion. An air conditioner is comprised of five primary components, the compressor, condenser, expansion valve, evaporator and receiver-dryer. These components are all connected by hard tubing and flexible hoses. Aside from a clogged or blocked condenser, a faulty cooling fan or leaking refrigerant, these hoses are often among the most common issues a car owner experiences with their air conditioning systems. If a vehicle owner has old, leaky or clogged hoses, they should have them replaced as soon as possible in order to avoid further potential system issues. They are generally not very complex to replace, however it is advised to have the parts replaced by a professional shop or dealership. To acquire these hoses, a simple google search reading “air conditioning hoses tacoma wa” for an example, will result in numerous locations who carry that specific component.

There are many more significant factors and components associated with an air conditioning system. Trained professionals will be able to diagnose the problem and can typically solve any issues much quicker than doing it yourself. If an issue ever arises, the vehicle should be taken to a professional shop for repair.