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Car A/C Basics - Everything You Need to Know!

It's a sweltering summer day, and you're cruising down the open road, the sun beating down relentlessly. You're saved from melting into your car seat by one unsung hero—the A/C system. But have you ever wondered how this cooling wizardry actually works? 

Well, in this blog, we're going to take you on a journey under the hood to unravel the secrets of your car's A/C system. We'll break down its components, demystify its inner workings, and even throw in 3 essential maintenance tips to keep you cool all season long.

1. Compressor 

Imagine the compressor as the heart of your car's A/C system. It's a pump that circulates refrigerant, a special fluid that plays a crucial role in cooling your car. When you turn on the A/C, the compressor kicks into action, pressurizing the refrigerant.

How It Works: The compressor squeezes the refrigerant, turning it from a low-pressure gas into a high-pressure one. This process also heats up the refrigerant.

2. Condenser - Heat Exchanger

Now that the refrigerant is hot and under pressure, it needs to shed that excess heat. That's where the condenser comes in.

How It Works: The condenser, usually located in front of the radiator, helps the refrigerant release heat to the surrounding air. As the hot, high-pressure refrigerant flows through the condenser coils, it cools down and turns into a high-pressure liquid.

3. Expansion Valve

After the refrigerant has shed its heat, it's time to cool things down. The expansion valve is responsible for this crucial step.

How It Works: As the high-pressure liquid refrigerant passes through the expansion valve, it rapidly expands and becomes a low-pressure, cold mist. This rapid expansion causes a dramatic drop in temperature, turning the refrigerant into a chilly gas.

4. Evaporator

The cold refrigerant gas is now ready to cool the air inside your car. This happens in the evaporator.

How It Works: The evaporator is typically located inside your car's dashboard. Warm air from the cabin is blown over the evaporator coils, and as the refrigerant inside absorbs the heat from the air, it evaporates into a gas once again. This process cools down the air, and you feel a refreshing breeze coming from your A/C vents.

3 Helpful A/C Maintaining Tips

Regular Maintenance
Just like any other part of your car, the A/C system needs regular maintenance. This includes checking refrigerant levels, inspecting for leaks, and cleaning the condenser and evaporator coils. Make it a part of your routine car care.

Use It or Lose It
Even during the colder months, it's a good idea to run your A/C system occasionally. This prevents the components from seizing up due to lack of use and keeps the system in good working condition.

Keep It Clean
Ensure that your cabin air filter is clean. A clogged filter can reduce the efficiency of your A/C system, making it work harder to cool the air. Regularly replace or clean the filter as recommended in your car's manual.


A/C is having issues? Don't worry, we are here to help! Contact Super Service of Aliso Viejo at (949) 866-5040 - count on us for assistance; your satisfaction is our utmost priority!