A/C Cooling System
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A/C Cooling System at 1A Auto
What is the A/C cooling system?
There are many components to your A/C cooling system, and some that might not appear to have an integral role can actually make or break your system. Parts like the A/C pressure switch, A/C Schrader valve, and vent mode actuator can be the difference between getting hot air when you want cold, dealing with a leaking coolant line, or listening to an incessant ticking noise from the dash that's bound to drive you nuts. But when working perfectly, your A/C will never hesitate to cool you down on a hot sunny day.
So, how does it all work? Well, the gaseous refrigerant in your car or truck's A/C system is compressed by the A/C compressor. When gas is compressed, it heats up and becomes highly pressurized. The A/C condenser fan, when activated, pulls/pushes air through the fins of the A/C condenser as the compressed coolant, which it has received from the compressor, passes through the coils inside of it in order to cool it down and eliminate heat from the system. After the refrigerant is cooled in the condenser, it expands once again. The process of re-expanding the refrigerant super cools it. The super-cooled refrigerant can take on heat from the air plumbed through the vents, to cool the air in the cabin of the car or truck.
How do I know which A/C parts need to be replaced?
The easy part is figuring out if your A/C isn't working. This is usually straightforward, as the A/C might cut on or off, fail to cool the cabin or turn on the compressor, blow hot or cold air, or tick from the dash. In some vehicles, the check engine light might come on. Figuring out the problem sometimes isn't always as easy and might require testing, so sometimes it's best left to the professionals to figure it out. Typically, clicking noises or hot air can be from a bad blend door actuator or vent mode actuator. Failure to start or cutting off or on fairly quickly can be from a faulty A/C pressure switch, and temperature fluctuations or lack of cold air can be the evaporator extension line. Leaking can happen for a number of reasons, like a bad Schrader valve. It's important to test your system if any of these symptoms come up.
Can I replace A/C parts myself?
That depends on the part. Parts like the blend door actuator will be a lot easier to replace than an evaporator extension line. There are ways to test the system to find out, for example, where a leak is, like using coolant with UV dye and a UV light. Schrader valve leaks will be immune to this type of testing and require a different approach, like filling up the ports with soapy water and looking for bubbles. If you find that you'll have to evacuate and recharge the system, we recommend you leave it to the professionals.