I’d like you to close your eyes and go on a journey with me. *cue harp music* Well, I guess you can’t actually close your eyes AND go on a journey with me, because you can’t read with your eyes closed…*a record scratches and the harp music stops*
Take 2: I’d like you to pretend your eyes are closed and go on a journey with me. *cue harp music again* You’ve been working out in the hot triple-digit weather ALL DAY LONG. You’re hot, sweaty, and dreaming of the sweet, sweet relief of the ice cold air conditioning in your car on your trip home. You tremble with excitement as you open your car door. You start the engine, squeal with joy, and…nothing happens. Cold air does not bestow itself upon you. You realize that you are doomed to a torturous ride home. You begin to weep.
Scary, isn’t it?
For many people, the air conditioning system in their vehicle is one of the most treasured modern luxuries. What kind of technological sorcery makes the cold air happen? What are some common problems with these systems? How does one prevent and solve these problems? I intend to shed some light on those questions with my information lamp.
The basic idea behind an air conditioning system is that it condenses high pressure, high temperature vapor to liquid. That is evaporated into low pressure, low temperature vapor (which makes the cold that is blown into the passenger compartment!). That is compressed back into high pressure, high temperature vapor, and the process starts all over again. To help illustrate this, here’s my buddy, Freon:
Just so you know what drives all of this, here’s the terminology for the major components:
There are many issues that can arise with such a complex system, but here are a few that are the most common:
Because of the complicated nature of air conditioning systems, it is advised that you DO NOT ATTEMPT YOUR OWN REPAIRS unless you are a certified mechanic. The best thing you can do is to take it to your friendly, local Chad Miller Auto Care (or another honest mechanic shop if you’re not in San Antonio) as soon as you notice an issue with the air conditioning. Two things you can do to help prevent problems are to take your vehicle in for a tune-up at least once per year, and replace the cabin air filter at least once per year.
With the triple-digit heat upon us, now is definitely the time to be more aware of our air conditioners and how they work. I hope my buddy, Freon, and I helped you understand air conditioners better.
Have a story about a time that YOUR air conditioner broke? Leave a comment below!