Your vehicle's air conditioning unit operates almost the same way as your refrigerator at home. It is designed to move heat to the outside of your vehicle, from the inside of it.

The air conditioning unit in your vehicle consists of 6 major components:

  • The refrigerant is the one component which is carrying the heat. The refrigerant is a substance known as Freon in present-day cars.
  • The compressor compresses and circulates the refrigerant within the air conditioning system of your car.
  • The refrigerant of your car is changed from gas to liquid by the condenser and it lets out heat from your car.
  • The expansion valve, also known as the orifice tube, is a nozzle that drops the refrigerant liquid's pressure, meters its flow and atomizes it, all done at the same time.
  • The evaporator of your car cools your car by transferring all the heat to the refrigerant from the air blown across it.
  • The dryer or receiver filters the oil and refrigerant of your car, eliminating moisture and other contaminants from them.

After the air conditioning system of your car is started, the compressor works by putting the refrigerant under pressure, sending it to the condensing coils, which are usually located in front of the radiator of your car. The condenser lets out hot air to the outside, thus cooling the air that is in the car. The refrigerant is cooled, when this happens and now it changes from a gas to liquid, which then passes to the evaporator via the expansion valve.

The evaporator loses pressure and cools the remaining liquid, once it receives the liquid refrigerant. The blower of your car moves air across the entire evaporator and eventually into the interior of your car. The refrigerant goes through the same cycle repeatedly without interruption, if the air conditioning unit is kept on.

During the summer months, your car can be turned into a furnace, provided that one of these components is damaged. The air conditioning unit of your car can experience minor issues such as loss of Freon Bring your car to Shell Rapid Lube/NAPA Auto Care Center, if you suspect your air conditioning unit is not working properly. A member of our air conditioning team will inspect your car's air conditioner, compressor, all liner and evaporator for wear and leaks.

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