How Does My Car AC Work?

Angels Transmission Blog - How Does My Car Ac Work?

Automobile air conditioning systems don’t actually generate cold air. They take the heat and moisture out of the air already in your cabin, replacing it with cooler air. Your car’s air conditioning system is very similar to the one found in your home or office.

Just like the home A/C, the car air conditioner works on the same principle. It has the following main components:

  1. Compressor – The core of the AC system, the compressor compresses the refrigerant and turns from gas to liquid. This increases both its temperature & pressure. The compressor then pushes the compressed gas to the condenser unit.
  2. Condenser – The condenser sits behind the front grill and in front of the car’s radiator. It condenses the high-pressure, high-temperature, vaporized refrigerant coming from the compressor. The condensed air then flows through the condenser and the heat in the high-pressure refrigerant is removed and the air cools down.
  3. Evaporator – Lcated behind the passenger compartment, the evaporator looks like a very small radiator with fins and tubes. Cold air from the receiver moves through the core of this component, allowing cold and dry air to be pushed through the vents.
  4. Receiver Dryer – The receiver dryer prepares the refrigerant for entry into the evaporator. it contains a filter and a desiccant. Receiver Drier filters out the impurities and removes the moisture from the refrigerant.
  5. Expansion Valve – This valve allows the expansion of high-pressure liquid refrigerant coming from the receiver. As the refrigerant passes through the valve it becomes low temperature, low-pressure liquid, and vapor. Th expansion valve controls the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator.
  6. Refrigerant – While it is not technically a “component” of your system, refrigerant plays a key role in the working of your air conditioning system. It removes the heat from the system, which makes it essential for cooling your vehicle.

Common Auto Ac Problems

Warning Signs Your Car’s AC System Needs Service:

  1. No Air – Having no airflow when you turn on the air conditioner on full blast is an obvious sign of aircon issues.
  2. Noticeable Airflow Change – A noticeable decrease in the airflow. Decreased airflow could be an early warning sign of possible mildew or mold buildup.
  3. Foul Odor – Foul odors could indicate a dirty or aging filter or the growth of bacteria such as mold, mildew, fungus, and other micro-organisms on the evaporator.
  4. Unusual Change in Temperature – You have AC issues if you are anticipating cold air, but not getting it no matter how long you wait, or the air was set to a cold temperature and was working ok, but suddenly turns warm. The potential causes could be failed expansion valve, clogged evaporator, or low refrigerant.
  5. Strange Noises When Ac Is on – Any kind of noise that wasn’t around before would indicate an issue. Potential causes could be worn bearing, failed compressor clutch, failing blower motor, or an obstruction in the system.


If you are experiencing any type of air conditioning issue, be it a decrease in airflow or a lack of cold air, come see us at Angel’s Transmission and Auto Repair.

At Angel’s Transmission and Auto Repair in Mission Viejo, we can provide you with everything you need, from diagnostic to repairs to scheduled or preventative maintenance such as fluid and filter services. Our expert technicians provide the skilled labor and quality parts you need to keep your car running at its best. Our top priority is to provide you with high-quality service every time we work on your vehicle. To help keep you safe while you drive, and to keep you from overspending in the future. Your complete satisfaction will always be our main concern.

Call us today at (949) 587-9060 for an appointment or fill out our contact form and let us help you with transmission repair services or general auto repair.

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