Car Accessories - A Tribute to the Car Air Conditioner

A Tribute to the Car Air Conditioner

If you are living in regions characterized by long summers like I am, you probably would understand what compelled me to pay a tribute to my Car Air-Conditioner. I cannot imagine driving everyday to office in this hot and humid weather without my trusted Car-AC. I am sure there are millions of people out there who would agree with me when I say that a Car Air-Conditioner is not an accessory, it is a necessity. In hot climates, an air conditioner can make your drive a pleasurable experience even if you are not driving a luxury car. It is imperative that you are comfortable while driving and any concerns in this regard can be distracting. With an AC you can be assured that you won't be complaining about the weather. This will definitely allow you to concentrate on your driving and enjoy it too. Let's discuss how a Car AC works and what can we do for its maintenance. A Car Air-Conditioner is responsible for the cooling and dehumidification of a closed car cabin. It functions on a simple process to draw heat from inside the cabin to the outside. It does so by deriving power from the car engine to run its main constituents i.e. the Compressor, the Condenser and the Evaporator. In fact, it is the Compressor that is connected to the car engine and acts as a pump that circulates refrigerants in the AC system. Refrigerant gas flows in a closed circuit from the Condenser (located outside the cabin) to the Evaporator (located inside the cabin). The pressure produced by the Compressor drives the refrigerant gas throughout the system. For this reason, the Compressor is called the heart of the Air Conditioning system. The pattern flows like this; the refrigerant gas is compressed by the Compressor and passed on to the Condenser. The gas is condensed here to cool it and increase its density. The cooled refrigerant passes to the Receiver Dryer (a part in the system that gets rid of any moisture formation in the gas). The cold refrigerant then passes to the Evaporator. The refrigerant flows through the narrow tubing design of the Evaporator Coil at a temperature of 0 degree Celsius. A fan located behind the cold Evaporator Coil blows cool air into the cabin through the air vents in the dashboard to provide immediate cooling. There is also the process of dehumidification that happens when warm air inside the cabin comes in contact with the cold surface of the Evaporator. All impurities and dust particles in the cabin-air stick to the Evaporator and get passed out along with the moisture formation on the Evaporator surface. The refrigerant that gets heated in this process passes back to the Condenser and gets cooled again. This continuous cycle provides the cooling effect inside your car whenever you switch on your car air conditioner. Although running an AC means increased fuel consumption because it is powered by the car engine but believe me, sometimes it is just worth it. I always advise people to make judicious use of their car AC to avoid crying for fuel efficiency later. A Climate Control system or Automatic Cooling in your car means that the AC is always in operation to keep the temperature inside your car at a constant level. If you can afford it, then you should let your car air conditioner do it but if you want to save fuel as well, here is something you can do. Maintain the speed of your Car AC at lower levels while driving and increase the level when the vehicle is stationary (e.g. at traffic signals). This will increase fuel efficiency while keeping your car cabin cool. Use a heat rejecting film (whether transparent or tinted) on your car windows. This will help to keep the cabin cool for longer periods of time reducing frequent use of the AC. Service your car air conditioner every six months to maintain it at peak performance. This will increase the efficiency of your car AC and in process save a lot of fuel too. When it comes to the maintenance of your Car AC, follow these basic steps to get the best use of it: Check the refrigerant level in the Air Conditioning system to avoid extra load on the engine. Replace the refrigerant if needed. Check the compressor drive belt (that connects the Compressor to the Engine) for signs of damage and monitor any changes in tension of the belt. The belt may get dried-up at times but you can put a drop of oil on the belt occasionally to keep it moist. Check all hoses and connecting pipes for hardening, bubbles, cracks and leaks. Repair minor damages as soon as possible to avoid major ones. Apart from these checks, you can maintain the coolant pressure in the AC by running it for 10 minutes every month at its highest speed and coolest setting. This will also prevent the hoses from hardening and cracking while getting rid of any blockades, dust, micro-organisms and mildew. While you do this, make sure all the car windows are open and no one is sitting inside the car. With some basic care, you can enjoy the benefits of your Car Air Conditioner for a long time and not spend anything on its maintenance or repair. James Rodham
Quality Auto Parts

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