San Antonio is a hot place. At Auto Service Experts, our mission is to keep you cool.
In San Antonio, automobile air conditioning is not a luxury, it is a necessity. If your air conditioner is not 'blowing ice cubes' as we sometimes say, you might need to bring it in to Auto Service Experts.
How your car's Air Conditioning Systems WorkThe air conditioning compressor is the 'heart' of the AC system, and Freon is the 'blood'. The compressor pumps Freon throughout the AC system, either the older type R12 which costs as much as gold it seems these days, or the new
environmentally-friendly R134A Freon. This Freon is a gas and liquid combination that is compressed and circulated throughout the air conditioning system. The compressed Freon is pushed through the system under pressure and is passed through different sized metal and rubber hoses and a special valve called an expansion valve that cause the gas to expand and contract. The compressor takes in cool gas into its suction port and pressurizes it at its discharge port. The compressor is powered by a drive belt from the engine. The compressor has an electrically operated engagement clutch to either turn the refrigeration operation off or on. Output = high pressure (hot) gas.
Next is the condensor. The condenser is located in front of the radiator (and kind of looks like a radiator too). Through the use of cool air flow provided by the engine fan, the condensor cools the hot gas and converts it to liquid. The liquid is still under considerable pressure and is warm, but not as hot or as high pressure as when it exited the compressor. Output = high pressure (warm) liquid
EXPANSION VALVE SYSTEM - The exiting liquid is sent via a small tube (liquid line) to a receiver/drier (applies only to an expansion valve system). The drier is a can with a desiccant bag inside. It looks about the size of a soda can, and is usually located very near the condensor outlet pipe. There is no pressure/temperature change at the receiver/drier. Output = same as condensor, but moisture is removed by desiccant.
Now comes the magic! As the high pressure, warm liquid exits the drier, it passes through an expansion device. It can either be an expansion valve (which modulates refrigerant flow in an expansion valve/drier system), or a fixed expansion orifice tube in a cycling clutch/orifice tube system (which expands at the same rate all the time). The two systems have slight have slight functional differences, mainly in how the low temperature is maintained. Well any way, for illustration, the pressurized liquid passes through the expansion device, the pressure is reduced considerably; hence the temperature drops also. Output = Cold Liquid. The following paragraph describes the expansion valve
CYCLING CLUTCH/ORIFICE TUBE SYSTEM - The exiting liquid is sent via a small liquid line DIRECTLY to an expansion ORIFICE TUBE. The orifice tube is fixed, therefore the proportional pressure drop across it will constant. This type of expansion device must work in conjunction with a clutch cycling switch. Because the pressure drop across the orifice tube is constant, the switch is used to maintain the system low pressure side in a certain operating range. The cycling clutch switch, through various pressure changes in the system, turns the compressor off and on during normal operation. A typical operation would have the switch turn the compressor on at about 45 psi and off at 25 degrees. This would maintain the evaporator refrigerant at temperatures around 35-45 degrees F.
The next step is evaporator operation. As the cold liquid exits the expansion device, it is fed to a heat exchanger type device under the dash that blows warm air from the car interior across it. The cold liquid refrigerant is what cools the air you feel coming out of the ducts. As the air is cooled in the heat exchanger, the liquid refrigerant is heated in the other side of the heat exchanger and then it evaporates.
ACCUMULATOR - Only used in orifice tube system. It contains a desiccant bag also. The accumulator provides a similar function as the drier in the expansion valve system, but is located in the evaporator outlet instead. This positioning allows the accumulator to collect any un-evaporated refrigerant that may still be in the liquid state, hence protecting the compressor from liquid lock damage.
The evaporated gas then returns via the LARGE tube to the compressor "suction" port to begin this whole process again. At Auto Service Experts we specialize in auto air conditioning repairs and are always willing to take the time perform a FREE A/C Check on your car to make sure your family stays cool.
Air Conditioning ServiceWhen to Service:
• Annually before the weather warms
• When you notice performance beginning to deteriorate
The Service Includes:
• An in depth inspection of lines and hoses
• Test and record the systems high and low pressure readings
• Check and record the temperature of the air from the air conditioning
vents at maximum cool setting
• Refrigerant cleansing; because refrigerants are harmful to the
environment, we take special care according to our Environmentally
Sustainable Actions Certification Program and use the proper recovery
machines to ensure that none of the material escapes during service.
• By keeping your air conditioner properly maintained you will reduce
repair costs for compressor and all other components.
The Environmental Protection Agency determined that the refrigerant Freon also known as R-12 or CFC-12 was damaging the ozone layer and stopped production of the material. Now R-12 Freon is hard to find and very expensive. Although most vehicles produced before 1995 use R-12 in their air conditioning systems our Technicians can retrofit your vehicle to the new approved R134a. R134a is a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. This retrofit is more cost effective than attempting to repair the older systems.
R134a Retrofit ServiceThe Service Includes:
• Case by case evaluation on what will be needed
• R-12 Freon is recovered along with the R-12 oil and properly disposed
according to EPA regulations
• The system is flushed
• Install the R134a retrofit kit (a small number of vehicles may require
different seals and hoses)
• Evacuate and recharge the system with R134a refrigerant and
• Install mandatory retrofit labeling
• Considerable reduced cost to service you're A/C system in the future
• Environment protection
Retrofitting for cost and environmental savings can be done even if your older air conditioning system is functioning. However, a retrofit will not fix a broken air conditioning system.