In your vehicle, the automotive air conditioning compressor has the simple task of moving gas between the condenser and the evaporator. However, it is often considered to be the heart of the system and if this belt-driven piece of equipment fails to do its job, the entire system quits functioning as designed.
The automotive air conditioning compressor is typically attached to the engine of your vehicle and is belt driven. One of the primary causes of a failed automotive air conditioning compressor is a loose or broken belt as a loose belt may not operate the compressor properly causing lowered pressure in the system and the gas is not transferred to the system’s other components efficiently. Similar to the air conditioner in your home or office, the vehicle’s system has three main components, the automotive air conditioning compressor, a condenser and an evaporator.
The vehicles closed system contains Freon gas and the automotive air conditioning compressor pressurizes the gas, which converts it to hot, high-pressure gas and forces it into the condenser, which looks similar to the radiator in your car, to dissipate the heat condensing the hot, pressurized gas into a liquid. As it is forced through an expansion valve it evaporates into cold, low-pressure Freon gas.
Air Exchanged Inside The Vehicle
The cold gas, typically around 32-degrees, then is passed through coils in the evaporator inside the vehicle. A fan blowing across the coils sends the chilled air into the vehicle and the gas absorbs heat from inside and sends it back through the automotive air conditioning compressor to start the cycle all over again. Small leaks can cause the unintended escape of gas, which will also cause the system to work inefficiently.
Many times when the vehicle’s air conditioner is in use, there will be water dripping from the condenser’s drain visible under the vehicle, which is perfectly normal. The window air conditioning units in the house will also allow condensed water to drip to the ground and is a natural part of the unit’s operation.
Similar to the home units, if an automotive air conditioning compressor is operated when outside temperatures are below about 60-dedgrees, ice can build up on the coils, which renders the units ability to cool the inside air ineffective. Simply turning the unit off until the ice melts will restore its function. The gas running through the automotive air conditioning compressor usually has a small amount of oil included to help maintain proper lubrication inside the compressor.