Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Work Truck Working As Hard As You Do
Firestone Complete Auto Care is your local
A/C service & repair shop.
The air conditioning system in your home or office is very similar to how vehicle A/C works. While some of the mechanical components function a bit differently, the A/C in a car, home, or office all serve the same purpose: to cool the air and remove moisture. A car air conditioner “conditions” the air inside the cabin to keep you comfortable.
You may think that the car A/C system creates the cold air that pours from the vents. In reality, it’s more accurate to say that the A/C in cars and trucks removes heat from the existing air inside the vehicle.
The compressor pressurizes incoming high-temperature, low-pressure refrigerant in its gaseous form and turns it into high-pressure liquid as it is sent to the condenser. The pressure can be as high as 300 PSI.
The high-pressure liquid refrigerant is pumped through the winding tubes of the condenser where the large temperature differential with the outside air removes latent heat from the refrigerant before it moves onto the receiver/dryer.
The receiver/dryer (or accumulator in some models) removes any moisture found within the refrigerant and traps any contaminants that could potentially damage the system.
From the receiver, refrigerant enters the expansion valve (or orifice tube on car’s with an accumulator) where it slows down and is cooled even further before being sent to the evaporator.
The newly-heated refrigerant expands into a low-pressure gaseous state before being sent back to the compressor to begin the cycle all over again.
Thermodynamics are great, but you may not think so if you’re experiencing a face full of funky-smelling hot air pouring through the air conditioning vents. Here are three signs your A/C may need a recharge or repairs.
If there’s an odd smell coming from your A/C, there may be mold inside the system. The presence of mold likely means there’s water inside the system where there shouldn't be. It may be that you have a damp and dirty A/C filter that needs replacing or a blocked drain inside the evaporator. Bring your vehicle into your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care to find and eliminate the source of the unwelcome smell.
If your car air conditioner is only blowing hot air even on “max A/C” mode, it could be that there's a refrigerant leak, the compressor has stopped working, or the fans have stopped working.
Additionally, there may be widespread internal failure of the system —though this option is the worst case scenario. When moisture mixes with refrigerant, it combines to make a highly corrosive substance that eats away at the inside of your A/C system. The rubber seals will usually be the first parts to fail, which can compromise cooling and let in more moisture.
From there the acid may corrode the compressor and other parts, spreading harmful metal debris throughout the system. Eventually, what started as a little moisture and hot air could result in complete failure of the A/C system. If your vents are blowing hot air, bring your car in for A/C service and repairs before things get worse.
Weak air flow —or no air flow at all —may indicate blockage somewhere in the A/C system, restriction in the evaporator core, or the blower motor is failing.
Whether you just need an A/C recharge or full-on repairs, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care to have our expert technicians complete an A/C Performance Check. We’ll quickly diagnose any issues and discuss all your repair options in detail.