The compressor is possibly the most important element to guarantee the correct operation of the vehicle’s air conditioning system. Also known as a heat pump, its function is to compress the gas that enables heat transfer from one part to another within the system. Do you want to know? How does an ac compressor work in a car?
An ac compressor is a device that uses energy to create a pressurized gas. This gas is then used to power various systems in a car, such as the air conditioning unit. For this system to work, the compressor must first be able to break down the air into its parts. This is done using a series of blades to chop the air into very small pieces.
How to use an air conditioning system in a car?
In a car, the air conditioning system uses an ac compressor to create cold air. The compressor takes in air from the outside and pushes it through the condenser coil to cool it down. The cooled air is then released out of the car’s ventilation system.
Its correct operation is essential to enjoy the proper air conditioning inside the passenger compartment.
Air conditioning in cars works with a compressor driven by the engine. Each time the air conditioning is turned on, it subtracts horsepower from the vehicle due to the horsepower (hp) of the engine. It is an important query to the mind-how does an ac compressor work in a car.
The compressor is an essential element for the operation of the air conditioner. In other words, if the compressor does not work, the air will not come out cold.
What is an air conditioning compressor in cars?
An air conditioning compressor is a pump that generates heat by putting air conditioning refrigerant at extremely high pressure. It is responsible for increasing the pressure on a fluid and thus being able to transport the fluid through a pipe.
The air conditioning works with refrigerant gas, and the compressor is the part that is responsible for compressing and decompressing the refrigerant gas, causing it to spread throughout the circuit.
When does your car begin to break down?
When the air conditioning compressor fails or stops working, there are several ways to detect it. These are the most common.
- The air is not blowing cold
- Coolant leaks
- The burnt smell coming through the vents
- Dash warning lights
- An overheated engine idling
It is often impossible to identify these problems before the compressor stops working, but we can prevent the compressor from breaking down if we maintain the air conditioner properly. So all the users need to know is how an ac compressor works in a car.
Repairs and replacements of air conditioners can be expensive.
Your air conditioner will last longer if you do the following.
Rationing system, it is advisable to have a specialized mechanic do the maintenance, which should be every 9,000 miles, according to experts.
Air conditioning compressors work as follows:
There are different air conditioning systems, but the most common integrated with modern cars or those with external 12v car air conditioning systems are driven by the engine’s ribbed belt.
From that moment on, the compressor drives the refrigerant from the evaporator to compress it at a low temperature in a gaseous state.
It goes to the condenser, where it is subjected to high pressure and very high temperatures.
For this process to occur, the compressor must show an adequate level of lubrication. Otherwise, the system will likely experience a bug whose translation could become a major bug. One of the causes that can lead to this situation is prolonged use of the air system compressor with an insufficient amount of refrigerant gas, for example, to a leak inside the system.
The compressor’s efficiency level directly influences the operation of the air conditioning system, leveling the energy consumption derived from the start-up of its function.
Types of compressors for air conditioning in cars:
Depending on their composition and nature, we distinguish up to three types of air conditioning compressors.
Rotary spiral compressor:
In this case, the compression of the air is carried out through a spiral-shaped rotor that works together with another. It is surely the most outstanding modality in terms of energy efficiency.
Rotary screw compressor:
We are talking about rotors geared together with opposite rotation directions. The male rotor has four lobes meshed with the six sockets of the female rotor. The rotating movement of the rotors causes the gas to move from one end of the gear to the other.
Rotary piston compressor:
In this case, we are talking about two concentric axes corresponding to the motor and the stater and one eccentric, that of the rotor.
When these last two come into contact, the vapor sucked into the compressor occupies the gap between the rotor and stator, compressing itself until the pressure causes the exhaust valve to open, causing it to be discharged from the system.
In this type of compressor, the centrifugal force from the speed with which the fluid from the blades passes to the rotor is used, which causes an increase in pressure. If we talked about speeds around 3000 rpm in previous cases, we would go up to 30,000 rpm in centrifugal compressors. As we can see, we are talking about machines prepared to handle important gas loads with low compression ratios.
What is the process of installing an a/c compressor in a car?
Take the serpentine belt off the compressor pulley and locate the AC compressor. You may need a serpentine belt tool to work the tensioner and relieve pressure on the belt to remove it.
You will need to evacuate the refrigerant using a recovery machine from the system. Recovery machines are specialized equipment limited to air conditioning shops; you may need to bring your vehicle in for this step before proceeding.
It is necessary to remove the negative battery cable from its post.
How to secure the refrigerant line
- Remove the bolt from the compressor that secures the refrigerant lines and inspect the lines carefully for dirt or signs of wear.
- Disconnect the electrical connections from the compressor.
- Remove the compressor mounting bolts and remove the unit from the vehicle.
- Install the new compressor in reverse order. The warranty may also require replacing the orifice tube and receiver/dryer.
- Install and tighten compressor mounting bolts and connect electrical connectors.
- Replace o-rings on coolant tubes and lubricate with proper oil.
- Reinstall the coolant lines and put the belt back on the pulley.
- Vacuum through the system to remove any residual atmospheric air or moisture. You will need a vacuum pump and manifold gauges for this.
There will be hoses connecting to the low and high sides of the system; these two connectors are of different sizes, so there is no way to go wrong. The yellow hose from the gauges will connect to the vacuum pump. It would help if you kept all connections airtight.
Open the valve on the low side gauge while the pump is running; you will hear a change in tone from the pump motor as it begins to draw a vacuum. Close the valve after the pump runs for about 30 minutes; the mercury level should be 28 to 29 inches. Anything less can indicate that there is a leak in the system.
Once the vacuum is obtained, charge the system by:
Reconnect the battery and connect the yellow hose to the barrel or can of refrigerant.
Turn the barrel or can upside down, so the liquid refrigerant flows through the can valve.
Start and run the engine while monitoring the gauges (never at any time open the high side valve).
Place a thermometer in the indoor AC vent while running the system on maximum settings and high fan speed. Your AC is charged when the system cools down to 30-36 degrees.
The most frequent failures of the air conditioning compressor in repaired and old cars
As we have been commenting, the air conditioning compressor is one of the most important mechanical components of a vehicle since the correct functioning of the air system directly depends on it.
Final thoughts: On How does an ac compressor work in a car.
Some of the most common failures in its operation can be caused by damage to the belt, breakage of the component’s clutch, jamming of its partial valves, or a coolant leak in the system. Damaged cables can be another of the most common causes.
To avoid this type of problem, you should carry out comprehensive vehicle maintenance. Use a high-quality coolant and know-how to lubricate it correctly.