Everything You Need to Know About Your Car’s AC

Summers in the Cache Valley and Southeastern Idaho can get hot. To be as comfortable as possible, your car needs air conditioning, or AC. While a car’s AC system works similarly to the one in your home, there are some differences. Understanding everything you can about your car’s AC will ensure that you know when to ask for professional help.

The rest of this guide will cover everything you need to know about your car’s AC. However, if you still have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to Ethan’s Honest Automotive. Our experts will happily answer your questions and ensure you have the information you need to keep your AC running well for a long time.

What is the AC?

Air conditioning is a purely 20th-century technology. Home air conditioners were first invented in 1902. However, they were not put into cars until 1940. Packard was the first manufacturer to offer air conditioning as an option.

Car air conditioning took off in popularity, as its main purpose is to keep your vehicle cool. This function is especially important in warm climates or those that get hot in the summer. The inside of a car can get hot, and sometimes, an open window just does not help.

Additionally, the car’s AC controls the humidity levels inside the car. It does this by removing heat and moisture from the air, thereby cooling and dehumidifying it. This process creates a comfortable and pleasant environment for passengers and the driver.

How Does the AC System Work? 

ACs are an indispensable part of a vehicle. Yet, it is not a single component. Instead, the air conditioning is a system comprised of multiple parts. We have listed the most important of these below.

  • Compressor: The compressor pressurizes and circulates refrigerant, typically a gas called R-134a. Experts often refer to it as the heart of the AC system.
  • Condenser: Located in front of the car’s radiator, the condenser releases heat from the hot, pressurized refrigerant, causing it to condense into a liquid.
  • Evaporator: Positioned inside the car’s dashboard, the evaporator allows the liquid refrigerant to expand and evaporate, absorbing heat from the air inside the vehicle.
  • Expansion valve: This component regulates the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator, controlling the temperature.
  • Blower fan: The blower fan is responsible for moving air over the evaporator coils, allowing the cooled air to circulate through the cabin.
  • Controls and settings: Most cars come equipped with a control panel or dashboard interface that allows the driver and passengers to adjust the desired temperature, fan speed, and airflow direction.

The most important component of a car’s AC is the refrigerant. Without it, your AC system will not work, and your car will remain too hot. Because of its importance, most manufacturers recommend replacing the refrigerant every 1-2 years. Keeping to this schedule will ensure that the refrigerant levels remain stable and that it never gets too dirty. Consult your owner’s manual or the experts at Ethan’s Honest Automotive to learn the recommended maintenance schedule for your car’s refrigerant and AC system.

Signs You Have a Problem With Your AC

All complex systems are prone to problems. This fact is no different for a car’s AC. As you learned in the previous section, there are a lot of important parts in a car’s AC. If any of them fail, your AC could work less efficiently or not blow cold air at all.

If you notice any of the following signs, you likely have an AC problem. Contact a professional, like those at Ethan’s Honest Automotive, immediately for help.

  • Weak airflow: If the AC is running, but the airflow is weak, it could be due to a clogged cabin air filter, a malfunctioning blower motor, or blocked air ducts.
  • Warm air: When an AC blows warm air, it may indicate low refrigerant levels, a faulty compressor, or a refrigerant leak.
  • Warm air at idle: Sometimes, an AC will blow cold air while driving but become warm at idle. This issue may indicate a problem with the cooling fan, low refrigerant levels, or a clogged condenser.
  • Unusual noises: Strange noises like hissing, rattling, or clicking can indicate various issues, including a refrigerant leak, loose components, or a failing compressor.
  • Strange smells: Foul odors from the AC vents could be the result of mold or mildew growth in the evaporator, a dirty cabin air filter, or a problem with the AC drain.
  • Cycling: Low refrigerant levels, a malfunctioning pressure switch, or electrical issues could cause rapid cycling on and off. This issue can lead to inconsistent cooling.
  • Leaking refrigerant: If you notice refrigerant pooling under your car or experience reduced cooling performance, there may be a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant leaks can be serious, as refrigerant levels that are too low can damage the entire AC system.
  • Dashboard warning lights: Some modern vehicles can detect AC system issues. If they discover a problem, a warning light will appear on the dashboard.

Why Choose Ethan’s For Your Car’s AC Maintenance?

At Ethan’s Honest Automotive, we are vehicle AC experts. With decades of experience in the industry, our professionals know the best and most efficient ways to solve your AC problems. If you are worried about your AC malfunctioning in the Cache Valley and southeastern Idaho, you need to contact Ethan’s Honest Automotive right away.

When you work with Ethan’s Honest Automotive, you can trust our advice. We only recommend maintenance and repair work that your vehicle actually needs. We are known for our integrity and honesty.

Additionally, our experts can find a solution to problems with both foreign and domestic vehicles. It does not matter what your make and model. We have the solution for you. If you are looking for a mechanic that values relationships first, family, integrity & honesty, dedication to excellence, learning & growing, community involvement, and charity & consideration, then you should try Ethan’s Honest Automotive. Let us help you get your AC system in peak working order so that you never have to drive in a hot car again!

Services provided by Ethan’s include:

A/C Service
Windshield Wipers/Washer Fluid
Wheel Bearings
Differential Services
Coolant Flushes
Transmission Services
Tune Ups
Brake and power steering services
Timing Belts
Tie Rods
Rack and pinion
Ball Joints
4-Wheel Drive