How Does the Air Conditioning in My Car Work?

It’s something that we always turn on without a second thought. But, once you start your A/C, there’s a lot that goes on beneath the surface. That small A/C button has activated a system that keeps you comfortable, and we hope to help you learn more about your car’s air conditioning.

How does your car’s AC work?

Parts of the Air Conditioning System

Air conditioners work the same way in most cars. All systems run on refrigerant, utilize gas, and have these parts:

  • Compressor: Responsible for compressing the refrigerant into a liquid. 
  • Condenser: Removes the heat from the refrigerant and pushes it to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube: Returns the refrigerant to its original gaseous state and moves it to the receiver or accumulator.
  • Receiver or accumulator: Responsible for removing moisture from the refrigerant and transferring it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator: Pulls heat from the air passing through its core and transfers it into the refrigerant, resulting in cold air.

Is Using Your Air Conditioning Fuel Efficient?

You’ve probably heard that using your car’s A/C isn’t fuel-efficient. However, in some instances, using your car’s air conditioning is the most fuel-efficient option. When you’re driving on the highway, using your car’s A/C is more efficient than leaving the windows open. This is because your car has to work harder to account for the wind getting into your car. The harder your car works, the more gas it consumes. This is good news for drivers who like using the air conditioning but are worried about burning too much fuel. 

How to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Even if you enjoy using the A/C when not on the highway, it’s no problem. There are other ways to improve your fuel efficiency. When you’re enjoying the open road, do take these steps to improve your fuel efficiency:

  • Brake gradually
  • Limit time idling
  • Make sure tires are properly inflated
  • Keep the carload light
  • Use sun reflectors when parking in a sunny spot 
  • Reduce your speed
  • Stay on top of car maintenance

Here to Help Throughout the Summer

Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions is standing by, ready to help your car throughout the summer. If you need your A/C repaired or want to change your car’s filters, we can do it all. We’re a local MD auto repair company, and we’re here to serve you. Contact us now to schedule your appointment. 

 

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