When summer rolls around, it can get pretty hot. Whether you’re commuting to and from work or heading out on a family road trip, you want to be comfortable and cool in your car. At Master Muffler, we can prepare your car’s air conditioning for the sweltering summer season, ensuring a nice cool breeze and a comfortable ride for you and your family.  

How Your Car’s A/C Works

air conditioning vent in car

Your air conditioning system primarily works through cycling refrigerant through high and low pressure, utilizing the rapid cooling that happens when it expands from a liquid to a gas form. Most cars’ air conditioning systems are made of these parts:

  • Compressor: The compressor takes the refrigerant when it’s in a gas form and pressurizes it, and pumps it through the system. Powered by the serpentine belt, the compressor is the core component of any cooling system.
  • Condenser: From the compressor, gaseous refrigerant moves to the condenser, which transforms it from gas to liquid form. The condenser looks very much like a radiator and can produce a lot of heat as it removes it from the high-pressure refrigerant.
  • Receiver-Drier: The receiver filters the now-liquid, highly-pressurized refrigerant in order to remove debris or water. These extra elements can damage the air conditioning system.
  • Thermal Expansion Valve OR Orifice Tube: Most cars’ A/C systems are similar, however, there is some variability in whether they use an orifice tube or a thermal expansion valve. In either case, both of these devices perform the same function: to monitor the flow of refrigerant and relieve pressure so that the refrigerant can expand into gas form.
  • Evaporator: The evaporator is there for the beautiful moment when the liquid refrigerant rapidly expands, quickly cooling the air. Usually, the evaporator is located right behind your dash, equipped with fins and pipes that also make it resemble a radiator. A blower fan pushes air over the evaporator and straight into your car’s cabin.

From there, the refrigerant is drawn into the compressor in order to cycle through the system, again and again, providing you with fresh, cool air.

Time to cool down

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Understanding Refrigerant

Refrigerant is used because it evaporates at a low temperature, and condenses at a higher temperature. Refrigerant is a word used to describe any element that can be boiled into a vapor and then compressed into a liquid. This means that water is a refrigerant (and indeed, we take advantage of its cooling properties all the time.) However, other elements that are used specifically for cooling have a lower boiling point (or temperature at which they evaporate) and condense at a higher temperature. This allows for a faster cooling effect which gives us the chill of an air conditioner. Almost all air conditioners today use a freon refrigerant called R-134A, which replaced the old R-12 when it was found to hurt the ozone layer with CFC byproducts.

Maintaining Your Air Conditioning System

Many professionals recommend having your A/C checked every year. An A/C checkup can ensure the efficiency of your car, since running the air conditioner does take energy from the engine and cost you extra gas. Yearly checks can identify leaks early, which makes them easier and cheaper to fix, preventing a single broken component from compromising the whole air conditioning system. Come by any of our 16 Master Muffler locations today. We can give your air conditioning system a checkup. If we detect any problems, we can get your system back to top function in time for summer. Browse our locations here, and check out our coupons page for great offers and deals.

Give Us a Call Today

Whether your A/C is blowing warm, you’re noticing a strange smell, or there’s just not air coming out of the vents, call us today. Our staff has the expertise to quickly identify and fix the problem.

(801) 503-0049
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