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How does air con work?

Luckily, we don’t need to have our car’s air con turned on every day here in the UK. However, it’s still important to know how it functions. With that in mind, read on to discover everything you should know regarding vehicle air conditioning.

How does air conditioning work?

You may be wondering how your vehicle’s air conditioning works, so let’s begin with the science of it all. There is a compressor located within the air conditioning system, which contains a refrigerant. This is the gas that needs to be refilled on a regular basis. The gas travels to a condenser once the AC system has been turned on, and it mixes with the fresh air from outside of the car.

The gas’ temperature drops rapidly, which results in the refrigerant liquefying. Now in liquid form, a drier gets rid of all of the impurities before it reaches a thermal expansion valve, which enables the drive to control the temperature, as they limit the liquid flow. Finally, the liquid will travel through the coils for evaporation, which turns it into a vapour that is blown into the vehicle as cool air.

The only cars that differ from this are electric cars. Your car will use electricity to power the AC, rather than using an engine to power the compressor. This requires electric car charging points installation, which we are seeing increasingly in the UK.

This is because more and more people are opting to buy electric cars because they want to help the environment. In terms of AC, the compressor sits at the front of the car and draws power from the vehicles Energy Storage System (ESS) or car battery pack.

Recharging your car’s air conditioning

It is important to get your vehicle’s air conditioning recharged on a regular basis. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Of course, the most obvious is to ensure that your air conditioning unit continues to operate efficiently and cool the cabin. However, there are other benefits too.

This includes fuel efficiency. If your air con refrigerant is low, the air conditioning system is going to find it difficult to cool the air. As a consequence, it works harder, using more fuel, in an attempt to product cold air. This will cost you more money too. Moreover, the longer you leave a recharge, the greater likelihood that you will need expensive repairs or new parts later on.

Is air con part of my service or MOT?

A lot of car owners mistakenly believe that their AC unit is checked as part of their service or MOT. Unless this is something you have requested as an extra, this won’t be the case. Air conditioning is considered a feature that is nice to have, which is why it is not covered by your MOT.

Your yearly MOT is designed to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive and, of course, the air conditioning of your vehicle does not impact this. Similarly, you won’t find air con included in standard services that are provided by your vehicle manufacturer. It is important to take care of this yourself.

Hopefully, you now understand how air conditioning works. It is so important to get your AC unit recharged on a regular basis so that it works efficiently, keeping your vehicle cool and your fuel bills low.

** This is a collaborative post

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