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Auto Air Conditioning Repair

Auto Air Conditioning Repair basics:

At Brown’s Alignment we can handle all of your auto air conditioning repair needs. Your vehicle’s air conditioning system components include an air compressor, evaporator, condenser, orifice tube or expansion valve and a receiver dryer or accumulator. Of course there are A/C lines connecting the various components. You’re A/C system contains a liquid refrigerant and a small amount of oil lubricant. At Brown’s Alignment we can handle all of your auto air conditioning repair needs. Your air conditioning compressor converts this liquid into a gas. There are different types of refrigerant. Your house uses a different refrigerant then your car. Automotive refrigerant has evolved over the years to be more environmentally friendly. Your vehicle’s A/C system is a closed system and refrigerant is not burned or used up. So, if your air conditioning system does not develop a leak then the refrigerant would last indefinitely. Cool air coming out of the vents for most cars should be between 40 and 60 degrees. Each car requires a specific amount of refrigerant. If the A/C system has too little or too much refrigerant it will not cool properly. The proper way to check a system is to evacuate the system and the recharge it with the proper amount of refrigerant. Here at Brown’s Alignment we are experts in auto air conditioning repair. When we evacuate and recharge an air conditioning system we also add a dye to help locate the source of a leak. Once the leak is found then we can give you an estimate for repairing the leak.


Auto Air Conditioning Repair Components:

1. Air Conditioning Compressor: The compressor pressurizes / compresses the liquid refrigerant turning it into a gas and pushes it into the condenser. As it moves through the condenser the gas releases the heat it Auto Air Conditioning comressor repair Raleigh ncbuilt up from being compressed. As the heat is released it cools. The cooled gas is what produces the cold air for inside the vehicle. As the gas continues to cool it turns back into a liquid and returns to the compressor to start the process over again. The compressor is driven by a belt which is driven by the engine. The compressor has an electronically controlled clutch which turns the compressor on and off based on the car’s air settings and the outside air temperature.
TROUBLE SIGNS: Rattling or grinding noise means the compressors clutch is worn and ready to fail. Fluid leaks can be A/C oil, refrigerant which can not usually be seen. Dyes are added to the system to help identify leaks. The dye is easier to see with the use of a black light. Other signs include inconsistent cooling or not cooling at all. Most compressors have a safety mechanism that prevents them from coming on if the refrigerant level gets too low. Anytime a compressor is replaced the filters should be replaced and the system should be flushed. When compressors go bad they often come apart internally and contaminate the entire ac system.

2. Condenser: The condenser looks similar to a radiator on a smaAC repair Brown's Alignment Brake and auto repair Raleighller scale. It is normally located in front of the radiator. (Refrigerant circulates through a condenser while antifreeze/coolant circulates through the radiator). The condenser is where the heated refrigerant gases cool and change back to a colder gas and then circulate into the receiver dryer.
TROUBLE SIGNS: Poor A/C performance will result from a condenser with leaks or blockages. If the refrigerant cannot circulate it cannot do its job.

3. Receiver dryer: The receiver dryer is a filter in the high pressure side of the ac system. It is used with systems that also use an expansion valve. It is usually located between the condenser and the expansion valve although some are connected or made directly to the condenser. This filter removes debris but its Air conditioning repair raleigh nc receiver dryermain function is to remove moisture. The filter inside the receiver dryer is a desiccant which absorbs moisture. Moisture in the ac system can cause corrosion and also make the compressor’s lubricating oil less effective. The receiver dryer can only absorb so much moisture so it should be replaced every time a component is replaced.

4. Accumulator: The accumulator is similar to the receiver dryer in that it is also a filter. It is usually twice the size of the receiver dryer. The accumulator is located after the evaporator on the low pressure side of the air conditioning system. The accumulator’s main job is to collect the liquid refrigerant before it enters the compressor. A system using an accumulator will also have an orifice tube (not an expansion valve). The accumulator also collects debris and moisture. It should also be replaced every time the A/C system is repaired.

5. Expansion Valve or Orifice Tube: The expansion valve or orifice tube is located before the inlet to the evaporator. The expansion valve controls how much refrigerant is allowed into the evaporator based on the air conditioning system’s temperature and pressure. It controls and changes the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator. The orifice tube also allows refrigerant into the evaporator but does so at a fixed rate and cannot change the rate. An orifice tube also acts as a filter as it has a screen made into it. The most common problem with either of these devices is becoming clogged or stopped up.

6. Evaporator: The evaporator is located in your dash and is the component that is cooling the air entering the cab of the car. The dash blower blows air over the evaporator which cools the air as it is blown through the vehicles vents.

7. AC Lines: Auto Air conditioning lines connect the various components of your A/C system together. The most common problems with these lines are leaks.

8. Refrigerant: Refrigerant is what your auto air conditioning system runs on. Home refrigerant is different than car refrigerant. The original automobile refrigerant was R-12, commonly referred to as Freon. Freon is a registered trade name of DuPont. The R-12 freon was made with chlorofluorocarbons which were determined to be hazardous to the ozone. About 1992 the R-12 freon was phased out and replaced with R134a refrigerant. This was much more environmentally friendly but still not perfect. The 134r when released into the air can stay in the atmosphere for about 13 years before breaking down. Starting in 2013 a new automotive refrigerant called HFO-1234yf is being introduced. This refrigerant if released into the atmosphere breaks down in about 11 days. Car makers can receive greenhouse gas credits if they use the new refrigerant in cars from 2013 through 2016. Beginning in 2017 the new 1234yf refrigerant will be mandatory. It is touted to be 98 % more environmentally safe then the R134a. The 1234yf refrigerants predicted drawbacks are that it is more flammable then the R134a and it may not cool as quite as well. The 2 refrigerants cannot be combined, meaning you cannot top off a 134a system with the 1234yf refrigerant.


If you are interested in the environmental effects of refrigerant on the environment click here for a link to the EPA – Environmental Protection Agency’s page regarding “Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning”.