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OEM Part Info - Air Conditioning Components

There are five main components in an automotive air conditioning system – an evaporator, accumulator, compressor, condenser, and expansion valve.

Air Conditioning System Explained

As your car interior is being cooled by your A/C system, here’s what’s happening:

1. It starts with your vehicle’s AC Compressor, which compresses refrigerant so it can readily “give up” heat.

2. The highly pressurized refrigerant gives up heat in the AC Condenser, which discharges heat from the fluid into the air outside your vehicle.

3. The cooler refrigerant enters the AC Accumulator, which “dries” the refrigerant and removes any bit of moisture in the coolant. Moisture is bad for your vehicle’s AC system, as it can destroy a compressor in short order.

4. The refrigerant next enters the expansion valve, where it is allowed to depressurize even more. As the refrigerant depressurizes, it becomes significantly colder.

5. The much colder refrigerant now enters the AC Evaporator, where warm interior air is blown across the evaporator coil and cooled.

6. Finally, the refrigerant circulates back to the AC compressor where the cycle begins again.

How To Save Money on AC Repairs

First, it’s a good idea to use your vehicle’s AC system on a regular basis. If you turn on your AC once a month – and let it run for at least 10 minutes – it will operate reliably for a long time.

Second, it’s a good idea to shut off your AC system a few minutes before you shut off your vehicle. This helps remove moisture from the system, preventing both damage and also the growth of mold, fungus, and bacteria, which can cause your AC system to smell bad.

Finally, if you have to buy a replacement AC part, consider remanufactured parts. Remanufactured AC compressors, for example, can save you 10-20% over a new part while delivering identical performance.