How Does Car Air Conditioning Work?

Just pressing a button, we enjoy the cool air inside our AC car. It is impressive, but this technology is not a newer thing for luxury cars. In addition, day by day, the system of AC for the car is developing. But how does the car air conditioning system work? 

However, the easy way to know the function of your car’s AC system is to learn the components of the air conditioning system. It is a tremendous technical process where many parts work together to run the operation. So, here we have discussed everything you need to know about your car’s air conditioning system.

Parts of the AC of a car

Let’s know the main parts of the car air condition system. Then, it will be helpful enough to answer the question, “how does car air conditioning work?”


It is the lifeblood of the automotive air conditioning system. It can change its condition and can become liquid from the gas. The refrigerant cools down the car by absorbing heat from inside. Then it releases heat to the outside. 

If any leak is available here, you have to repair it quickly. For example, leaking of refrigerants is a common problem of AC cars. 


The car AC compressor
is an essential part of the AC system. It works as a pump. The compressor takes low-pressure gas and then compresses it. The clatch of the compressor controls compressor power. However, a compressor also has some parts. 

As the parts are moving, you need to change them when they wear out. After compressing the gas to high pressure and temperature, it sends the gas to the condenser. 


From the compressor, the refrigerant goes to the condenser. The pressurized refrigerant seems hot. Now its work is to take the heat out of the AC. It is like a mini radiator. However, an airflow system is available around the
automotive air conditioner condenser

This air makes the refrigerant cool. The refrigerant turns cool high-pressure liquid because the condenser condenses it at low temperature. 

Dryer/ accumulator

It is also called the receiver. This part has two points such as inlet and outlet. However, the availability of this part depends on the car model. The vehicles that come with thermal expansion valves or orifice tubes also have an accumulator.

However, the main work of this part is to make the liquid and gas separated. If other liquids enter into the dryer, it can get damaged. It also monitors the refrigerant amount and also removes moisture from it. 

Orifice tube

The car with a dryer must have a thermal expansion valve, and the car with an accumulator has an orifice tube. The location of this part is between the condenser and evaporator. The main job of this part is to monitor the pressure and temperature of
the car AC unit

It also calculates the right amount of refrigerant that is safe for the evaporator.


It is another crucial part of
air conditioning in a car. It is behind the vehicle’s dashboard. It cools down the air when air comes to the car cabin. 

How does car air conditioning work?

You already have an idea about how does car air conditioning works. Let’s know some details.

We can divide the process into two stages. It will help you to understand easily.

High-Pressure Stage

Refrigerant is the main component of
the auto air conditioning system. In the past, freon was the most popular refrigerant. But it contains carbon, fluorine, and chlorine, which are very harmful to the ozone layer. So, it is now a banned product.

The replacements of this freon are now available and are called R-134a, HFC-134a. etc. However, we know that the compressor is attached to the crankshaft with a belt. When refrigerant goes to the compressor, pressure works to condense it. 

The condenser of the system worked as a radiator and pressurized the gas and cool down it. Thus, the gas becomes liquid. Then the refrigerant goes to the receiver for further steps. Here, desiccants are available to dry the liquid. 

Low-Pressure Stage

After going to the dryer, the liquid goes through expansion tubes. Here the refrigerant expands before going to the evaporator. As the expansion valve is a moving part of an AC, it is a commonly serviced part. After overtime, it can wear out. 

The evaporator is the place where both of the stages come. We know the location of the evaporator. It converts the coolant from liquid to gas. After becoming gas, it comes out from the evaporator as a cold gas. 

Thus, the ac of a car works.

Common AC system problems

The automotive AC system works under pressure. For this reason, it needs to be sealed completely. If anything enters into the refrigerant, it can get contaminated and cause a total system failure. 

If you find any leak in car ac components, you should repair it as soon as possible. Then change the old refrigerant with new to fix the problem permanently. System leaks also can cause compressor damage. If there is too little refrigerant, the compressor can get damaged.

When you need to repair an auto air conditioner

Maintenance is essential to keep the AC system of your car working. The most common problem of this system is the leakage of refrigerant. It can damage other parts such as the compressor, evaporator. The fan may not work correctly.

If you find that your AC system does not provide you with enough cool air, you need to repair it. 


To keep your car’s AC system well, it needs regular maintenance. For this, know-how does car air conditioning work. It helps you to learn every part of the system. Then quickly know how a problem can occur. Take care of the AC and enjoy fresh air on the hottest day trip. 

Frequently asked question

What are the main parts of a car AC system?

Ans: Refrigerant, compressor, evaporator, orifice tube, dryer are the essential parts of a car AC system.

What causes compressor problems?

Ans: Leakage of refrigerant mainly causes compressor problems.

When should you repair the automotive AC system?

Ans: When my car’s AC fails to provide enough cool air, I should take my car to the repair shop to repair the AC. 

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