Choose the Right Compressor for your Car


A car air compressor is essentially the most critical part of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Without its working properly, you will not going to enjoy a cool drive. It gains all the more importance during the warm summer days when the temperature soars really high. Increasingly hot weather puts all the more burden on the air conditioning system of your car to perform at its best, and that is where it becomes critical to have a good compressor in the car.

The car air compressor works by converting power from the car’s engine into kinetic energy for compressing and pressurizing air. It compresses and circulates the refrigerant, and sends it to your car’s air condenser so that the air conditioner of your car may operate effectively and release cool air as and when demanded.

This entire process, which is powered by your engine’s drive belt, consists of a series of important steps. At first, the compressor makes the liquid refrigerant to come under a high pressure and raises its temperature, so that it gets converted in to a gas ready to be sent to the car’s condenser. The compressor then circulates this gas into tubes where the heat from the gas is quickly released, and the hot air gets cooled down. Here, the role of condenser comes in to the picture. The condenser cools the refrigerant gas by passing air across it from outside of the car. Once the refrigerant reaches its saturation temperature, it gets cooled and changes from a gaseous form into a liquid, again.

To remove any possible moisture content, this liquid gets passed first through a dryer, and then through the car expansion valve to the evaporator. At this point of time, the pressure which was added to it in the compressor, gets released and a part of the liquid gets changed into a low-pressure gas which cools off the remaining liquid. As this two-type mixture enters the evaporator, the liquid portion of the refrigerant starts absorbing the heat from the air across the fins and evaporates. This cooled gas is used to chill your car’s cabin air as the car’s blower circulates air across the cold evaporator and into the interior. As the cooled gas changes back into liquid form, it gets returned to the compressor. The entire process gets repeated every time air conditioner of your car is switched on.

Compressors, just like any other car part, may stop being effective or may not work altogether, owing to a number of reasons. It may get worn out with the age of the car because of rugged usage over a long period of time. This may be indicated by little or no cooling being done at all by the air conditioning system of your vehicle. Leakage of refrigerant from the system, is another common cause which causes air compressor to work below its standards. It is however, difficult to locate, as the air leaks immediately evaporate into thin air without leaving any trace. Best clues in this case would be, if you are able to spot any wet oily areas around hose connections and fittings. Since the compressor is located on the underside of the bonnet, you can also look for greasy streaks there, or may be radiating outward around the compressor clutch, to figure out the point of leakage. Any such leakage spotted by you or your car mechanic would need an urgent course of action. If left unattended, it would allow the air and moisture to gain an entry into your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Reacting with the refrigerant, the moisture can form corrosive acids to cause a permanent damage to the car’s air compressor.

Last but very important, a mistake that is done quite often; leaving the car’s air compressor permanently idle for a longer duration, especially during the winter season when you don’t need cooling inside the car. As doing this can cause a significant fall in the performance as well as life span of the compressor, so it is advisable to run the air-con compressor of your car regularly, even for 5 minutes.

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