Our Sioux Falls automotive repair shop has some of the finest and most trustworthy ASE and AAA-approved mechanics to repair and service your vehicle’s AC System. By getting your car, truck, van or SUV’s air conditioning system serviced at 12th Street Auto Care Center, your satisfaction is guaranteed — and you’ll be saving money to boot. Our mechanics are specially trained to examine and repair any vehicle make and model, so bring your car in today for top-of-the-line service.
There are a lot of parts that go into keeping your car’s cabin cool. But keeping cool on warm days is about more than just being comfortable. 12th Street Auto Care Center wants you to be both comfortable and safe. That means our ASE-certified mechanics will inspect every aspect of your vehicle’s air conditioning system What are those components? Here are the major ones.
A vehicle’s air conditioning system begins with the AC compressor. It is the unit in the cycle that makes the refrigerant hot and highly pressurized, then pumps it into the condenser. On most vehicles, AC compressors operate with an engine accessory belt. If a compressor is working correctly, your air conditioner should be at peak performance. If the AC is failing to blow out cold air, the belt could have slipped, be overly worn or refrigerant could be leaking.
Signs of a failing compressor include: higher cabin temperatures than what is normal, loud noises when the AC is running, and an unmoving compressor clutch.
Once the pressurized and gaseous refrigerant leaves the compressor, it winds through the radiator-like condenser and becomes a liquid. Air from the exterior of the car passes through the condenser and helps the refrigerant cool down. The cooled liquid refrigerant leaves the condenser and enters the dryer, which is also called the receiver. If cool air isn’t blowing into the cabin of your car, it could be that the air conditioning condenser is clogged or the cooling fan is disabled.
Signs of a failing condenser include: your car overheating while being idle, a burning smell while the AC is on, and lukewarm air blowing out of your dashboard.
Before the refrigerant becomes cool again, it gets filtered through the receiver, also called the dryer. Here, the receiver traps any moisture that may have been circulating inside the AC System with the refrigerant. It also retains unwanted particles and impurities. Unwanted moisture and foreign particles can cause corrosion within your car’s air conditioning sysstem. We recommend that your vehicle’s receiver be replaced every 3 years, or whenever you replace your vehicle’s compressor or condenser. If your receiver is failing, it could be that the receiver broke on the inside, which could make noise or leave an unpleasant smell in your car.
Signs of a failing receiver/dryer include: a moldy or mildew-like smell when you turn on your AC, a rattling noise while operating, and visible refrigerant leaks.
High pressure and low pressure play a significant role in your car’s air conditioning system. When the refrigerant leaves the receiver, it is still high pressured. But when it enters, then leaves the thermal expansion valve (TXV), it becomes low pressured and cooler in temperature. The TXV also controls how much refrigerant passes through to the evaporator, which then helps to blow out cool air from your cabin vents. If your thermal expansion valve is failing, it can cause performance issues, blowing out colder air than usual, or warm air when set to cold.
Signs of a failing TXV include: your AC compressor is always running, performing worse than normal and is blowing out warm air, and the formation of frost on the AC evaporator or your dashboard vents.
The sensing bulb is attached to the thermal expansion valve, which helps regulate the amount of cooled refrigerant that passes through to the evaporator. The bulb is filled with refrigerant that is separate from the cycling refrigerant, and is set against the outlet of the evaporator. The TXV receives pressure that tells it how much cooled refrigerant to release into the evaporator. If your sensing bulb proves defective, it cannot regulate the flow of cooled refrigerant, thus denying you and the TXV control over how much refrigerant passes through.
Signs of a defective sensing bulb include: higher or lower than usual refrigerant super heat value at the evaporator’s outlet or a starved evaporator.
The evaporator releases cool air that is blown through your vehicle’s air vents. What’s happening is the evaporator removes the heat from your cabin by blowing warm air across the evaporator’s finned coils and tubes. Cooled refrigerant absorbs the warm air in the tubes, turns it into a cold vapor, and blows out cool air. Then the cycle starts all over again with the cold vapor in the tubes returning to the compressor to be heated and pressurized. If the performance of your AC system is not what it normally is, it could be that your evaporator is failing or damaged.
Signs of a failing evaporator include: the AC compressor not activating, the AC’s temperature varying no matter the setting, a sweet smell in your vehicle’s cabin, or weak cool air being blown out.
Napa Service Assistant
You don’t have to be an expert to know that preventive maintenance is the best way to make sure your vehicle is running properly. Use our interactive vehicle tool to learn about the maintenance and services your NAPA AutoCare Center can provide.