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Benefits of having a working air conditioning

A Comfortable Drive

The most obvious benefit of utilising the air conditioning system within your car is the comfort that it affords you. Using the air con means that you no longer have to struggle in the sweltering heat of being in a car during the highs of summer. Rather than opening the windows and drowning out the sound of the radio, you’ll be able to keep cool and still hear your favourite tracks by using your air con.

Better Safety

Using your air conditioning also provides you with better safety on the road. Firstly, you can avoid the drowsiness that comes with being too warm. Having the air con on will provide you with fresher, clean air that will keep you alert.

Secondly, the air con can reduce the mist in the windscreen. If there is dampness within your car then you need to de-mist the windscreen before you start driving and using the air con is the most efficient way of doing this.

Symptoms of a failing air conditioning system

If there is an issue with your vehicle's air conditioning system, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Air blows out hot when A/C is on
  • No air comes out of the vents
  • Low air pressure
  • Air isn't as cold as it used to be
  • Moldy smell when air is on
  • Strange noises when air is on

Most common causes of air conditioning failure

There are many different components within your vehicle's air conditioning system, and the cause of failure can vary. Here are some of the main causes of a failing car a/c system:

  • Leaking refrigerant
  • Failing compressor
  • Cracked or rusted hoses
  • Mold or mildew buildup on evaporator core
  • Bad cooling fan
  • Broken seal

How does the A/C system work?

An AC system works by cycling refrigerant, converting it from a gas into a liquid, and then back again. By the end of this cycle, it’s in a cold gaseous state inside the evaporator, at which point outside air is blown over it, cooled, and then sent to the cabin.

STEP 1: Compressor

An AC compressor runs off a pulley that’s attached via a belt to the crankshaft of your engine. This powers 5-10 pistons (depending on the design). They suck in low-pressure, low-temperature gas and compress it into high-pressure, high-temperature gas.

Whether the AC compressor receives power from the crankshaft is controlled by the compressor clutch. This gas is then sent to the next component of the car AC system, the condenser.

STEP 2: Condenser

By the time the refrigerant reaches the condenser, it is hot due to being pressurized. Its job is to capture this heat and transfer it out of the AC system. You can think of this part as a mini radiator, and as the gas passes through it, it radiates the heat outwards.

Air is also flowing around the condenser, which in turn cools the refrigerant as it’s passing through. This causes it to condense, which turns it back into a high-pressure liquid with a lower temperature. The next step in the cycle is the receiver/dryer.

STEP 3: Receiver/Dryer

The receiver/dryer has an inlet point and an outlet point. The inlet point takes inbound high-pressure liquid from the condenser and sends it through a series of filters and desiccants.

Why is it necessary to remove moisture? Because when the refrigerant reaches the expansion valve, it’s cold enough that it might freeze. This can clog the expansion valve and result in an AC system that doesn’t work correctly.

STEP 4: Expansion Valve

An expansion valve is basically a controller for how much refrigerant is allowed to continue on through the AC system. You can think of it as similar to the nozzle on the end of a hose, high-pressure water is introduced, and it expands into a mist as it passes through.

By this point, the refrigerant is now in a low-pressure, low-temperature state, nearly ready to cool your passenger cabin. But first, it has to pass through the evaporator.

STEP 5: Evaporator

The evaporator works much like a radiator or a condenser, containing lines that the refrigerant flows through. As this happens, rather than dissipating heat, it absorbs it, lowering the temperature to about 0°C.

Oddly enough, unlike water, which freezes at 32-degrees, the refrigerant boils. This converts it back into a gaseous state, allowing it to absorb even more heat. This gas then flows back into the AC compressor to start the process over again.

How long does A/C diagnostic take to perform?

Generally, it take about 2 hours to complete the A/C diagnostic procedure

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Level Auto Service is your Toronto based automotive repair shop. We service and repair all makes and models up to the current year. Our licensed technicians have over 60 years of experience, combined. Paired with the latest tools and equipment, we can get the job done right, the first time. We are always welcoming new clients and look forward to building a long lasting relationship with you and your family. See you soon!

A/C Diagnostic
starting from


Test A/C related fuses and relays

Inspect function of A/C components

Nitrogen pressure test system

Perform leak detection (if requred)

Performed by a licensed technician