It is essential to understand the role of an air conditioning compressor in a vehicle. This not solely makes it easier to envision what it will and what role it plays but also helps in identifying a quality replacement compressor when needed.
The first step in understanding the mechanical device and also the vehicle is learning the fundamentals of air mechanisms. A liquid refrigerant is constantly cycled throughout a sealed system. This creates a repeated process of vaporization, liquid location, and re-vaporization. As this process occurs, the gas gives off heat to condense the refrigerant back into a liquid. If the refrigerant gas is pressurized, it becomes easier to liquefy it. The air conditioner of a vehicle operates on these basic cooling principles. The principle states that liquids absorbed heat when they become a gas. While extremely simple, this is proved to be an effective principle in all types of cooling systems.
In a vehicle, the entire cooling process is actually powered by the engines drive belt. The compressor liquefies refrigerant and sends it to the cars air condenser. The highly pressurized refrigerant then becomes a gas which is constantly circulated into tubes. This is where the heat from the gas is released, allowing it to cool. As it cools, the refrigerant reverts back to its liquid state and is returned to the compressor. It is in this liquid form that the refrigerant is used to cool the interior of a vehicle. It can be difficult to know exactly how long the compressor will last, however, there are several key factors which can be used to determine how durable the compressor will be.
The first sign of a durable air conditioning compressor and the vehicle is minimal vibration and noise. The more a compressor vibrates, the more stress and pressure is put under. Undue stress inherently leads to premature breakdowns. When choosing a replacement air conditioning compressor, it is important to consider not only durability but also energy efficiency and safety. The more energy-efficient the compressor is the less power your vehicle will need to ensure it is always running properly. This is particularly important when living in hotter climates in which the air conditioning will be used regularly. Most air con compressors embody some form of a safety system. The most common is a relief valve. The relief valve is there to ensure too much pressure does not build up within the compressor.