How does Car Air Conditioning Work? A Detailed Guide

How Does Car Air Conditioning Work

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Air conditioning is one of the greatest inventions ever come out by intelligent mankind. Sooner than ever, air conditioning became a norm in modern cars just after a couple of years of the invention. Car air conditioning is no less than magic that blasts you with cool air with a touch of a button. But there is nothing like magic in this world and today we are going to break down everything about how does car air conditioning work.

How Does Car Air Conditioning Work

The working of a car air conditioning includes multiple processes including compression, condensation and evaporation. If the water cycle from grade 5th is flashing in your head, you are on the right track. The principles of air conditioning revolve around the water cycle and there are some interesting parts used in the process.

The refrigerant gas is firstly compressed by the compressor that is connected with the engine via a belt. The role of the compressor is to convert low-pressure low-temperature gas to high-pressure high-temperature gas. The temperature of the gas automatically rises in respect of the pressure.

Moving further, the gas now goes into the condenser. A condenser in a car is placed behind the radiator and it even works just like a radiator. The role of a condenser is to convert the high-pressure high-temperature gas into a high-pressure high-temperature liquid. A condenser has multiple passages which are blown by ambient air while the car is running. The blow of air converts the gas into liquid by releasing the excess heat. However, the temperature remains high for the further process.

The high-pressure high-temperature liquid then goes to the Receiver Dryer. As the name suggests, the Receiver Dryer works as a dryer to extract any water present in the liquid. The liquid is passed through a filter to remove impurities whereas the desiccant is responsible to take care of any water present in the liquid.

One thing you must have noticed till now is that the liquid has remained high on pressure, which changes with the expansion valve. Till now, the liquid was being circulated via the small piping whereas the expansion valve releases the pressure by offering a much wider opening. The expansion valve works opposite of the compressor and decreases but the pressure and temperature of the liquid.

As the liquid is now low pressure and low temperature, it goes to the Evaporator. The evaporator is responsible to convert the liquid into gas that goes into the cabin and chills you with a cool blow of air. To do so, the cabin fan throws ambient air to the evaporator that boils the liquid to an extent till it becomes gas. It must be noted that both the liquid and gas are already cool in temperature. The evaporator consists of multiple small fins that absorb the heat and keep the gas cool. The cabin blower blows air over the evaporator to push cool air inside the cabin. This same cycle repeats over and over again to provide you with a consistent flow of cool air.


Q1. Car air conditioning leaking water?

Ans. The air conditioning leaves water as its only residue while the process of condensation and evaporation. It is very normal and signs that your AC is working efficiently.

Q2. Car air conditioning and fuel consumption

Ans. Air conditioning puts a considerable effect on the overall fuel efficiency, especially at slow speeds. As the engine runs the condenser that demands more power to run.

Q3. What should car air conditioning temperature be

Ans. The cabin air temperature depends on the outside temperature. However, in normal conditions, 22 degrees celsius is perfect for a balance of cooling and efficiency.

Q4. why my car air conditioning smells bad

Ans. If you are facing a stinky smell from the air conditioning, it means your cabin air filter needs either cleaning or complete replacement. Here is how you can change your cabin air filter.

We hope this blog helped you learn how does car air conditioning work. Now every time you get a blow of cool air on your face, you know how it’s done and you should also take a moment to appreciate this great invention. If you found this blog informative, make sure to check out other interesting reads on the Carorbis Blog and also read Difference Between Petrol Engine and Diesel Engine Explained

Amit Saraswat

Amit Saraswat

Born and brought up in Agra, he grew up reading magazines more than textbooks. With a keen interest in cars, he decided to make his future in automotive journalism and is currently handling content at Carorbis.

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