A complete guide to the Car Aircon Parts & How they work

Nov 04, 2019 | Same topic: Technical Car Terms to Know
For those curious and for those who're seeking to go for a DIY approach, here's Philkotse.com's guide to your car aircon parts.

I. Car Aircon Parts: Introduction

While air conditioning on cars might’ve been a really fancy addition back in the day, in the present times, car AC is as common as having headlights. They’re almost a required feature and even commercial vehicles now come with AC.

For us here in the Philippines, where you can be certain that sometime in the day, it can become hot and humid, or hot and dry. Car aircon is one of the more important features of a car. More especially nowadays where traffic in large cities like Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City can be congested.

And that of course, if you don’t have a car aircon at all, can become nightmarish. So, for some, automated emergency braking be damned, rear parking cameras be damned, just as long as it has a reliable AC, the cars’ golden.

Sometimes though, like most things in life, your AC will sometimes break down. This will prompt many car users to seek to replace it or repair it. While some will acquire the services of a car AC mechanic, some dudes will want to learn about their own car’s AC system in order for a more DIY fix.

Car air conditioning

Air-conditioning system is a must-have gadget for all vehicles

As such, to aid you would be AC repairmen/women, here is Philkotse.com's guide on the parts of a typical car’s air-conditioning system, how they work, and what are the signs that you need to replace them.

II. Car Aircon Parts: Comprehensive guide

1. Car Aircon Filter

Usually found in a hold within the cabin, the car aircon filter’s purpose is to ensure that the air being pumped into your car’s interior is free of contaminants. While most of these air filters aren’t actually rated to filter out stuff like poisonous gasses and the like, it can keep pollens, dirt, and dust from mucking up your car.

Similar to an engine’s air filter, this part, through the passage of time and use, will become filled with, you guessed it, dirt, dust, etc., it will need to be replaced. One obvious sign, of course, is when your car’s AC isn’t blowing as much air as it should because of the dirt that’s clogging it up.

Another is the reduced power output from your car’s engine because the AC blower’s using more power which is of course robbed from the engine. And lastly, you’ll either start smelling, or start coughing from the low-quality, dirty air getting through. And God forbid that happens when you have allergies especially to stuff like pollen.

Car aircon filter

Car aircon filter ensures that the air being pumped into your car’s interior

>>> Worth to note:  Replacing car air filter: Must-have skills that every Filipino driver needs to know

2. Car Aircon Evaporator

Now the AC evaporator looks and functions like a teeny tiny radiator usually located inside your car’s dashboard. It provides cooler air for the air-conditioning system by absorbing heat in the compartment. This is done by converting the refrigerant liquid into gas. Once this is done the pressure of the refrigerant is reduced, thus dissipating the heat.

You’ll know that this thing is broken by water leaks, AC temperature fluctuations when you smell something strange (refrigerant), or the AC compressor won’t turn on.

The typical car aircon evaporator price in the Philippines would range from Php 2,200 to Php 12,000 depending on the car model

A picture of a car aircon evaporator

A typical car AC Evaporator

>>> Also check: 5 bad habits to discard when using car aircon system

3. Car Aircon Freon

Like a typical home air-conditioning unit or a fridge, a car’s AC system uses a liquid refrigerant. Typically, it’s Freon. Now Freon is a halocarbon and its responsible for cooling the air by cycling through a liquid state and a gas state.

Now there are several ways to know if your car’s AC needs more Freon. First is that the temperature won’t get colder. Second, there are actual pools of the stuff collecting within your dashboard underneath the Car AC Evaporator, or the compressor is making ice.

A car aircon freon price in the Philippines would run you around Php 4,379. That would get you 13 kilograms worth of 134a Freon. We recommend that you approach a professional if you want to top it up though.

A picture of a guy filling up his car's ac system with Freon

Filling up on Freon typically looks like this. Note the gauge

4. Car aircon thermostat adjustment

A car’s thermostat is the part of the AC system that controls the temperature of the air being spewed out by the AC. It works by constantly measuring interior car temperatures and then it responds by activating the compressor.

The car aircon thermostat price in the Philippines depends on the car model, but you can buy a new one from around Php 295 to Php 2,000 depending on the car model, a car aircon thermostat replacement would turn out better if left to the professionals.

If you want to go DIY with a car aircon thermostat adjustment because your AC isn’t good enough for your sweaty butt, this video might help a bit.

How to adjust the manual thermostat for automatic of car aircon

>>> More tips on car aircon maintenance: 

5. Car Aircon Wiring Diagram

Before trying to hack away at your own car’s AC system, note that you’ll need to at least take a look at car AC’s wiring diagram. While there are more universal ones like this one:

We recommend finding the specific diagram for your car’s model.

A picture of a car AC wiring diagram

A typical car aircon wiring diagram

6. Car Aircon Vent

As the name implies, a car aircon vent is where the AC system’s end product, the cold air, comes out of. Today, these can come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and adjustability. Some you can close, there are some that you can tilt up and down. These adjustments are all involved in the distribution of the car aircon in the vehicle. As such, these vents get moved a lot.

These of course, by virtue of being made out of plastic, sometimes get damaged. In order to replace this to OEM specifications though, you might want to get in contact with your car’s dealership for that. If you don’t care about that though, a car ac vent set can cost you from Php 300 up to Php 2,228 or more. Again, the price depends on the car model.

A picture of a pair of AC vents

You see AC vents as the most commonly broken thing aboard old, heavily used vehicles

7. Car Aircon Blower

The car aircon blower is a small motor responsible for pushing out air through your car AC’s vents. Without a blower, the AC system cannot distribute the cool air into your car’s cabin. The blower motor comes with a blower motor relay.

This enables it to turn the motor on and off constantly. As such, it can eventually succumb to wear and one good sign of this is when the blower motor stops pumping out air through the vents.

Also, if your car’s AC isn’t blowing, you might also want to check fuses because that might’ve burned out.

A picture of an AC blower

A cheap, generic car aircon blower

>>> Read more: 4 most common car air conditioning problems & How to fix them

8. Car Aircon compressor

This part is the single most important part of your car’s AC system. It is responsible for turning Freon into gas causing a drop in pressure. The low pressure causes the Freon to evaporate.

The cold vapor from the evaporation is then compressed by the compressor. The warmed up gas freon is then sent to the car aircon condenser through pies to make it liquid once again. Once it turns liquid, heat is dissipated.

Here are the constituent  car aircon compressor parts

  • Compressor housing
  • Valves
  • Pistons
  • Compressor shaft
  • Compressor shaft seal
  • Bearing
  • Clutch coil
  • Pulley

A picture of a car AC compressor with its parts labelled

Here's a labeled car aircon compressor for your convenience

If you need to get your hands on individual car AC compressor parts and others of these listed here on this article. There are some good car aircon parts suppliers you can contact. There’s PFE Car Aircon Parts and Supplies, Sansei, and AutoAirconparts.ph. For a more detailed list, just wait up and we’ll write up a guide on that.

So, did this guide help you become more knowledgeable about a car’s aircon system? We hope so. And if we’ve missed something, please sure to let us know.

>>> Read more useful tips and advice on car maintenance at Philkotse.com

Author

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar learned how to drive a car years before he got his license. Today, he's still looking for that perfect '90s Japanese coupe to drive into the sunset while listening to Crazy Little Love by Nuage. Also has a thing for badass off-road vehicles and weird engine swaps.