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Identifying the parts of a vehicle’s AC System

With summer on the periphery, you do not want to be without AC in your car. To help readers understand their car better, let’s tackle the complexities of the AC system and the process Selbert’s AutoBody goes through to ensure optimal AC performance. Auto maintenance is paramount in maintaining the health of your car.

Selbert’s Autobody, located just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, is the area’s go-to for auto AC repair. Not only do we service vehicles at Selbert’s, but we also equip our customers with the knowledge to help them be responsible and in-the-know car owners.

Indentifying the parts of a vehicle's AC System

We get in, turn the ignition on and drive off without questioning the parts/components working together. We don’t think about our car’s operation until something goes wrong. Yes, and then panic mode sets in. If you know how to locate and identify the components of your vehicle’s AC system when something goes wrong that helps the auto technician diagnose the problem.

Here are five main components to a car’s air conditioning unit: the compressor, the condenser, evaporator, and thermal expansion valve–on some vehicles, this valve is known as the orifice tube.

5 Components of a car's air conditioning unit.


The compressor is a key player in the car’s AC system; it’s the workhorse of the AC System. Located in front of the vehicle, the compressor pressurizes the refrigerant liquid to a gas, cooling the air. The most common refrigerant is Freon which is fading out of existence. Newer cars use R-134A fluid.


The condenser is a series of coils located in front of the radiator. Outside air passes through the condenser, to reduce the temperature and pressure of hot gasses coming from the refrigerant and condenses the gas into a cold liquid.

Another key function of the condenser is that it’s responsible for moving the cooled liquid refrigerant to the receiver dryer.


Some car models have an accumulator instead of a receive-dryer. If your car has a receiver-dryer, it has a thermal expansion valve. If your vehicle has an accumulator, then it has an orifice tube.

The receiver-dryer is a canister filled with desiccant to maintain dryness in the AC system, separating gas from liquid to block fluid from entering the compressor. The compressor will not properly work if liquid gets in. The drier-receiver has filters to filter out contaminants that could hurt the AC system.

Thermal Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube)

The thermal expansion valve, or the orifice valve, is placed between the condenser and evaporator, depending on the car's model.

The thermal expansion valve helps to restrict/monitor the flow of refrigerant. This process of limiting the refrigerant flow causes the pressure of the refrigerant to change from a high-pressured liquid into a low-pressure liquid before entering the evaporator.


Once a safe amount of refrigerant enters the system’s evaporator, the evaporator then absorbs the hot air from the car’s cabin. When you turn on the car’s blower, it pushes the warm, humid air from inside the cabin over the evaporator, releasing cool air into the cabin.

Your car’s AC System is a complex, delicate system that a Selbert’s technician can diagnose and communicate the repair needed.

Your car’s AC System is a complex, delicate system that a Selbert’s technician can diagnose and communicate the repair needed. While it may be tempting to tackle your car’s AC System problems on your own, one small mistake can lead to significant issues.

At Selbert’s, we pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service, so if your car is blowing hot air, no air, or making odd noises, schedule an appointment with us!

Selbert’s Autobody is committed to providing customers with fast service that doesn’t skim on quality. Selbert’s is the best autobody repair shop in St. Louis. Find us at 410 W. 4th street in Eureka, MO,63025.

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Your car's AC system requires expert diagnosis and repair to ensure proper function. Attempting DIY fixes can lead to costly mistakes. Trust HVAC Contractor South Palm Beach as they have skilled technicians to address issues like hot air, lack of airflow, or unusual noises with exceptional customer service. Schedule an appointment for reliable AC repairs.

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