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Just what is auto air conditioning?

by: Mike Yeager

There was a time when auto air conditioning was considered an extra! Judging from the time we spend on the road these days, it’s no wonder that auto air conditioning is now more of a necessity. Auto air conditioning adds to the comfort of a car’s passengers, but there’s much more value to it than that. Auto air conditioning contributes to safe driving. On the road there are numerous occasions that require the driver’s full attention. On sweltering hot days in heavy traffic, auto air conditioning can help the driver maintain his composure, and so aid in avoiding accidents.

The mechanics involved in auto air conditioning are complex. For those interested in learning how the thermodynamics works, the auto air conditioning in cars works under the same principles as any refrigeration unit. Refrigerant R-134a is used to transfer heat from the inside of the car to the outside, through either a thermostatic expansion valve, or the cycling clutch orifice tube. Older models designed to use Freon-12 are still around, but owners are being encouraged to switch them to R-134s, because of the decline in Freon availability. R-134 gives satisfactory performance, although it doesn’t cool as well as Freon. Auto air conditioning is built in and around the engine of the car, so upkeep should be handled by a professional.

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