How Air Conditioning Works In a Car

Share this:

We only get a small window of sun in the UK but temperatures can sometimes get very high. It can feel quite uncomfortable when driving on a hot day and maybe even worse if your air conditioning is only blowing out hot air. Below we explain how air conditioning works in a car to give you an insight on what is going on behind the on/off switch.

How does air conditioning work in a car?

Inside every air conditioning unit you’ll find a compressor that has a refrigerant – this serves as the gas that needs regular refilling. When you turn on the air conditioning in the car the gas first travels to the condenser.

> Find out more about how home air conditioning units work – click here

Fresh air that comes in from outside of the car then passes over the condenser. This causes the gas temperature to quickly drop and allows the refrigerant gas to turn into liquid. Any impurities that are in the liquid are removed by a drier before it reaches a thermal expansion valve. This then allows the driver to control the overall temperature inside of the car by limiting the liquid flow.

> Air Conditioning: What size do I need? – click here

The final step sees the liquid travel through the evaporation coils where it turns into vapour and then it is blown into the cabin of the car, which is where you feel the cool air. At the same time, the refrigerant has turned back into gas and it goes back to the compressor where the entire process is repeated.

Should I roll down the window or use air con?

When driving a car on a hot day we usually deliberate whether to roll the window down or turn on the air con. Air conditioning will make the cabin feel more comfortable as you have much greater control over the temperature. Rolling down the window can feel good if there is a stronger wind flow, but generally the temperature remains the same, and the faster you go the more blustery it can get.

> Are home air conditioning systems expensive to run? – click here

However, there is more to consider than just comfort before you make a decision. In order to work properly the compressor in the air conditioning unit needs constant energy to circulate the air in the cabin. That energy is sourced from the engine, which means the longer the air conditioning unit is turned on, the more fuel you burn. The ideal balance to strike is to roll the window down at lower speeds and to turn the air conditioning on when you are going faster.

> Are air conditioning service contracts work it? – click here

Get a free quote and survey

If you want to improve the air quality in your home get in touch with AAC today to arrange a free quote and survey at a time that suits you. We also design, install, test and maintain car chargers for all types of vehicles. Email or call 01707 32 55 66 to find out more.

Get in touch

Find out more about:

Arrange your


Contact us using the details below or fill out the form and we'll be straight in touch.

    Please see our Privacy Policy for details on how we look after your information.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

    Our Services

    Our Services