With temperatures across the country sweltering to more than 100 degrees for days in some areas, having the cooling system in a vehicle working properly is now more important than ever.
Having the air conditioning working in a car can provide drivers with some temporary relief from the hot weather, but auto owners should make sure their cooling systems are in the best condition to endure the heat.
An automotive air conditioning system is made up of a compressor, condenser, evaporator, refrigeration lines and sensors.
The compressor is the heart of the air conditioning, allowing the vehicle's cooling system to run the refrigerant and pressurize it so cool air can be produced. The compressor is run by an engine belt and utilizes electrically-operated clutch that turns the compressor on and off to increase the amount of cool air.
The condenser acts as a small radiator that is usually mounted at the front of the car by the larger radiator. Hot air passes through the condenser and becomes cooler as it passes through the system. As it cools, it turns into liquid and passes through the evaporator and forces air out of the vent from the cold liquid.
The air conditioning system also has a thermal expansion valve that controls the flow of cold refrigerant to the evaporator. The thermal expansion valve regulates how cold the air gets that blows from the vents.
The last component of the air conditioning system is the drier, which is also known as the receiver-drier. The system acts as a safety catch for the air conditioning unit, catching the cold liquid before it can damage the vehicle's compressor. When water moisture comes in contact with the system, the drier absorbs it chemically using a dessicant. The drier also catches any hazardous material that could damage the system under the hood of the car.
While making sure the air conditioning system in a vehicle is in the best shape is important during the summer months, many motorists have been found to be less inclined to get the system fixed if it breaks down because they might think other repairs on the vehicle are more significant.
"People are more inclined to get their brakes fixed, get crucial things fixed," said Anthony Smith, the Quiet Zone manager, in an interview with TODAY. "They just have to drive with the window down, I was guilty of that myself. But I broke down and had my AC fixed when it got really hot, I couldn't take it anymore."
Business has increased drastically during the summer at Smiths' facility, which is being witnessed similarly across the country with the record setting temperatures.
"The phone just rings and rings and rings," Smith added. "Once that heat hits, people don't put it off any longer. If they can afford it, they'll do it," says Smith.
The hot temperatures haven't affected just vehicles. Sweltering heat across the Midwest has caused a drought that is leading to crops being made obsolete and Americans relying on imports from other countries to supply them with the goods they need.