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A/C Expansion Valve

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Car A/C expansion valve

 

The expansion valve is a crucial component that plays a key role in regulating the flow of refrigerant through the car’s AC system. It is positioned between the high-pressure and low-pressure sides of the AC system. The expansion valve acts as a valve or metering device that controls the flow of high-pressure, high-temperature liquid refrigerant from the condenser to the low-pressure side, where it can evaporate.

 

How does an A/C expansion valve work?

 

As the high-pressure liquid refrigerant passes through the Expansion Valve, it undergoes a rapid pressure reduction. This causes the refrigerant to expand and transform into a low-pressure, low-temperature gas. The expansion of the refrigerant leads to a significant drop in temperature. This cold refrigerant gas is then circulated through the evaporator coil in the car's AC system. The cold refrigerant gas absorbs heat from the surrounding air as it passes over the evaporator coil. This process cools down the air, which is then blown into the vehicle's interior by the AC blower fan.

 

Signs of a bad expansion valve

 

You should be aware of these common signs that may indicate a problem with the AC expansion valve:

  • Insufficient Cooling: Reduced cooling from the AC system.
  • Inconsistent Temperature: Difficulty maintaining a consistent interior temperature.
  • Warm Air at Idle: Warmer air from vents when the car is idle.
  • Excessive Cooling: Overly cold air and potential freezing of the evaporator coil.
  • AC Cycling Rapidly: Frequent on/off cycling of the AC compressor.
  • Hissing or Whistling Noises: Unusual noises from the AC system.
  • AC System Pressure Abnormalities: Irregular pressure readings in the AC system.
  • Frost on the Evaporator Coil: Ice buildup on the evaporator coil.
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