How often have you wandered into an auto air conditioning workshop to find shelves filled with items you never see inside your car? These are components inside the car that work in tandem to keep you cool and level headed in our scorching 30 something Deg C heat! Even if you’ve never stepped inside such a shop before, chances are you’ve heard the terms Cooling Coil, Expansion Valve, Condenser, Blower and Compressor is a different thing, to name a few.
Cooling Coils | Blower © Jan Shim Photography
^ Air-condition workshops are usually stocked full of cooling coils (above left) and blowers that suit majority of popular vehicles. How they inventorize is really beyond even a motorhead like me and the number of parts needed to run a business like this boggles the mind. I’ve been commuting with a malfunctioning a/c for months and long commutes without a/c can get pretty unpleasant so I had the car checked by the Denso trained and certified boys at TTK in one of their two branches in Kuala Belait (the closest one considering how much I dislike driving).
© Jan Shim Photography
^ This is what the compressor looks like. Pictured above are two different makes but it gives you an idea what they look like when you pop open the hood/bonnet. You’ll find this attached to and driven by a belt and their function is to compress and circulates the refrigerant (R-134a said to be environmentally friendly as opposed to R-12 Freon gas found in older cars) in the system.
Compressor | Cooling Coil © Jan Shim Photography
^ A worker fixing a leaky compressor in the workshop (not mine) and photo right next to it shows the sorry state my car’s cooling coil is in after ten years! Not bad considering this is the first time it’s coming off the inside of the car (usually found under the dash of the passenger). There’s a leak confirmed by the air bubble test in water.
Expansion Valves © Jan Shim Photography
^ The other popular item is the expansion valve which can fail. This device, attached to the cooling coil meters the flow of refrigerant to keep the coil at optimum cooling potential. The cooling coil in my car took a good 2-3 hours to remove and along with a new coil replacement, I had the expansion valve replaced too. The cooling coil is perhaps the second most costliest item after the compressor.
The whole episode took a lot longer than I had expected (not that I was able to base the repair estimate on any prior work) but the owner, Mr TTK himself (named after his initials) kept me company while his boys finished up for the night. It’s been a long time since I experienced finger numbing cold from my car’s a/c!