If you drive a 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V, you’ve more than likely had your share of problems with the AC system. It may seem like there is always a problem with it or that it’s never completely trouble free, right? After countless days in the repair shop and enormous amounts of money spent, you may start to think you’re going crazy. But rest assured that you’re not insane and the hidden culprit causing constant headaches is what’s known to many mechanics as the BLACK DEATH!
If your part of the country is hot even just a few days out of the year, you already know how important the AC system is when you’re driving. Driving around town in stop-and-go traffic won’t give you enough cooling breeze even with the windows down and a long commute in the heat can leave you sweaty and your clothes stained. Worse still is hot summer rain without functioning AC. In most modern cars the AC system is also employed as a dehumidifier and when it’s broken you can end up with foggy windows that are not only annoying, but also incredibly dangerous when you’re trying to see well enough to drive.
It’s funny how some of us take our car’s air conditioning for granted. When it’s hot outside, we just click the “AC” button and turn the fan setting to “MAX” – without ever giving it a second thought. The Evaporator, AC Condenser and everything else do their jobs, and everything’s OK. The only time we really think about how everything works is when it doesn’t work. We’ve compiled this graphic to show exactly what happens when your air conditioning system is up and running. It’s not quite magic – a lot of science is involved – but the dynamic interplay between all the components (AC Compressor, Condenser, Drier and other key players) is pretty cool (actually cold!) to consider.
There’s nothing quite so annoying and uncomfortable as getting into your reliable old car on an especially hot day and finding that the air conditioning’s just not what it used to be. It’s easy to give up on it and assume that it would be too expensive or too difficult to fix, leaving you in a pretty bad place on hot days. Fortunately, getting the A/C up and running back to its comfortable old self isn’t all that hard. With an easy-to-find part and twenty minutes of tinkering, you can find yourself enjoying your drive time a whole lot more.
It’s hot outside. You get in the car and start the engine. It’s too hot to put the windows down – it’s definitely an air conditioner-type day. You press the A/C button and, within seconds, cold air is blowing throughout your car. Not even a minute later, your entire car cabin is cool & comfortable.
Air conditioners have come a long way since the window mounted “swamp coolers” that were a popular and cheaper alternative to in-car air conditioners for early automobile owners. Instead of coils, electricity and coolant, these bad boys used good old mother nature to cool occupants in a process called latent cooling of vaporization—a term that sounds a lot more complicated than these machines actually were. Swamp coolers, also known as car coolers, evaporated water collected outdoors to chill the car’s interior. Water inside the cooler evaporated, and in the process, transferred heat from the surrounding air to the evaporating water, resulting in cool, moisture-laden air inside. The lower the humidity, the better the Swamp cooler worked. Which meant the coolers were especially popular in areas such as California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. Swamp coolers were an after sale product that typically looked like the canister of a vacuum cleaner. Though the styles were different, these coolers were extremely popular and were a must have accessory for everything from Model As to high end sports cars.
Imagine this scenario happening to you: It is a hot summer day, and you are planning on getting away for the weekend. Your drive is about 3 hours away and you can’t wait to reach your destination because it involves a lake or a beach and a whole lot of fun. Right as you go to turn on your car, you notice your A/C system is not cooling. Now you have to decide whether you want to drive 6 hours round trip in the smoldering sun or cancel your weekend plans to take your car in to an A/C technician. All of a sudden the weekend getaway you were looking forward to is not so exhilarant.
All the various components in your car come under wear and tear through everyday use. At some point parts can break down and fail. The AC compressor is one such component that is heavily used and put under a lot of pressure. If your compressor is beginning to falter, then you should be prepared to deal with the problem.
You won’t get that all important cool air on hot summer days, without a working air conditioning compressor in your car. Read on to learn how to diagnose any potential issues and how to get them fixed.
Fort Lauderdale, Santa Barbara, Miami Beach, oh yeah…here we go. Got a week off from the JOB and headed down to the beach. Cruising along with the sun baking down and my AC cranked up on Antarctic setting. BUT ALL OF THE SUDDEN! Clunk clutter and black smoke….