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The Ultimate Car A/C Buying Guide

car ac_ac buying guide
Your car’s A/C system keeps everything cool inside, even if it’s scorching outside. When one component fails, the air conditioning system fails. That’s why it’s important to realize the major parts involved with your auto’s A/C. Our AC Compressor Buying Guide provides plenty of in-depth information on what to look for when buying an A/C compressor.

This particular buying guide will examine the other parts of your car’s air conditioning system. Keep in mind, this list is for the “major players” only; there are a host of other parts that comprise the A/C system (belts, hoses, hardware, etc.), but this A/C Buying Guide will focus on a handful of essential parts – one of which we’ve already covered!

When purchasing any of the following parts, having some information readily available will speed up the process. This includes the year, make and model of your car. It’s also helpful to know when your car was manufactured – that is, the day it rolled off the factory production line. This date is found inside your driver’s side door jam, where you can find other useful data (such as hot and cold recommended tire air pressure and much more).



As our Compressor Buying Guide says, the compressor’s job is cool the air in your car. Without the compressor, you’ll just have a bunch of hot air! For more information, please visit the Compressor Buying Guide page.



The condenser is another key component of your car’s A/C system. As hot air passes through this part, the condenser cools the air, producing a liquid. Basically, the condenser performs very much like your car’s radiator.

What to look for: the A/C condenser usually has 3-4 mounting brackets. Ensure the connections are solid, and the body is not warped or bent. BAP carries over 1,000 OEM-quality A/C condensers, all easily accessible by entering your car’s year, make and model.



Also called the “evaporator coil,” this part blasts cold air on the liquid from the condenser, which produces the cool air. The refrigerant transforms back into a gas when the temperature rises again.

What to look for: OEM-equivalent quality is important with the evaporator, especially considering this part can cost hundreds of dollars. Inspect the connection hoses (either rigid or flex-hose) and make sure the evaporator isn’t dented. One small flaw can cause big problems down the road.


Thermal Expansion Valve (expansion device)

BAP has hundreds of expansion devices for sale. This part allows you to control how cold the A/C air gets. Without it, your car would become an icebox – sounds good when it’s 110 degrees outside, but you don’t always need it THAT cold. The thermal expansion valve is one of the lesser-known components of the A/C system, but it’s crucial for top-end performance.

What to look for: a precisely-machined part, the thermal expansion valve should be free of any scratches, metal shavings and other imperfections.



The accumulator (also referred to as the drier) is a safety-valve of sorts for the entire A/C system. Basically, the accumulator captures any water moisture prior to reaching the compressor. It has inlet and outlet lines; the inlet is from the evaporator and the outlet goes to the compressor.

What to look for: the accumulator’s cylindrical shape distinguishes the part. Each connection – the accumulator has one inlet and one outlet – should secure easily to the compressor and evaporator lines. has your entire A/C system needs. Our quality parts are great for DIY projects, and they can help save costly labor expenses, too! To speak with an A/C system specialist, please call BAP today at (888) 907-7225. You can also visit our contact page for sales, expert support and also live chat sessions. We look forward to hearing from you!


Written by Dara Greaney


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