The weather is (finally!) warming up and you want to be sure that your car heating and cooling system can keep up with the increase in temperature. Especially the cooling. Outsiders may associate New England with cold weather, but those of us who live here know how hot it can get in the summer. Take it from someone who spent two summers with a broken A/C compressor, rolling the windows down only does so much. So before the weather gets too warm, bring your car over to Mike Brailey’s Auto Service to have your car heating and cooling system checked to ensure that it can keep you cool all summer.

Here’s a quick overview of the high-pressure elements of your car’s air conditioning system.


So refrigerant is not exactly a part, but it is the first step in your car’s A/C system. Most vehicles use the refrigerant gas R134A, commonly known as Freon. Older cars used a refrigerant gas called R12, which is now banned in the U.S. because it is a high pollutant. Any older cars that are designed to work with R12 will need to be retrofitted to work with R134A.

The Compressor

The compressor is one of the many parts attached to the serpentine belt. If that belt breaks, more than just your A/C will stop working. The compressor is the first part of your A/C that can break and keep you from keeping cool. It’s a pump that draws in the refrigerant gas and compresses it. Perhaps counterintuitively, compressing the refrigerant makes it very hot. The cooling happens next in the condenser.

The Condenser

This is where the cooling happens. In the condenser, outside air passes over a series of coils and removes heat from the condensed gas causing it to condense into a cool liquid. There are two types of condensers, parallel and serpentine. A parallel condenser needs to be replaced if it fails. You can flush a serpentine condenser if it stops working.

The Receiver-Drier

The last stage of the high-pressure end of your car’s A/C is the receiver-drier. Before the refrigerant can move to the evaporator, any water that may have made its way in needs to be removed. If water stays in and forms ice crystals, it can damage the A/C system. The receiver-drier contains a desiccant that attracts water and removes it from the refrigerant.

Car Heating and Cooling Maintenance at Mike Brailey’s Auto

After the receiver-drier, the refrigerant moves on to the low-pressure elements of the A/C that evaporate it and blow cold air into the cabin of your car. The process involves a few more steps, but let us worry about that. Before spring turns into summer, come to Mike Brailey’s Auto Service to have your car heating and cooling system checked. You’ll be glad you did the next time you’re stuck in traffic on a hot day.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about all our services.