A car’s air conditioning system is an orchestra of different parts working together – the compressor, condenser, accumulator or receiver dryer, expansion valve or orifice tube, and the evaporator. Each component has a specific function and if one part is damaged or malfunctions, your comfy, cool interior will become hot, sticky and unpleasant.
The condenser functions as a converter, turning refrigerant gas into cold liquid. It is usually mounted under the front hood, typically in front of the radiator.
Symptoms of a bad AC condenser include:
- Corroded, clogged or damaged tubes or fins
- Insufficient air conditioning output
- Leaking refrigerant
- “Black Death” – this is black goo contaminating the AC compressor
The condenser fan is made up of a fan, motor, and shroud. This part offers extra needed support to blow cooled air throughout the car’s ducts and vents. Malfunctions can include broken blades, a burned out motor, or worn bearings which can cause the fan to wobble, possibly affecting other components of the system by hitting and damaging them.
The car’s AC system is one of the hardest working systems in the vehicle. Therefore it’s important to choose the right replacement parts.
How to make sure you’re getting a good quality AC condenser and fan:
Verify compatibility. The manufacturer’s website or your owner’s manual will give you the exact specifications you need to know to choose a condenser and fan.
Consider durability. Condenser fins may be made of brass, aluminum, or copper. Brass and copper do a good job of cooling but aluminum resists decay and corrosion, so it’s a trade-off. The condenser and fan should ideally last the rest of your car’s life.
Aftermarket vs. OEM (original equipment manufacturer): Each of these has benefits and drawbacks. Because aftermarket part makers often re-engineer parts to tweak design flaws, these can often be an equal or higher quality choice. But with OEM you know exactly what you’re getting.
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