The air conditioning condenser is a key part of the air conditioning system. Like the radiator, it is located at the front of the vehicle and its mission is to evacuate the heat from the refrigerant to the outside. If the air conditioning condenser is defective and is no longer tight, refrigerant is escaping. As a result, the cooling capacity of the air conditioning system is considerably reduced or even non-existent.
Discover in this guide the common symptoms, the replacement procedure and the costs incurred by a faulty air conditioning condenser!
How does an air conditioning condenser work?
The refrigerant circulates in a closed circuit in the system. It is compressed by a compressor. Its pressure and temperature then increase. The heated refrigerant is transferred to the condenser. The outside air is used to cool the very hot and still gaseous refrigerant until it condenses and becomes liquid. This is where the regulator comes in. It reduces the pressure of the refrigerant and therefore its temperature. The refrigerant is then routed to the evaporator. The liquid refrigerant evaporates there. The evaporator then takes the necessary heat from the surrounding air. This then passes through the evaporator and the cooled air is returned to the passenger compartment. The cycle then restarts.
What are the symptoms of faulty air conditioning?
If the cooling capacity of the air conditioning is extremely reduced or even non-existent, it is likely that the air conditioning compressor is damaged. Externally visible damage to the air conditioning condenser also indicates a possible malfunction.
Possible breakdowns of the air conditioning compressor can be very diverse. As with many other auto parts, various symptoms can indicate that the air conditioning compressor is damaged. For example, if you often hear noises, this is an indication that the compressor is defective. Most of the time, this is noticeable by the fact that the car can no longer cool down to the desired temperature. The reason for this is that the coolant can no longer provide heat exchange.
If the compressor fails, the air conditioning fluid required for cooling may no longer be compressed in the air conditioning compressor. The cooling capacity of the air conditioning is considerably reduced.
What should be checked first in the event of a faulty air conditioning?
Check, by running the fan at full speed, if the airflow is sufficient. If there is no airflow, the ventilation system may be faulty.
Can we continue to drive despite faulty air conditioning?
If you operate the vehicle’s air conditioning while the air conditioning condenser has failed, you may damage the air conditioning compressor. Indeed, in the absence of a sufficient quantity of refrigerant, the lubrication of the compressor is insufficient. The necessary additional replacement of the air conditioning compressor then usually costs at least 400 euros.
It is usually possible to continue driving with a faulty air conditioning condenser. However, it should be noted that the cooling of the passenger compartment is then minimal.
Replace or repair the air conditioning condenser?
If the diagnosis reveals that the air conditioning condenser is the cause of the symptoms, it should be replaced with a new part. A repair is not possible. Likewise, you should not use second-hand auto parts. It is indeed difficult to visually recognize the age, degree of wear and possible leaks. During the workshop repair, the mechanic begins by draining the coolant or vacuuming the system. The work that follows to remove the old condenser varies greatly depending on the type of vehicle. It is often – but not always – necessary to disassemble the bumper. It is then possible to disassemble the radiator and the air conditioning condenser. Once the new air conditioning condenser is installed,
How long does it take to replace an air conditioning condenser?
The duration of replacing the air conditioning capacitor is generally two to four hours. The exact duration depends on the number of other components to be dismantled.
Cost of replacing the air conditioning condenser
In total, it is necessary to count between 400 € and 1200 €. This includes the cost of materials, which ranges from $100 to $400, and the cost of refrigerant, which ranges from $80 to $250. The cost of labor fluctuates between €200 and €400.
A working air conditioner is extraordinarily practical during the summer months. In our shop you will find a suitable selection for the various spare parts.