Explaining the components of your car air conditioner

Have you ever wondered how your car’s air conditioner works? Most of us never give it a second thought. That is, until your air conditioner fails you, typically on the hottest day in summer. Air conditioning is a highly technical process that relies on many parts working together.

At Natrad, we provide specialist air conditioning repair and maintenance services for a huge range of cars, trucks, and heavy equipment. Our expert team are ready to install all kinds of air conditioning system components.


How car air conditioning works

Refrigerant is the life blood of your car’s air conditioning system. Its ability to change from gas to liquid and back is what keeps you cool and collected on the hottest days.

Here’s how refrigerant works:

  1. Refrigerant absorbs heat from the interior of the car.
  2. It transports the heat outside outside to jettison in the atmosphere.
  3. The refrigerant returns for another round, keeping your car cool.

Refrigerant leaks are a common cause of car air conditioning problems. As a part of our thorough air conditioning service and repairs, a Natrad technician will always check your refrigerant levels, repair any leaks, and refill as required.


The compressor is the beating heart of your air conditioning system. It’s a pump that circulates the refrigerant through all the other components.

The compressor contains several moving parts that can wear out over time and need replacing. At Natrad, we stock full compressor kits available for over 200 popular vehicle makes and models.


how does car air con work

The condenser is like a mini radiator. It condenses the refrigerant from gas into a liquid, releasing all the heat that it has carried out of your car by circulating it through cooling coils and fins.

There are several reasons why your condenser might fail:

  • It is usually located at the front of the vehicle, so it is easily damaged in head-on collisions.
  • Condensers can also become blocked or develop leaks, and need to be replaced when they fail.

Thermal expansion valve

The thermal expansion valve converts hot refrigerant liquid into a cold vapour. It works a bit like a throttle, opening and closing according to the level of coolness you’ve selected.

  • When it fails, it no longer regulates the air conditioner temperature properly and
  • You’ll notice key symptom of a failed compressor you may notice the interior of your vehicle heating up.

It is important to replace a faulty thermal expansion valve promptly as it can cause severe damage to other parts of the system, leading to expensive repair bills.


how do car air con systems work

The evaporator is located under the dashboard, and is in charge of cooling the air before it is blown into the interior of your car.

  • Refrigerant liquid evaporates to a gas inside the evaporator.
  • A fan then pushes that air across its cold tubes.

Evaporators are susceptible to corrosion and blockage, in which case they must be replaced.

Receiver drier

The receiver drier temporarily stores oil and refrigerant when they’re not needed by the air conditioner. It also protects the system by trapping water and impurities that might damage other components.

Regularly replacing the receiver drier helps to keep the whole air conditioning system in top working condition.


If your car is fogging up or the heater isn’t working properly, your heater core may need replacing. This will ensure driver visibility as well as passenger comfort, keeping everyone safe and secure.

Stay warm on the coldest winter days with a replacement heater core from your local Natrad store.


Fittings, hoses and pipes are responsible for connecting the main components of your air conditioning system’

If left unchecked, over time they can deteriorate and cause refrigerant leaks and damage to other cooling parts. At Natrad, we stock all the fittings needed to repair your car’s air conditioner.

Ask the experts

car air con repair

Is your vehicle’s air conditioner under-performing? Common symptoms of faulty air conditioning systems include:

  • A lack of cool air
  • Noisy operation
  • Off smells

If you experience any of these issues, bring your vehicle into a Natrad workshop. Our dedicated team of air conditioner specialists rectify the problem straight away. We’ll even give you a 15% discount on the cost of replacement parts fitted to your vehicle.

With the largest network of heating and cooling workshops in the country, Natrad is Australia’s most trusted name in vehicle air conditioning.

We have one of the widest ranges of air conditioner parts in the country. In some cases, the original equipment (OE) and aftermarket parts we install actually exceed the original equipment expectations of your vehicle.

Regular servicing

Regular servicing of your car’s air conditioner ensures it is in top condition when you need it. Bring your car into Natrad, and our air conditioning technicians will connect it up to a charging station to check your refrigerant levels and pressure.

  1. Your car’s entire air conditioning system will be inspected to identify any failed components.
  2. If necessary, the refrigerant present in the system will be extracted and stored before parts are removed for replacement or cleaning.
  3. Once your air conditioning system is reassembled, the correct amount of refrigerant and oil will be added.

And all our workmanship and products are supported by Natrad’s nationwide warranty. Contact us now for superior air conditioning repair, and a range of other quality services.