Tucson Auto Air Conditioning

Air conditioning has been credited with the population explosion in Tucson Arizona. We rely on it most days 6 months out of the year. DDI Performance Auto Repair has fixed Auto Air Conditioning systems since 2000.

We guarantee our work 100% and are half the cost of most mechanics in Tucson.

A Brief History of Auto Air Conditioning:

Auto Air conditioning was first offered by Packard Motors in 1940. They were manufactured by by Bishop and Babcock Co, of Cleveland, OH. The “Bishop and Babcock Weather Conditioner” also incorporated a heater.

Fast forward to 1980, more than three fourths of all new cars were sold with air conditioning built in. Today over 98% of vehicles sold come with air conditioning.

In the 1970’s it was determined that the refrigerant used for decades in automotive AC, known as R-12, or Freon, was damaging the earth’s ozone layer (it’s a chlorofluorocarbon). It was banned from being manufactured worldwide. An alternative, called R-134a is now required for all cars manufactured after 1996. Now, any car older than that needs to be retrofitted with a new system that can use the newer, safer refrigerant..

How your car’s AC works

AC Repair Tucson

There are five main components of your car’s AC system.The compressor, condenser, evaporator, thermal expansion valve and the drier/ accumulator.

The Compressor


This is the most important part of the unit, in our opinion. It is responsible for putting the refrigerant under pressure. It is driven by an engine belt that tends to wear out and dry rot in Arizona’s mummifying heat. It also has a mechanism (the clutch) that turns the compressor on and off as you demand more cool air. The compressor puts the refrigerant under compression to around 250 psi to heat the gas up where to then moves to:

The Condenser


This is usually described as looking like a miniature radiator grill. Though, we think it looks like a condenser. It can usually be found toward the front of the car near the radiator. The condenser is responsible for moving the heated gas through its coils until it becomes a liquid as it cools down.

The Evaporator

The evaporator is another set of tubes. Where the condenser took the super heated gas made into a liquid, the evaporator receives the super cooled liquid creating a freezing cold area even in the worst heat. Just add a fan to blow that super cooled air into your face and it makes Arizona bearable.

Thermal Expansion Valve

thermal expansion valve

This keeps the AC from blowing out the coldest possible air onto you at all times. The expansion valve controls the amount of refrigerant flowing into the evaporator.

The Receiver Drier Or Accumulator.

This part is responsible for keeping moisture out of the air conditioner. If water combines with refrigerant it forms hydrochloric acid. Any time we service an A/C system where there is a loss of refrigerant, we change this out. Many manufacturers of compressors require proof of this or it will void the warranty.

The “Minor Parts”

Automotive A/C systems also contain a number of less major components, like rubber hoses and metal AC lines, duct work and the controls. There are also electrical devices such as relays, switches, electronic control units and etc. Many of these are prone to wearing out in the Arizona desert climate.

Some of today’s cars also come with an Automatic Temperature Control computer that handles the ATC system functions. DDI can interface with that computer to diagnose and repair it. In addition, car computerized engine control systems, the engine control computer usually has some hand in controlling A/C system operation.