Keep it cool (or hot)

Cooling Systems

In NJ, being comfortable in your vehicle is important. Your vehicle’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a smaller version of that in your home. Keeping this system maintained ensures comfort for you and your passengers year-round. Air conditioning on the fritz? Heater not working? We’ll fix it, without a lot of hot air.

All Honest1 Hamilton mechanics are licensed, insured and hand-picked to assure the highest level of service and courtesy. We're also experienced and trained in retrofitting auto AC systems if you happen to have one!

How cooling systems work

A cooling system works by sending a liquid coolant through passages in the engine block and heads. As the coolant flows through these passages, it picks up heat from the engine. The heated coolant then passes through a rubber hose to the top inlet of the radiator in front of the car. The coolant flows down through the thin tubes in the radiator; the hot coolant is cooled by the air stream entering the engine compartment from the grill in front of the car. Once the coolant has made its way to the bottom of the radiator and is cooled it returns to the engine through a rubber hose to absorb more heat. The water pump has the job of keeping the fluid moving through the entire system.

The radiator

On most cars today the radiator is made of thin aluminum tubes with aluminum fins that zigzag between the tubes. Air is pulled through the fins via cooling fans causing the heat in the radiator to be transferred into the air stream and carried away from the vehicle. The radiator has two tanks, one for inlet of heated coolant and the other for outlet of the cooled fluid.

The water pump

A water pump is a simple device that will keep the coolant moving through the system as long as the engine is running. The pump is driven by either a fan belt which usually drives another component, a serpentine belt which drives all components, a timing belt, or in some cases gear driven.

Typical components

✔ Radiator
✔ Pressure Cap
✔ Transmission Cooler
✔ Fan
✔ Water Pump
✔ Rubber Hoses
✔ Thermostat
✔ Reservoir Tank
✔ Heater Core

What we inspect

✔ Radiator for leaks and debris clogging the fins which reduces cooling performance
✔ Cooling Fan operation
✔ Fan Clutch if equipped
✔ All belts for cracks and deterioration
✔ All hoses for leaks, softness or bulging, indicating deterioration from the inside out
✔ Check for leaks at the thermostat housing, intake manifold, engine heads and freeze plugs
✔ Water pump for leaks
✔ Pressure test Radiator Cap
✔ Reservoir Tank for leaks
✔ Heater Core for leaks
✔ Coolant for protection level and contamination

How air conditioning systems work

The first component of an air conditioning system to consider is the gas. The gas used in air conditioners is called Freon. The Freon is put into a sealed system. The Freon is then pressurized using a compressor. As it is pressurized, it gets hot by absorbing the heat around it. The hot Freon is then circulated to the condenser.

The condenser is a device mounted in front of the radiator and behind the grille; it looks a lot like a radiator. The condenser is used to change the high-pressure Freon vapor to a liquid. Air flowing through the condenser removes heat from the Freon changing it to a liquid state or now a refrigerant.

The refrigerant then moves to a receiver drier or an accumulator depending on the type system you have. Moisture is removed from the refrigerant because moisture can freeze causing a blockage. The drier or accumulator are also storage tanks for the liquid refrigerant keeping it from moving out to the compressor and causing damage to it. The compressor is designed to compress gas not liquid. The liquid refrigerants pressure is lowered by an expansion valve for receiver drier systems or an orifice tube for accumulator systems and turns it into a refrigerant gas in the evaporator.

As the cold low pressure refrigerant is released into the evaporator, it vaporizes and absorbs heat from the air in the passenger compartment. As the heat is absorbed, cool air will be available for the occupants. The same blower for the heating system blows air through the cold evaporator and distributes it through the air conditioning ducts in the vehicle.

When to service

✔ Annually before the weather warms
✔ When you notice performance beginning to deteriorate

The service includes

✔ An in depth inspection of lines and hoses
✔ Test and record the systems high and low pressure readings
✔ Check and record the temperature of the air from the air conditioning vents at maximum cool setting
✔ Refrigerant cleansing; because refrigerants are harmful to the environment, we take special care according to our ESA Program and use the proper recovery machines to ensure that none of the material escapes during service.

Special considerations

The Environmental Protection Agency determined that the refrigerant Freon also known as R-12 or CFC-12 was damaging the ozone layer and stopped production of the material. Now R-12 Freon is hard to find and very expensive. Although most vehicles produced before 1995 use R-12 in their air conditioning systems our Technicians can retrofit your vehicle to the new approved R134a. R134a is a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. This retrofit is more cost effective than attempting to repair the older systems.

Why choose Honest 1 ?

✔ Full 3 year / 36,000 Mile Warranty
✔ Free 24hr Roadside Assistance (Ask for Details)
✔ Complimentary Customer Shuttle
✔ Eco-Friendly Auto Care
✔ All Makes & Models
✔ Same-Day Service On Most Vehicles
✔ Comprehensive Vehicle Inspection

✔ Family Friendly Facilities
✔ Children's Play Areas
✔ No Appointment Needed
✔ Internet Cafe & Free Wifi
✔ Complimentary Beverages
✔ Free Local Pick-Up & Delivery
✔ Discounted Rental Cars Available In Most Locations