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The benefits of keeping your air conditioning system in tip-top order are well known. We can feel them and we can see them.

On hot days, when others are feeling the heat, the coolest place to be can be inside your car. On cold days, when there’s mist in the air, your air con will help keep your windscreen clear.

But how does it happen? What’s the ‘magic’ that makes it work?

At a basic level, air conditioning refrigerant is pumped around a sealed system at high pressure. The system is usually under the vehicle’s bonnet and behind the dashboard. Due to the condensing and evaporation properties of the gas, this causes a cooling effect in one of the system components.

The normal air-flow is then directed through this component before it emerges into the car’s interior via the dashboard air vents. It is also possible to have air-conditioned warm air by turning up the heater controls.

The cooling component also removes moisture as it passes through, taking out contaminants such as pollen and pollution. The moisture drains out beneath the vehicle, sometimes leaving a small pool of water under the front of the car when the air con is on and working hard. This is a good thing as it shows the system is working well.