With modern air conditioning being around for over 100 years, it has become very much a part of our lives during the summer or if we live in a warm area year-round.

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Truck on the asphalt road in the evening

If you are looking to buy a new AC unit for your truck, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. We compiled a list of things you need to keep in mind while you are shopping for your new AC unit.    

Read on to learn so that you can invest in the best unit for your truck.     

1. Capacity and Performance

When you first start looking for AC units for your truck you want to look at what the cooling capacity is. Even if you are looking at after-market HVAC parts, the goal is for it to cool down your truck efficiently and quickly. If you have a smaller cabin in your truck, then you won’t need an AC unit as powerful as the one needed for a larger cabin, unless you want it to cool down the truck even faster. 

2. Engine Idling

Opting for an AC unit that won’t make you idle your engine is a smart move. There are powerful battery-powered air conditioning systems that keep your cab cool without the extra wear and tear on your engine

These battery-powered units will also reduce the costs to fuel up your truck. Another bonus is that you won’t have to deal with a loud engine running and no diesel emissions. Modern trucks like the F-150 hybrid offer 120-volt AC power which can supply up to 7,200 watts of power. 

3. Compressor

We recommend looking at the type of compressor the AC system has. The air compressor is what will keep you nice and cool inside your vehicle. It is not possible to create cold air without a working compressor. 

A compressor also senses any temperature changes because they monitor the temperature output. When a compressor is worn you will hear noise, notice Freon leaks, and it might operate erratically until it completely stops working.

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4. Condenser

Besides the compressor, you need to look at the AC condenser as well. This is responsible for turning hot refrigerant gas into a liquid. Condensers are usually mounted in front of the radiator in most vehicles. 

When the air goes through the condenser it turns the hot refrigerant gas into a condensed refrigerant liquid. Anytime you notice poor air conditioning performance or leaks, this is a sign of a worn condenser. 

5. Evaporator

You also want to look at how efficient the evaporator is because it removes the moisture in the air while cooling the air. Normally you will find the evaporator behind your dash and it is the most important stop before cold air comes out. 

Any low-pressure refrigerant that travels through the evaporator absorbs heat and then drops the temperature of the evaporator. 

6. Thermal Expansion Valve

One last thing to take into consideration is the thermal expansion valve that is found between the condenser and the evaporator. This valve is in charge of constantly monitoring the temperature of the AC system along with its pressure. 

This is how it determines the exact amount of refrigerant that can safely enter the evaporator. Sometimes this tube will also have a fine mesh screen which is a huge plus. Opting for a thermal expansion valve that has this fine mesh screen means that contaminants will be blocked from your AC system. 

When the thermal expansion valve is worn you will notice poor performance with your entire AC unit. 

Signs That Your AC Unit Is Failing

One major sign that your truck’s AC unit is not working is when the air feels cool but not cold. When you turn the AC on, it should feel icy cold. Sometimes this sign is an easy fix when you catch it early on. 

Don’t ignore this sign because the longer you wait the worst the problem can become and this will cost you more money to repair in the long run.

Another sign of a failing unit is weird noises. When you turn on the AC, it shouldn’t bang or rattle. Any strange noises like this can mean that something needs to be replaced because it is failing. This can also mean that there is debris or leaves caught in the unit that needs to be cleaned out. 

Anytime you notice water inside your truck’s cabin because of the AC, this is a bad sign. Whenever you turn on your AC, there is always condensed water from the evaporator that gets drained outside. Sometimes the hose that the condensed water needs to drain out through is clogged, so it will leak into the cabin instead of outside. 

Turning on the AC in your truck shouldn’t come with any bad smells or odors. Any stinky smells might mean that you have to replace or clean out the air filter. This is something else you never want to ignore because it can cause some serious health issues in the future. 

If the foul odor is from mold, this can quickly spread and will lead to you and your passengers inhaling mold spores. The longer you let this go, the more the spores will reproduce causing havoc on your health and your AC unit. 

Time to Shop for a New AC Unit for your Truck

With our guide above you can now shop and make an informed decision on what the best AC unit is for your truck and your needs. Take the weather in your area into consideration and also your cooling preferences. 

Keep in mind that the hotter the weather is outside the longer it will take for your truck to cool down. If you do not have the patience for your vehicle to cool down, then we recommend opting for the highest-powered AC unit possible. 

Once your unit is installed make sure that you maintain it to ensure it has the longest lifetime possible. 

We have plenty of other guides and tips, so make sure you keep browsing this section for more.