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How Do Tractor AC Systems Work?

Jan 7, 2022 ·

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Farming equipment is important to maintain, as these machines help keep the agricultural industry running. Tractors are one of the classes of heavy-duty vehicles that farmers use for a variety of tasks.

There are many different systems at work in a tractor, including an air-conditioning system that helps keep the driver comfortable inside the cab.

Keep reading to learn more about how a tractor AC system works and how it’s similar to those found in everyday vehicles.

Tractor AC Basics

A tractor is a machine that features a lot of glass, making it easy for sunlight to warm the interior. They also don’t have as many windows that can be opened like other vehicles, which can make it harder to release the heat trapped inside.

Considering tractors are used in the elements and are often surrounded by dust and diesel exhaust fumes, having a functioning air-conditioning system is important.

A tractor AC system operates like those found in everyday cars and trucks. Refrigerant helps move the heat out and lower the temperature as it recirculates air through the cabin of the tractor. The air-conditioning system provides a perpetual process of compression, condensation, metering and evaporation to cool and condition the air.

Knowing the components of a tractor’s air-conditioning system and how they function during this process can help with understanding how it operates.

Tractor Air-Conditioning Parts

There are several parts that work together within a tractor AC system. Here are the five primary components:

  • Compressor: A compressor draws low-pressure refrigerant vapor from the evaporator and “compresses” it into a high-pressure, high-temperature vapor. It’s also responsible for moving refrigerant through the system.
  • Condenser: The condenser is a heat exchanger that liquifies (condenses) the high-temperature, high-pressure refrigerant vapor it receives from the compressor. The heat is transferred from the hot refrigerant to the cooler outside air flowing around its coils and fins.
  • TXV (metering device): Precisely regulates refrigerant flow into the evaporator to obtain maximum cooling and ensure complete evaporation of the liquid refrigerant within the evaporator. It also provides a pressure drop in the AC circuit, which changes high-pressure, high-temperature liquid into low-pressure, low-temperature liquid.
  • Evaporator: This heat exchanger helps play a role in the final step of the cooling process by removing moisture from the air and absorbing heat that’s been drawn from the cab area. Air blown from the evaporator is much colder as it leaves. Any moisture, dust, pollen or smoke is condensed and collected on the outside of the evaporator’s core.
  • Cooling fans: A few fans help supply a constant stream of air through the condenser and evaporator.

Common Tractor AC Issues

Tractor air-conditioning systems may feature larger components, and with these parts comes the potential for needed repairs. Wear and tear can occur to the different parts and prevent the AC from operating properly.

Some common problems could include:

  • Black film: This is a major problem that can occur if the compressor is damaged. Debris can travel through the AC system and form a black film that contaminates all other system components.
  • Fan failures: Wear and tear on cooling fans can cause a lack of airflow through the condenser or evaporator. This issue can cause a lack of cooling within the system.
  • Leaking refrigerant: Cracks or leaks in one of the AC components can hamper system performance or cause the system to stop cooling altogether. Sometimes, debris like rocks can strike the condenser and cause this to happen.
  • Restricted refrigerant flow: Several issues can cause refrigerant to not flow properly through the AC system. Lines might get restricted or expansion valves could fail and prevent or reduce the flow of refrigerant.

It’s important to properly maintain the components of a tractor’s AC system so they can function properly and last as a long as possible. Servicing this system regularly is important, and getting problems addressed in a timely manner can help prevent more serious and costly damage. A trained agricultural mechanic can help diagnose the source of the problem and perform repairs or maintenance.

Take Steps Toward a Future in Agriculture at UTI

Farming equipment like tractors relies on diesel power to stay running. If you’re interested in working in the agricultural industry, enrolling in the Diesel Technology program offered at UTI can be a great first step toward pursuing a career as an agricultural mechanic.1

Agricultural mechanics, also known as agricultural technicians, work to maintain and repair farming equipment like tractors, plows, harvesters and more. These professionals provide necessary service that directly impacts the lives of others.

Those who graduate from UTI’s 45-week core diesel program7 have the opportunity to apply for the Fendt Technician Academy, an 8-week Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training program (MSAT) that allows students to work hands-on with farming equipment and technology.15

The Fendt program is offered at UTI’s Lisle, Illinois, campus. Fendt-certified program instructors cover a range of topics, including working on tractor AC systems.

The program offers many benefits to students, including paid housing and the ability to earn Level 1-3 Fendt Wheeled Tractor Certification. Graduates of the program are prepared for employment at Fendt dealerships nationwide.

Read more about the Fendt Technician Academy on our blog, or reach out to an Admissions Representative and request more information today.

UTI Campuses That Offer Diesel Mechanic Training

UTI's core diesel program is available at the following campuses: 

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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