An air conditioner or A/C valve core is the poppet valve supported by a spring that serves as the key component of the Schrader valve. It consists of both a valve stem and the core it's threaded unto.
In turn, the Schrader or American valve is a type of pneumatic tire valve used on nearly all vehicular tires including the common BMX bicycle as well as air conditioners. It's named after the Schrader Company founded by August Schrader back in 1844.
Aside from tubeless and tube tires, Schrader valves and their valve cores are also used on many A/C and refrigerator systems to allow servicing, including refrigerant refilling by plumbers doing leak-down pressure tests on pipes.
Things to Take Note of
- Item Specifics: When buying a replacement part, you can either check the part number and get a virtual clone of it or get a cheaper aftermarket or generic part that matches its specs but comes at a more affordable price. Just make sure you're getting a good A/C valve core deal by knowing what to look for. It should have two O-rings for dual seal and made of brass or metal, for example. Its size should also match the size of your valve core. If you have the part number of your valve core, you can search by using that info instead.
- Ergonomics and Sturdiness: The new replacement A/C valve core should have an ergonomic design since it's something that allows the Schrader valve to install in the service port of your A/C system. It's supposed to be used by hand for easy installation and its tendency to get loose or lost during A/C servicing is also due to these facts. You also want a durable valve core that enables your Schrader valve to close tight so that there aren't any refrigerant leaks happening when push comes to shove.
- Price Considerations: You can get the A/C valve core for your Schrader core quite cheaply when you buy it online. Its price can range from as cheap as $5 or as much as $20 depending on the origin of the part, if it's used/refurbished/OE-standard/aftermarket/OEM, or if it's a standalone part/service kit. The price can also vary from where you've bought it or the cookies you have in your computer. Make a price comparison chart in order to get the best possible deal from the available items.
- Service Kit versus Standalone Part: Spending that extra $15 for a service kit might be worth it so that you have spare A/C valves and Schrader valves on hand in case you lose or damage either in the future. The kit also includes the tools necessary for valve core installation. If you're a mechanic by trade, then it's obviously cheaper to get the part itself provided that you already have the tools needed to uninstall the old valve core and install the new one in a DIY manner.