Symptoms of a Bad Compressor
The AC compressor is an important component of your vehicle's air conditioning system. It works by circulating the air in the system to maintain its optimal working condition.
The compressor constantly operates, switching ON and OFF, making it prone to failure.
Like other mechanical components, it eventually needs to be replaced due to its wear and tear.
If the car's air conditioning fails or wears out, it might be time to replace the bad AC compressor.
Since it's responsible for circulating and pressurizing the air, a faulty component can affect the entire system.
The article covers the various symptoms of a bad compressor.
Table of Contents
- What Does the AC Compressor Do?
- Symptoms of a Bad Compressor
- Compressor Not Turning On: Common Reasons
- How to Diagnose Car AC Compressor
- How to Remove an AC Compressor
- Best Car Deals by Category
What Does the AC Compressor Do?
The introduction of the car AC system has allowed families and commercials to travel further in comfort.
With the help of an AC compressor, you can lower the temperature of your vehicle's interior.
The air conditioning system's power unit is responsible for pressuring and converting the gas into a liquid state.
Symptoms of a Bad Compressor
Having a clear understanding of the symptoms of a faulty component can help you avoid costly repairs. In addition to being easy to identify, bad AC compressor signs can also be Crystal-clear.
By monitoring these signs, you can diagnose and replace the component in your vehicle. They include the following:
1. Loud noise coming from the AC compressor
The clicking noise from the vehicle's air conditioning system can be caused by the compressor continuously switching ON and OFF.
If this noise continues and becomes louder than usual, it's a sign that the clutch is in bad condition.
The clutch is an integral part of the air compressor, and failure could cause it to seize or run free.
The interior components of the car's air conditioning system are various parts.
The compressor might generate noise if the internal bearing or other components are damaged or seized.
If the clutch is experiencing issues, it's important to diagnose and replace the faulty component.
2. Compressor clutches stiff or not moving
The compressor clutch is connected to the engine's pulley and is used to engage and disengage the compressor. It also allows the unit to spin when it needs to.
If the clutch fails, the compressor will stop receiving power. The good news is that the clutch is separate from the compressor. After diagnosis, you can either replace the entire unit or the clutch.
3. Broken Suction Lines
The lines that run from the air vent to the vehicle's interior are known as refrigerant lines.
If the lines are blocked, hot air will flow from the vents and require an HVAC expert to fix them.
4. Tripping circuit breaker
If the outside condensing unit of your vehicle keeps tripping the circuit, it could be a sign that the compressor is failing.
This issue is caused by the compressor overheating and drawing excessive power.
If you notice that the circuit breaker is tripped, do not try to switch on the system.
It's important to remember that it's only doing its job and protecting the vehicle from a fire.
5. Moisture leak
Most people need to realize that moisture can affect the operation of the vehicle's air conditioning system.
The air conditioning system uses a type of refrigerant known as air conditioning refrigerant. When the system runs out of this component, it will only produce warm air.
A leak in the air conditioning system's refrigeration component can lead to various health issues and increase the vehicle's energy consumption.
6. High Cabin Temperature
If the dashboard vents are not producing cold air, it could indicate that the AC compressor is failing.
A bad or failing air conditioning compressor can prevent the system from efficiently distributing the necessary refrigerant.
When the compressor fails, your vehicle will experience hot air from the interior, which causes discomfort. However, there are three possible reasons why this issue might occur.
One of these is a leak in the refrigeration component; the other two are a low-refrigerant and a failing AC compressor.
7. Damaged Wire
If you notice that the wires are damaged, it could indicate that the AC compressor is failing. This issue could also lead to an electrical fire.
If the vehicle's electrical system is not working properly, it could be a sign that the AC compressor is failing. This could cause the compressor to get too much or too little voltage.
8. Auxiliary Drive Belt Excessively Wearing
If you have recently replaced the belt and you notice that your new belt is starting to wear out fast or the compressor is making a loud noise, then you must inspect the pulley of the A/C compressor.
The wear out of the compressor's pulley could cause it to exert excessive movement on its bearings, which could cause the pulley to run at different angles.
This could also cause the rubber belt to wear out prematurely. The excessive movement could cause a high pitch noise as the rubber belt gets rubbed against the unaligned pulley.
If this is the issue, removing the auxiliary drive belt and inspecting the pulley for any signs of free play is important.
Some compressors will allow you to change the pulleys without replacing the entire unit, which is typically not the case.
Compressor Not Turning On: Common Reasons
There are many possible reasons why your AC compressor doesn't turn on. They include the following:
If the fan is still running, but the AC compressor is not working, it could be a sign that the outer unit housing is not receiving power.
Check the wires that connect the two units. There could be a tripped fuse, a faulty thermostat, or mismatched outdoor and indoor units.
2. Circuit Breaker Tripping
Circuit breakers are designed to protect your car from a potential fire. When multiple appliances are running simultaneously, this could overload the system.
If the outside condensing unit constantly loses power, this could be a sign that the compressor is failing. It also indicates that the unit needs too much power to perform its job.
3. Dead Compressor
If the compressor is dead, it could be a sign that the unit is failing due to an overheating issue or a faulty capacitor, and it won't come on. In this case, you have to replace the entire unit.
4. AC Compressor Replacement Cost
After diagnosing the issue, we now have to consider the cost of replacing the AC compressor.
It's a very important component of your vehicle, and it will be costly to replace it after it goes bad.
The total unit can be replaced by around $800 to $1,200. The labor costs will also be around $150 to $200.
How to Diagnose Car AC Compressor
After you notice that your car's air compressor is failing, you must diagnose it to avoid replacing it.
Here are a couple of simple steps that will allow you to test your car's air compressor:
1. Check the temperature fluctuations of your vehicle's air conditioner.
If the temperature goes up while the AC is still working, your car's air compressor may fail.
2. When inspecting the car's air compressor, it's important to inspect it for signs of physical damage and oil leaks.
If the car's air compressor is failing, then it may have oil leaks. This can cause it to work inefficiently and even cause premature failure.
When the air conditioning system is activated, the low oil in the compressor can cause friction, leading to inconsistent temperatures.
3. Check if the clutch turns freely. Please make sure the AC compressor clutch doesn't make a noise, or it's hard to turn.
A poorly functioning clutch can severely affect the functioning of the compressor unit.
4. When the engine starts, turn the AC to the coolest setting, and set the fan at maximum.
After that, open the hood and inspect the compressor clutch. If the clutch is not engaged, the compressor unit might not work.
5. If the car's air conditioner has low Freon, there's possibly a leak in the system.
It's important to check the condition of the AC's refrigerant, as low Freon indicates the system is leaking.
How to Remove an AC Compressor
Before working on your AC compressor, take off your battery-negative terminal.
This will prevent you from getting a short circuit and jolt of electricity. You can access the serpentine belt by removing the cover from your engine. After the right tool, pry the belt away from the compressor.
You must have a cup bolt to access the components you removed from the engine. Check the low- and high-pressure lines of the compressor.
After locating the lines, take a clean cloth and block the ends to prevent dirt and grit from entering the hole.
After locating the electrical connection on the compressor, use your flathead screwdriver to remove it. Now it's time to loosen the upper and lower mounting bolt.
A universal socket is also required to loosen the mounting bolt. Before loosening the bolt, break free the other ones first.
Doing so will prevent you from accidentally damaging the compressor or yourself.