How To Deal With A Seized Automobile A/C Compressor

How To Deal With A Seized Automobile A/C Compressor

Ideally, your automotive air conditioning system cools your vehicle’s interior. Through the system, refrigerant circulates courtesy of an automobile A/C compressor which, not surprisingly, compresses the refrigerant so that it can do its job. The A/C may not function, however, if you experience a seized compressor. Can it be freed up? In order to perform the necessary repairs, you must find the reason the compressor seized up in the first place.

Let’s troubleshoot a seized automobile A/C compressor.

Is There a Problem with Your A/C Compressor? Signs and Symptoms

Is the A/C compressor on your vehicle about to go bad? Here are some signs and symptoms to watch for that could point to a potential or future problem:

  • From somewhere in the engine compartment, you detect a noise you’re not used to hearing.
  • Though you have the air conditioning system set to its highest fan setting and coldest temperature setting, the air isn’t getting as cold as you’d like it to be.
  • The compressor pulley clutch will not engage.
  • You see that the A/C compressor is obviously damaged after a visual inspection.

Other problems can be related to the compressor which could include the following:

  • Blown fuse (or a bad relay)
  • Clogged cabin air filter
  • Bad blower motor
  • Broken or worn serpentine belt
  • Blocked refrigerant
  • Loss of refrigerant (from a leak somewhere in the system)


Courtesy of a wire that connects the A/C compressor to the electric clutch, the compressor itself receives electrical power. A short in the wire or a loose connection can mean that there is no power going to the compressor. This can end up in compressor seizure. Replacing the faulty wire or tightening the connection may correct the seized compressor problem.


There is a pump in your A/C compressor. Your compressor may seize up from a lack of fluid if there is a leak in the pump. You may be able to seal the leak. To determine its location, you would use a leak detector.

At a reasonable cost, you should be able to pick up a compressor kit to use as a replacement once the leak has been sealed. Along with the compressor, lubricating oil should be purchased.

Frequently, if you top off the compressor refrigerant and conduct an oil change, you can restore the normal function of a compressor. It should resolve its normal function once it’s freed up courtesy of the top-off and oil change.


Sediment, dirt, and various types of debris can lead to seizures when they clog the compressor and become trapped in the hoses and the compressor pump. To solve this problem, the pump and hoses must be flushed. Before doing so, you must disconnect them. Flushing can then take place. Additionally, a refrigeration refill and an oil change can help free up the A/C compressor and eliminate debris.

Need an Automotive A/C Compressor Kit?

If you have been tasked with locating an automotive air conditioning system component, before shopping anywhere else, check out the inventory at R & Y A/C Compressors®. Currently in stock, we have numerous accumulators, valves, evaporators, condensers, and other parts and components. If you need it to work on the A/C system of a vehicle, chances are, we carry it. Call us now to find out.