How To Know If Your Car AC Compressor Is Low On Oil


The main functions of AC compressor oil are to keep everything lubricated and to assist in cooling the compressor’s many moving parts.

Additionally, by shielding the rubber seals in the refrigerant lines and at joints and connections, the oil layer significantly lowers the amount of refrigerant that seeps out.

As a result, if an A/C compressor doesn’t have enough oil, it may not be able to cool air or may experience other issues.

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to be aware of the indications of low oil in the A/C compressor and to take action as soon as you see them.

To assist you to determine whether your car A/C compressor is low on oil and needs new oil, we’ve included all the typical low oil signs below.

Unusual Humming Noises

The appearance of buzzing sounds from your air conditioner is one of the first indications that the A/C compressor is working with insufficient oil.

You could also find that starting the compressor has suddenly become challenging. The noise might be a sign of a failed starting capacitor, but in most instances, a hard-to-start compressor that also makes humming noises ends up needing more oil.

Because your A/C system can eventually quit working, we advise you to pay special attention if it begins to make strange buzzing noises.

Seized A/C Compressor

The sign of a seized compressor is frequently a loss of lubrication, which means the compressor is running low on oil.

Because oil circulates with the refrigerant, when the system has a refrigerant leak anywhere, the A/C compressor could eventually run out of oil and seize (allowing the two fluids to escape).

There may be a concealed leak site, but the most common ones are hoses, hose-pipe connectors (flange gaskets and O-rings), the condenser, evaporator, or the A/C compressor shaft seal itself.

In this situation, you should look for the real leak (perhaps using an electronic leak detector or dye if it is not immediately apparent) and fix it before adding more fluid.

Other A/C Compressor Low Oil Symptoms

The reduction of friction between load-bearing surfaces is a desired outcome of adequate lubrication.

The system can operate at peak efficiency while increasing the life of these components by reducing or eliminating the abrasion.

Given this, a complete loss of oil or oil level that is reduced will have the exact opposite effect.

For example:

  • Inside the compressor, every bearing and rod will either be worn out or scored.
  • Additionally, the crankshaft will be equally scored.
  • In the event that the compressor seizes, rods may be damaged.

Because there is little or no oil in the crankcase, the refrigerant cannot return oil as quickly as it is being pumped out, which is one factor that could be causing the wear.