Car A/C Compressor Guide: Understanding What’s Under The Hood Of Your Car
We hear a lot about the compressor when talking about car A/C systems, especially when they fail and we get blasted with hot air in our faces instead of cool air! But what exactly is a compressor, and how does it work? Is it so complicated that you need to hire a mechanic to fix every A/C problem? Or does a basic understanding of the car A/C compressor help you in some ways? Read on to find out more about that ever-important piece of machinery under the hood.
What Is A Car A/C Compressor?
If you have never seen a compressor or you think you may not have, you can find pictures in our directory of compressors for sale. The compressor is often regarded as the “heart” of the car A/C system. Why? Because it’s the most vital component of the system and does all the work necessary to keep your air cool. This involves pulling the refrigerant out of the evaporator, pushing it into a condenser, and then back into the evaporator to complete the cycle.
More technically speaking, the compressor is an electro-mechanical pump, driven by a belt that is attached to the engine’s crankshaft, or by electricity in the case of newer models. It moves the refrigerant through a loop to continuously provide cool air for your car. The refrigerant is carried by rubber hoses and aluminum pipes from one component to another, and these hoses or pipes may sometimes suffer wear and tear.
There are various types of compressors, including the piston, wobble plate, scroll, and many other types. Regardless of what type they are, they all serve the same function – circulating the refrigerant through the A/C system.
Identifying A Problem With The Compressor
There are many reasons why a compressor might fail, including bad fuses, wear and tear, age, wiring mismatch and other maintenance issues. Regardless, do bear in mind that A/C compressors are designed to only start when there is sufficient refrigerant to compress. Most systems have a low-pressure safety cutout that switches off the compressor once refrigerant levels get low, and will disengage your compressor clutch such that it no longer spins when the A/C is switched on. Hence, the logical thing to do would be to check the refrigerant first thing to find out if there is a lack of refrigerant in your car A/C. If you do actually have enough refrigerant or have just refilled it, and the A/C is still acting up, it might be the compressor issue after all.
If you have compressor issues which you feel would not be a simple one to fix DIY, speak to a professional who can help you with a proper diagnosis of your car A/C system. R & Y A/C Compressors have workshops all over the United States, and we are happy to take a look at your car at your soonest convenience and see what sort of help it needs.