Know The Difference Between A Failing And Bad Auto A/C Compressor

There are times in which an auto A/C compressor is wearing out, and there are times when it is simply bad. Knowing the difference between the two scenarios is crucial, and below is an overview of this component, and why it is so important to recognize the warning signs of a pending malfunction.

The Wonders Of Climate Control

Many automobile enthusiasts consider climate control to be one of the auto industry’s greatest innovations. This is because it allows you to set the temperature in your vehicle, creating an environment which is separate from that outside. In fact, most luxury cars these days have multi-zone climate control, meaning occupants in different areas of the vehicle can set cooling or heating temperatures to their individual preferences. All of this is achieved by a key component which is called the compressor.

How Compressors Function

When you activate the A/C in your vehicle, the compressor will come on immediately. It operates in a sequence where refrigerant flows inside the condenser, where heat is eliminated. Next, the dryer eradicates any contaminants present in the refrigerant, transmitting it to an expansion valve where pressure subsides. Finally, the refrigerant enters the evaporator, where it becomes frigid and then the air is pushed through vents by a blower motor into the vehicle. Therefore, compressors play an essential role in the function of an A/C system and all these other components.

Signs The Compressor Is Bad

Air conditioning, like all other car components, require periodic inspection and servicing. However, many drivers put it off because they are busy, it is a hassle and it costs money.  Unfortunately, most are forced to visit a mechanic when their A/C finally breaks down, usually during the hottest part of summer, and because they put off inspection; they end up spending more money than they would have had the problem been identified and addressed early. Sometimes the compressor is bad right out of the box. This is usually the result of either a manufacturing defect, or the compressor was installed incorrectly. Either way, an air conditioning unit which has a bad compressor will usually produce air which is either warm or not as cool as desired.

Signs The Compressor Has Failed

A failing compressor is one that has simply worn out due to age. Unlike bad compressors, it was installed correctly and is free of manufacturing defect, but its best days are behind it. Typical signs of a failed compressor include a clutch that won’t move, or strange noises which are made whenever you turn on the A/C. While some drivers think that compressors can be repaired DIY, in reality, they are intricate components whose function is beyond the capacity of most hobbyists.  It is usually best to simply replace the compressor, and then perform yearly maintenance checks and keep your car and A/C system in good working order.