Symptoms Of A Bad Car A/C Compressor

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A compressor is considered the heart of an automobile’s air conditioning system, and a bad car A/C compressor can quickly make it unusable. Below are some symptoms of a faulty compressor that drivers should always be on the lookout for because if you wait to get it fixed the problem will become worse.

Hot Air

This is often one of the first things that drivers will notice. The whole purpose of air conditioning is to produce cold air that will cool down the vehicle, so if the air coming out of the vents is hot, it defeats the purpose of having A/C. While warm or hot airflow might mean that your refrigerant levels have become depleted, it can also mean that you have a compressor that is near the end of its service life.

Strange Sounds

When operating your vehicle’s A/C you shouldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary. Those who are hearing strange sounds whenever their air conditioning is activated almost certainly have a compressor issue. This is because once this component goes bad; it could start grinding whenever the air conditioning is turned on, which results from internal parts like the bearings.

The Clutch Has Become Stuck

As with the manual transmission, most A/C compressors come with a clutch. The clutch will connect to the automobile’s engine for the purpose of extracting power. However, compressors will use this power only when necessary but when the compressor pulley or clutch becomes stuck the compressor cannot work since it won’t receive adequate power. If this happens, rather than replacing the clutch you’ll need to replace your compressor instead.

Fluid Is Leaking

A/C compressors are manufactured with internal bearings which are responsible for preventing refrigerant leakage. One of the jobs of a compressor is pressurizing refrigerant so it can cool. The trouble is that over time this tends to wear down the bearings due to the constantly pressurized environment, which will then cause the bearings to leak out the refrigerant.

What Happens If You Ignore A Faulty Compressor?

Some people are strapped for cash and do not want to spend it getting their compressor replaced, but the consequences for not doing so can be severe. Like most bad things in life, a faulty compressor will worsen over time. For instance, if the bearings inside the pulley are bad, it might cause a lockup which could stop your engine from working while you’re driving the vehicle! Obviously, if you’re driving on a freeway or high traffic area this could be catastrophic and lead to a major accident.

As you can see, this is not something that you can simply disregard. Ignoring the problem and rolling down your windows to cool down the vehicle might work as a temporary solution, but in the long run failing to get the compressor replaced can endanger both you and other drivers. Finally, because the compressor is the heart of the A/C, its malfunction can trigger problems with other car parts, leading to a cascade of additional issues.