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Home >   How To >   How to Repair AC Parts >   AC Compressor Replacement Issues

AC Compressor Replacement Issues


The AC Compressor starts the AC cycle by compressing the refrigerant and passing it to the condenser. As with any part of the automobile, the compressor will get clogged by impurities over time. The compressor defect is blamed for failure in the AC system more often than it deserves. The fact is that only about 3% of the time a compressor defect is the real cause of failure. Contamination of the system or lack of refrigerant is the most common cause of failure and many times the compressor is still functioning properly when the system has failed. Here are some of the most common AC compressor replacement issues, their causes and remedies:


Why are compressors removed from vehicles?


Loss of Charge:


Cold refrigerant entering the compressor from the evaporator provides the necessary cooling. Without the refrigerant, the compressor will simply overheat. Maintaining an optimum level of refrigerant is highly necessary for the proper functioning of the compressor.


Cause of the refrigerant loss:


Loss of refrigerant generally occurs due to leaks in the AC system. Fixing the leaky hoses or components will allow the compressor to pump the refrigerant at the optimal pressure.


Remedy: Recharge the AC system to the optimal level and check the refrigerant level periodically to ensure that it doesn't drop below the optimal.




Moisture will increase discharge pressures, degrade the lubricant, and reduce cooling performance. Particles will make the bearings and other moving parts of the compressor go bad. The compressor, being a high pressure component, cannot handle liquids or moisture.


Cause of contamination:


An AC system includes an accumulator to prevent moisture or oil from entering the compressor. When the accumulator malfunctions, it will of course, let the impurities pass through it resulting in a compressor failure.


Remedy: Inspect the part causing contamination and replace it, as needed.


ac compressor replacement issue    


Clutch Failure:


The clutch engages the compressor with the engine. Any electrical failure at the clutch will not properly engage the engine with the compressor, making the compressor malfunction.


Cause of Clutch Failure:


Clutch failure usually occurs in an engine, after years of usage. However, it can also fail due to engine overheating. When the engine gets overheated, the overall pressure in the system increases, which makes it difficult for the compressor to function.


Remedy: Check the electrical connections of the clutch and replace them, as required.


Other Problems:


The AC system includes other components such as the condenser, evaporator, accumulator and the orifice tube. Since the whole AC system works in a cycle, if a single component of the system fails, it will affect the AC cycle, making the entire system malfunction.


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