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How Does a Failed Air Compressor Affect Your Car?

Car Air Compressor

One of the greatest advances in the automotive industry was climate control. Air conditioning in cars is one of the greatest inventions, and I think you’ll agree with us. During the hot summer months, nothing is more relieving than retreating to your cool car after being out in the sun all day. However, when your AC begins to fail for one reason or another, it can be a harsh dose of what life was like before this luxury existed. One component of the AC system that runs into problems frequently is the air compressor. In this article, we’ll go over what the air compressor does for your AC system, how you can spot symptoms of failure, and what you can do to prevent issues from arising.

What does an air compressor do for your car?

In the cabin of your vehicle, when you press the AC button the air compressor immediately kicks on. It works through a sequence of events in a fairly simple process. First, the refrigerant flows through the condenser which removes any heat. Then, the dryer removes contaminants from the refrigerant, sending it off to the expansion valve where the pressure is removed. Lastly, the refrigerant flows through the evaporator where it is turned ice cold and the cold air you feel on you in the cabin is blown at you via the blower motor. So, you see, compressors instigate and are responsible for the entire process of air conditioning in your cabin.

The various pieces of the AC system

As we just mentioned, there are numerous parts of your AC system that work in a series in order to provide the driver and passengers with a cool-air-filled cabin. If any of these parts encounters an issue, it can take a toll on the entire process and leave your AC system useless:

  • Condenser
  • Accumulator
  • Evaporator
  • Expansion valve
  • Clutch
  • Dryer
  • Compressor

There are a few other components such as hoses and the refrigerant itself that should also be inspected frequently in order to ensure your AC system works all year round.

How to know when your AC needs servicing

Your air conditioning system needs regular, routine servicing. The intervals for proper servicing and replacement part recommendations can be found in your owner’s manual, which will differ significantly between brands, models, and vehicle year. It is also important to consult with a professional mechanic who is familiar with your specific type of vehicle.

Symptoms specifically related to compressor failure

Since the AC system in your car is complex and involves several different components, it’s important to be able to distinguish a compressor failure issue from symptoms of other potential problem areas in the AC system. Here’s what to look out for if the possible suspect is the compressor alone:

  • The air isn’t as cold as it should be
  • The compressor clutch doesn’t move
  • Odd noises when the AC is running

In order to figure out what the exact cause of your AC troubles is, it’s important to bring your car to an automotive specialist to perform a differential diagnosis.

How to keep your AC working year round

Though the summer months especially necessitate a good-working AC unit, it’s essential to keep your AC working all year round, as the other months of the year often require the use of the defroster feature that requires optimal AC functioning. Here’s what you can do to prevent problems from arising with your AC unit or compressor specifically:

  • Hire a specialist
  • Perform routine maintenance tasks
  • Have your AC system checked out before each season
  • Report troublesome symptoms to your specialist right away
  • Be on the lookout for refrigerant leaks

Car AC Here at Pro Car Mechanics, we know just how hot it can get over the summer months of the year. Having a working AC in a car for the residents of Gardena, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Glendale, and Anaheim, CA, is crucial – temperatures can reach upwards of triple digits quite easily. If you’ve recently noticed that your AC system isn’t working in your European import, bring it over to the specialists here at Pro Car Mechanics. We service vehicles such as: Audi, Mercedes, MINI, BMW, and Land Rover, just to name a few. Please call one of our helpful professionals today to schedule an appointment.