For the air conditioning system in your car to work properly, it has to pressurize refrigerant. That is the function of the AC compressor. The compressor itself gets a signal from the AC relay, and is operated by a belt that is powered by your engine’s crankshaft – the AC compressor belt. In some cars, the AC compressor belt is separate, but in most modern cars, the serpentine belt runs the AC compressor along with all the other accessories in your car.
Belts of any kind have a limited life. Usually, you can expect your AC belt to last between 30,000 and 40,000 miles. If the belt is exposed to contaminants, its life will be reduced. If you are an infrequent driver, the life may be more effectively measured in terms of years – usually a belt will last between three and four years, even if it does not become contaminated. Beyond that point, the likelihood of failure will increase. So, your AC compressor belt will inevitably wear, and if you own your vehicle for long enough, it will inevitably have to be replaced.
Signs that your AC compressor belt needs to be replaced include:
- Wearing, fraying, cracking or looseness in the belt
- Belt is broken
- Belt is missing
- No air conditioning
If the AC compressor is operated by means of a serpentine belt, your car will not run. If the compressor belt is separate, you can live without it as long as you don’t mind having no air conditioning. An expert mechanic can replace your AC compressor belt for you so that you can drive in comfort.