Your car’s air conditioning system needs to be able to pressurize refrigerant in order to operate. The AC compressor relay is an electronic component that turns your AC compressor off and on. Without it, the compressor will not work, no matter how good the other components are, because no electricity is being delivered to the compressor.
How long your AC compressor relay will last depends mainly on how often you use your air conditioning. The life of the compressor relay is measured in cycles, not miles – in other words, how many times it is turned on and off. Most are rated for about 50,000 cycles. For the typical driver, this usually translates to about ten years’ worth of driving. Of course, you have to keep in mind that the AC compressor relay is an electronic component, and as such, is vulnerable to damage from corrosion and dirt. If a lot of your driving takes place on dirt roads, or if you live in an area where salt and sand are used on the roads during the winter, you might have to replace the relay sooner.
Signs that your AC compressor relay needs to be replaced include:
- Compressor fails to turn on
- No cool air
Of course, this is not something that you need to deal with immediately, if you don’t mind living without air conditioning. However, if you are experiencing problems with the air conditioning in your car, an expert mechanic can provide a diagnosis, and if necessary, replace the AC compressor relay.