Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Clutch Cycling Switch

The AC clutch cycling switch is a very important component to a modern vehicle’s AC system. It is mounted in the low pressure side of the AC system and its purpose is to detect the flow of refrigerant in the system by measuring the pressure. When it is detected that the pressure has dropped below a certain threshold, the switch will activate allowing pressure from the high pressure side of the AC system to enter the low side and equalize the pressure. When the pressure returns to normal, the cycling switch will close. The pressure of the AC system fluctuates depending on several factors, such as the ambient temperature, age, and the amount of refrigerant in the system. This switch is designed to make sure that the pressure stays at a consistent level so that the AC can function correctly.

As this switch continuously cycles on and off, the AC system operates its electrical contacts which subjects the switch to a high amount of wear. Over time, the contacts wear out and the switch must be replaced for the AC to function. When the clutch switch has failed, it will usually produce a few simple symptoms to look out for.

1. Lack of cooling

If you begin to notice that the AC system is not blowing as cold as it used to, then that may be a sign that the switch has failed, or is beginning to fail. If the switch is not operating correctly, the AC system will not be pressurized correctly and will not work as efficiently in cooling the air. If you notice that the AC is no longer blowing the same cold air as it used to, you may want to consider looking at the switch.

2. No cooling at all

In more severe cases, where the switch has completely failed, your AC system will completely cease to blow cold air. Without the cycling switch to activate the compressor’s clutch, the AC system will not be pressurized correctly, and the system will be unable to produce any cold air as a result.

If you begin to notice that the AC system is no longer functioning as it used to, and you suspect that the clutch cycling switch may have a problem, consider having the switch tested and replaced if necessary. It is also important to be aware that when replacing the clutch cycling switch, the AC system will need to be refilled with the proper amount of oil and refrigerant for the AC system. However, this is something that any professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, should be able to take care of for you both quickly and precisely.


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Ben

41 years of experience
1410 reviews
Ben
41 years of experience
Volkswagen Beetle L5-2.5L - Heating AC - Houston, Texas
i am well satisfied with Mr Smith working on my car(s). He replaced the Jaguar fuel pump like an expert, and then he diagnosed the VW bug ac compressor and fixed it on the spot. I would recommend him to anyone with a car issue
Nissan Altima - Heating AC - Houston, Texas
Incredibly nice and took the time to show me the problem, including comparison pictures between my unit and what a new unit should look like.

Peter

43 years of experience
1321 reviews
Peter
43 years of experience
Saab 9-3 L4-2.0L Turbo - Heating AC - Phoenix, Arizona
He knows what he's doing. Very polite and explained everything. I would no doubt use him again. I highly recommend him.
Mazda Miata - Heating AC - Peoria, Arizona
We are so thrilled to have found Peter as our new mechanic. He is very thorough and knowledgeable. He is also friendly, professional, and extremely honest. He explained to us exactly what services were needed on our vehicle to repair the air conditioner and provided us with an written estimate of the cost. He literally saved us thousands of dollars in repair costs. A local major competitor quoted us a repair cost of a minimum of $1,400 and said that the cost would go up to $2,400 if they discovered an additional part was required. Peter charged us only $202, plus performed the work at our home. The air conditioner in our 2004 Mazda Miata has honestly never worked so great--it always blew out warm air. We just assumed it was how that particular car was manufactured. We would highly recommend Peter to anyone who is in need of an experienced and honest mechanic.

Pedro

31 years of experience
78 reviews
Pedro
31 years of experience
Chrysler PT Cruiser L4-2.4L - Heating AC - Portage, Indiana
Pedro was wonderful! He was early first and foremost. He was very professional and he explained things to me. He worked quickly and was very thorough. Very happy with his service.

Manuel

32 years of experience
580 reviews
Manuel
32 years of experience
Ford Taurus V6-3.0L - Heating AC - Long Beach, California
Good guy. Knows his stuff. Knowledgeable and straightforward with diagnostics and repair costs. I’d love to work with him again! Thank you Manuel!

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