Symptoms of a Bad or Failing AC Compressor

Our certified mechanics come to you · 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

GET A QUOTE Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront
Red-stars EXCELLENT RATING ON

Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing AC Compressor

Common signs include higher than normal cabin temperatures, loud noises when the compressor is running, and the compressor clutch not moving. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Car AC Compressor Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2012 Toyota Tundra $1328 $572.48 $756.00 23% $1733.48
2010 Ford F-350 Super Duty $1064 $581.21 $483.00 19% $1322.96
2006 Nissan Quest $1486 $638.64 $847.00 23% $1939.39
2013 Acura TSX $1095 $513.68 $581.00 22% $1405.93
2009 BMW 535i xDrive $1598 $1079.86 $518.00 14% $1875.36
2009 Audi S6 $1859 $1131.31 $728.00 17% $2249.31
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing AC Compressor?

AC Compressor

The AC compressor is one of the most important, if not the most important, components of a vehicle’s air conditioning system. It is responsible for pressurizing the AC system and keeping the refrigerant flowing so it can function properly. Because it functions in a continuous cycle on and off, it is subject to wear every time the AC is turned on. Just like any other component on a vehicle, it will eventually fail and need to be replaced.

The compressor is responsible for pressurizing and distributing the refrigerant, so if there is any problem with the compressor, the rest of the air conditioning system will be affected. Usually, when a compressor begins to fail, it will produce any of these 4 warning signs that alert the driver of the problem.

1. Cabin Temperatures Higher than Normal

One of the first signs that a compressor may be having trouble is the AC no longer blowing as cold as it once did. A damaged or failing compressor will not be able to properly regulate the refrigerant flow in the AC system, and as a result, the AC will not function properly. It may even still work, but the temperature of the air it blows out will fluctuate.

2. Loud Noises When the Compressor is Running

Loud noises when the AC is switched on is another potential symptom of a failing AC compressor. Much like other accessories driven by the engine’s belts, the AC compressor has several interior components and uses a sealed bearing to turn. If any of the interior components break, or the compressor’s internal bearings fail or seize, then all sorts of noises can be produced as a result. A leaking or worn out bearing will produce a high pitched squealing or grinding sound, while a seizing or seized bearing will produce a grinding noise or a noticeable belt squeal. Due to the complexity and nature of how compressors are assembled, it is usually easiest to replace the entire compressor instead of attempting a repair.

3. Visual Inspection Shows Damage to the Compressor or Belts

Premature wear or damage to the compressor and compressor belts will also cause the AC compressor to fail. Rust, physical damage, oil leaks, or paint damage can cause the ac compressor to stop functioning correctly. The lack of oil will cause the system to wear out faster and increase friction between the parts, leading to erratic temperatures when the AC is turned on in the car. Cracked or splitting belts will also contribute to compressor damage and will need replacement along with the compressor.

4. Compressor Clutch is Not Moving

Another sign of a problematic compressor is the clutch not moving. The clutch on the compressor is what allows the pulley to engage and disengage from engine power, so the compressor is only turning when it needs to. The clutch can seize — which permanently keeps the compressor activated — or it can break, which means the compressor will not be able to receive engine power. Sometimes the clutch itself can be replaced, but usually replacing the entire compressor turns out to be the most efficient repair.

The AC compressor is the heart of the AC system. If you suspect your AC compressor or another component of your vehicle’s AC system is having issues, consider having the system diagnosed by a professional technician. If necessary, they will also be able to replace the AC compressor for you.

ventilation
air conditioning
compressors

Fast and easy Car AC Compressor Replacement service at your home or office.

GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR CAR
Get a fair and transparent estimate upfront

Recent Car AC Compressor Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Car AC Compressor Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.6/5

Number of Reviews

349

Rating Summary
321
17
3
0
8
321
17
3
0
8

Eric

12 years of experience
87 reviews
Eric
12 years of experience
Eric is a consummate professional. He communicates well, and shows up ready to get the job done. In my case, he went above and beyond what would be expected to make sure my family got the service we needed. Highly recommended.
1996 JEEP CHEROKEE - AC COMPRESSOR - ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

Joe

40 years of experience
576 reviews
Joe
40 years of experience
He was on time and took the time to show us everything that he was doing. Very professional.
2011 HONDA CR-V - CAR AC COMPRESSOR REPLACEMENT - LARGO, FLORIDA

Peter

40 years of experience
1059 reviews
Peter
40 years of experience
Excellent
2007 SATURN AURA - AC COMPRESSOR - PEORIA, ARIZONA

William

31 years of experience
144 reviews
William
31 years of experience
So glad I found a mechanic that was fast, efficient, friendly and professional. Would recommend him and your company to everyone.
2006 FORD F-350 SUPER DUTY - AC COMPRESSOR - PHOENIX, ARIZONA

More related articles

Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...

Related questions

Q: Black soot and bad smell coming from the heater vents.

Hi there. Sounds like the cabin air filter to the heating and a/c system is degrading and peeling apart. The stuff that is coming out into the cabin area is a filter full of dirt and debris. I recommend replacing...

Q: Q: Power steering out

Hello, since the fluid is full and you state the air conditioning is also failing, you should check the front of the engine and make sure that the drive belt is present. If the belt is present, I would say...

Q: AC making noise

The bearings inside the front of the air conditioning compressor may have become severely worn resulting in unwanted movement. The extra movement can lead to damage of the drive belt system. I would have an experienced technician inspect the entire...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1-800-701-6230 · hi@yourmechanic.com