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Q: After valve cover gasket replacement, compressor broke

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There was a burning smell in my car and I took it to the mechanic’s shop. He told me that he found that the valve cover gaskets had been leaking oil onto the exhaust. He removed and replaced both of the valve cover gaskets. As soon as I had driven away, the A/C light started flashing, which was an indication that the compressor had broken. Back to the mechanic’s and I had him look again. He reported that the compressor, sure enough, was broken but that it was not due to the valve gasket replacements. The timing was either a coincidence or a bit suspicious to me. I would like your assessment. What other things can cause a compressor to break and what is the best fix?

A: Hi there. Thanks for writing in about your ...

Hi there. Thanks for writing in about your 2000 Lexus GS400. Compressors can go bad due to oil saturation. It is likely that the technician spilled additional oil on the compressor when replacing the valve cover. The technician may have dealt the final blow to the already weakened compressor if they did spill such additional oil onto it. Unfortunately there is no real way to prove if this was done or not. If you need to have this taken care of, a qualified professional, such as one from YourMechanic can take a look at the car and replace the compressor if necessary.

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