Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Car shakes with air conditioning (AC) on

asked by on

Hi, I have a Nissan Maxima 2001 GLE 3.0 6V. I recently changed the radiator due to it vibrating hard and causing a loud noise whenever the A/c was on or after a good amount of time of driving my car. During the time that it started my car also started vibrating hard when the A/c is on or after driving for awhile as described above. The car has no history of failures other than the battery dying, the started changed, the speed sensor changed as well. I am guessing it could be the compressor but, I am not completely sure. I was wondering if anyone could help me before I go out and spend a lot on what could be caused by small fixes as well. Also my steering wheel does feel a bit flimsy at times I do not know if that helps. Thanks!!

My car has 145000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The air conditioning compressor adds signif...

The air conditioning compressor adds significant load to the engine. The compressor can be considered a small engine itself. Much in the way pistons compress air and fuel to power the vehicle, the internals of the a/c compressor compress refrigerant in the system to change the state of refrigerant from liquid to gas and back. If not for the engine control unit using things like the idle air control valve to increase the idle speed, the a/c compressor would put enough of a load on the engine to reduce the idle significantly, even make it stall. A number of components can cause the shaking you feel, but since it’s more pronounced when the a/c is on, I’ll focus there.

It is possible the a/c compressor may need replacement. A certified technician can inspect the compressor and monitor the pressure readings on the high and low sides of the system. If the pressure readings are not steady, it would indicate the compressor is worn internally and needs replacement. If the compressor is worn and the high and low side pressure readings are bouncing around, this can make the entire car shake when the compressor is running. Another possibility is weak/worn engine and/or transmission mounts. The mounts are under a lot of strain. They keep the engine and transmission in place to maintain correct suspension angles, keep things like wiring and hoses from constant flexing when the powertrain rocking back and forth, as well as isolate the passengers from vibration and noise. If the mounts are weak or any one of them are actually broken, more vibration and noise can be transmitted throughout the vehicle, especially with the added stress of the a/c compressor running.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Idle issues or MAF sensor? 2001 Nissan Maxima

The idle air control valve monitors the air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being injected into the engine. This valve is controlled by the vehicle's computer which will adjust idle speed based upon other measurements such...

Q: Possible short in electrical

Hi. It sounds to me like the oil that was sprayed into the engine bay has reached your fuse/relay box and shorted some things out. I would have a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, check your electrical system...

Q: Blower motor stop working!

The blower motor relay is a unit that supplies power to this motor when you turn the switch to "on" and can sometimes fail. When this happens, you may notice that you will not feel anything blowing out of the...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.