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Q: Noise coming from area of belts. I think it may be the ac compressor or compressor clutch

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Air conditioner worked great. One day last week i was driving and had AC on and it stopped blowing cold. I turned it off and turned it back on again and it started to blow cold again. A couple days ago i started to notice a noise coming from the area of the AC Compressor. I would like to get this fixed, however i am leaving town for about a week with my car. Is it safe to drive?

My car has 134000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The car is safe to drive, but you probably ...

The car is safe to drive, but you probably won’t have air conditioning. The main thing you want to consider is the A/C belt also driving the alternator. If the compressor clutch bearing locks up, it will break the belt and the alternator will not work. This will drain your battery and the car will die on the side of the road.

If you can’t get this looked at before you leave, I would run the car in park with the hood open. Make sure the A/C is off. If you don’t hear the noise with the A/C off, you are safe to drive it with the A/C off.

Turn the A/C on. If the noise is only present when the compressor clutch engages, then you can run the A/C until it dies, but you will have to be aware of it when it does. If it locks up and you don’t know it, it will break the belt and the alternator will not be able to supply electricity to the rest of the car.

The safest thing to do is to not use the A/C until you can get it fixed. This may also save you some money as running it to complete catastrophic failure can add to the repair cost. When you’re ready, you can have the AC issue inspected and diagnosed by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to perform any of the necessary repairs after inspection.

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