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In order for your air conditioning system to operate, it needs to pressurize refrigerant. This is done by the AC compressor, which is located under the hood, generally near the front of the engine. The compressor receives electrical signal from the AC relay, but it is operated by the compressor clutch, which is driven by an AC compressor belt powered by the crankshaft. In most modern cars, the compressor is actually run by a serpentine belt – the same one that operates your alternator, power steering pump and other accessories.
AC compressor belts turn a pulley, which operates the compressor clutch. When you turn the AC on, the clutch will engage to start the compressor and disengage when it’s not needed.
AC compressor belts are subject to significant wear and tear and should be routinely replaced as part of normal vehicle maintenance. If you suspect your AC compressor belt requires replacement, have one of our expert mechanics diagnose the issue.
Without an operational AC compressor belt, your air conditioning system will not work. However, if the AC compressor is operated by a serpentine belt, a broken belt will prevent your car from running.