All You Need To Know About Vehicle Air Conditioning Compressors
A compressor is a pivotal element in the car air conditioning system. It vaunted to be one of the most important if not the most important. Compressors pressurize the AC system and transports refrigerant in the air conditioner circuit. The refrigerant is cycled through the air conditioning system by a recurring process of vaporization, liquidification and re-vaporization. A refrigerant is the substance that transfers heat through the system by absorbing heat in a gas state and emitting heat when turning into a liquid state.
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Since they work in a continuous cycle, compressors are subject to wear. When the compressor eventually fails it will need to be replaced. It is important to note that once your compressor fails, the whole air conditioning system will be affected.
How do you know your vehicle’s compressor is beginning to fail? If you notice any of the sign below you should be on high alert.
High Cabin Temperatures
A failing or damaged compressor is unable to regulate the flow of refrigerant in the AC system. Consequently, the AC will no longer blow cold efficiently as before. Though the AC may continue working the air temperature will fluctuate. Insufficient or lack of cooling performance is a sign of compressor failure.
Unusually Loud Noises
Another potential sign is loud noises when the compressor is running. The compressor is made of numerous components including bearings. A worn out bearing produces a pitched or squealing sound. It is imperative that you check your compressor when you start hearing loud noises in the compressor.
Clutch Not Moving
When the vehicle’s clutch is not moving, it could be a symptom of a problematic compressor. You can decide to repair the clutch but replacing the entire compressor is always the recommendable repair.
There are several causes of compressor failure including:
- Foreign objects/ solids
- Rust or corrosion
- Lack of refrigerant or refrigerant oil
- Leaks in the compressor housing
- Electrical connection and control valves
Air conditioning compressor is made up of the following:
- Housing with compressor valves, section and oil fill
- Pulley with a magnetic clutch
- Refrigerant connecting points
The most common type of compressor is a swash plate compressor. Other types of compressors include:
- Reciprocating compressors
- Electric compressor – this is common in hybrid cars
- Rotary compressors
A refrigerant compressor is designed to convey vapors and gases. So if the liquid gets into the compression chamber, the valve plates and piston will get damaged.
Additionally, it will cause the lubricating oil film between the cylinder wall and piston to be flushed out. This, in turn, damages the piston. Other causes of piston damage include poor transfer of refrigerant, overheating and poor lubrication.
The compressor is the heart of the Air conditioning system. If the compressor is having problems, you should start by checking if the shaft is turning. Also, check whether there is an issue with the magnetic clutch.
Regular maintenance and inspection will help prevent compressor damage. If you notice any problem with your vehicle’s compressor, it is advisable to have it inspected by professional technicians.
Read more about your car’s air conditioning system: