5 Major Car AC Compressor Failure Symptoms

Car AC Compressor Failure Symptoms

Car AC Compressor Failure Symptoms

When you turn on your car’s air conditioning, you expect to feel a blast of cool air. However, if your car’s AC compressor fails, you may notice some warning signs such as strange noises or warm air, etc that indicate it needs to be repaired or replaced.

If you ignore these signs then it will not only make you pay for the cost of the car’s AC compressor replacement but also for the other components that might be damaged due to this.

What is AC Compressor?

Before discussing the symptoms of an AC Compressor, first, let us know in brief what is compressor and what is its function.

It’s the heart of the AC system. Its main function is to pump refrigerant gas from the evaporator to the condenser, which is located outside the car.

The refrigerant gas is then cooled down and turned into a liquid, which is circulated back to the evaporator where it absorbs the heat from inside the car, making it cooler.

So, basically, the AC compressor’s work is to move the refrigerant gas around the AC system, helping to cool the air inside the car. Without the AC compressor, the air conditioning system wouldn’t be able to work properly, and the car would be very hot and uncomfortable to ride in.

5 Car AC Compressor Failure Symptoms

Let’s understand all the common symptoms in brief:

1. Rumbling Noises

This is one of the most common symptoms of a bad or faulty compressor. If you hear any odd noise coming from your AC  system, such as banging or rattling, it’s likely that the AC compressor is failing. The noise may be caused by a broken or damaged compressor clutch or other internal components that are wearing out. It can be due to faulty pistons as well.

2. Blowing Warm Air

If you notice that the air coming out of your vents is warm or not as cool as it used to be, it’s likely that the AC compressor is failing. It may be because the coil inside the compressor gets burnt.

3. Leakage of Refrigerant or Fluid

The leaking of fluids from the compressor is another potential hint that it’s faulty. The compressor contains bearings that essentially prevent fluid or refrigerant leakage. However, a cracked or worn-out bearing could cause fluid to leak and eventually lead to the compressor’s failure.

Other reasons are corrosion of the compressor or if the compressor overheats, which can also cause leakage.

4. Tripping Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker is a safety device that is designed to protect electrical circuits from damage caused by excess current. If your AC is drawing too much current, then that means the compressor has some fault and it will reduce the cooling performance.

5. Stuck Compressor Clutch

The component that connects and disconnects the AC compressor from the engine is the compressor clutch. The compressor in the air conditioner is in charge of compressing and moving the refrigerant.

The compressor clutch engages when the air conditioning system is turned on, and it disengages when the system is turned off.

If the clutch becomes stuck, that means your AC compressor has been damaged. As a result, the compressor won’t be able to start when it should and may continue to run after the car engine has been turned off. If you notice this problem, a new compressor is required to install in your car AC.


If you notice any of these symptoms, you have to take your car to a professional mechanic to have it inspected. If you ignore these signs or delay then it can cause damage to other parts of the air conditioning system which might increase your repair cost.

So, it’s important to have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

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