Avoiding Automotive Compressor Failures


Replacing your automotive compressor is a quick way to make summer into a shockingly expensive season. The compressor is arguably the most critical part of your car's air conditioner, and it's typically the most costly to replace. Not only is the component itself a high-ticket item, but the labor necessary to install a new one is usually not trivial.

Since this job can result in such a high repair bill, you'll likely want to avoid doing it more than once. Although parts sometimes fail for reasons entirely beyond your control, there are some things you can do to keep your new compressor operating for as long as possible.

Understanding the Role of the Compressor

The lifeblood of your automotive air conditioning system is the refrigerant. This chemical travels through the closed air conditioning loop as a liquid on the high-pressure side and a gas on the low-pressure side. When the hot refrigerant returns to the compressor, it increases the pressure until it releases its heat and turns back into a liquid.

This method of operation means that your compressor effectively acts as a pump. Its action keeps refrigerant moving through your system, continually transporting heat from the cabin and releasing it into the atmosphere. Without your compressor, your car's air conditioner would be unable to function at all.

Common Causes of Compressor Failure

Just as with your car's motor, internal wear is the most hazardous issue your compressor will face. Internal compressor parts rely on proper lubrication to minimize friction and heat. Any loss of lubrication can accelerate wear on the compressor, reducing its lifespan or even leading to an immediate failure.

Since the compressor's oil travels through the system with the refrigerant, leaks are one potential source of trouble. A slow leak may only moderately affect your system's performance at first, but it can take years off your compressor's lifespan. Incorrect refrigerant pressure levels can also cause the pressure to work too hard, causing it to overheat and wear out more quickly.

Keeping Your Compressor Going

The best way to ensure that your new compressor lasts for as long as possible is always to repair leaks when they appear. Never accept frequent refrigerant recharges as routine maintenance since adding more refrigerant always means that a leak exists somewhere in your air conditioning system. Any loss of refrigerant may also mean a loss of oil, which can damage your compressor and shorten its lifespan.

By monitoring your air conditioner's performance and relying on a qualified automotive shop to conduct repairs, you won't have to worry about a new compressor failing prematurely. For more information, contact a broken AC repair service. 


4 June 2021

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