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No A/C in Your Car? Could It Be the Compressor?

The last thing you want on a typically hot Australian summer day is a car that feels like a furnace. You may be used to suffering in silence for the first few moments whenever you open the car door, but quickly acclimatise due to the wonders of A/C. However, today you're not suffering in silence at all as the system appears to have broken, so before you go any further, you need to find out what is wrong.

Key Parts of the System

An automotive air conditioning system consists of many different parts, all connected through intricate pipework, but the most important central component is the compressor. Think of this as the heart of the system, and you'll understand why it needs additional attention.

Effectively, the compressor circulates the refrigerant liquid through the system, so it can absorb the heat inside the cabin as it goes through the evaporator. From there, the refrigerant enters the condenser, where the heat is released to the atmosphere and the process begins again.

What Can Go Wrong?

The compressor is typically reliable but can fail for a variety of different reasons. For example, it can run out of lubricating oil, especially if there is a leak of refrigerant elsewhere, as the oil can exit with any leaking gas. On the contrary, too much oil in the system is also a big issue and can cause premature compressor failure, due to too much stress on its internal valves.

Catastrophic Failure

If air gets into the system through faulty pipework, the wrong type of refrigerant is added or the system is overcharged, the compressor may also start to complain. If it does happen to fail catastrophically, it may damage other key components of the A/C system like the condenser, as tiny pieces of metal flow through the pipes.

Acting Quickly

As you can see, there is every reason to look after the compressor and even more reason to act quickly if something seems to be amiss. Usually, the compressor will be replaced if it is faulty as repair work is no longer found to be the best option, but you need to get to your mechanic as soon as possible. They may be able to fix the problem if it originated elsewhere in the system and save your compressor, but either way, you need to get relief within the cabin, or you won't be going anywhere fast!

For more information on your car air conditioning, contact your local auto shop today.