Every part of a car is important for the smooth running of the car, each part has its own peculiar function which contributes to smooth running of the car.
The Air condition (AC) compressor in a car is important to a car as it helps with the cool air that filters into the car, thereby making a passenger comfortable.
An Air condition compressor is responsible for the cool air the AC emits, when it’s bad, cool air will no longer be enjoyed amongst all things. But as a driver, you can drive your car without the AC compressor especially if you lack the resources to fix it or you just don’t care about cool air.
What then is the AC compressor
An Air condition compressor is used to compress refrigerant gas received from the evaporator to high pressure. It then supplies gas at increased pressure which puts the refrigerant into a higher pressure before pumping into the condenser. The condenser changes the gas to liquid which is converted into the cool air we enjoy in our car. The compressor is basically responsible for continuous flow of air in the car for the comfort of both the driver and passenger.
How to know the AC compressor is bad
- Hot air: One way to know your Air conditioning compressor is bad is that it emits hot air and not cool air. This is because the compressor compresses gas and sends to the condenser, which it cools down and changes to high pressure liquid.
It eventually evaporates to produce a cooling effect in the car. Once the compressor is bad then this is no longer possible therefore hot air finds it’s way to the car.
- Loud Noise: When your air compressor is bad, you’ll notice a strange noise from the engine area when you turn the AC on. This noise occurs as a result of failed bearing, loose and broken components in the compressor.
Does it affect the engine?
If your AC compressor is bad, it will most likely affect your car engine because the load in your engine will increase if it’s engaged for cooling. Once the engine has too much load, your car becomes sluggish. As they say one problem leads to another, so is the case here.
What can damage an AC compressor
Your car AC compressor can go bad due to a number of reasons:
- Dirt: An excessive accumulation of dirt in the condenser increases pressure on the compressor outlet, this makes the compressor to do extra work to pull the refrigerant to a higher pressure. This in turn raises the level of wear and tear, thereby causing ineffective cooling and damage to the compressor.
- Leaks: Possible leaks in the refrigerant can decrease the amount of refrigerant in the AC lines, making the compressor do more work than usual in order to maintain flow rate.
- Overfilled refrigerant: If the refrigerant is filled past the prescribed limit of pressure, it can cause an additional load on the compressor resulting in wear or tear and a faulty compressor.
Can I Drive My Car With A Bad AC Compressor?
Yes!! A car with a bad AC compressor can still be driven. That’s a relief especially if you are not ready to spend money on repairing or replacing it. Here’s why;
If the clutch and bearing is in a good condition. An AC compressor is made up of a pulley, a clutch and the compressor shaft. The state of the clutch will determine if it’s safe to drive with it.
If the AC clutch and pulley bearing are in functional conditions, that is if the pulley rotates with the clutch disengaged then yes you can drive. If the pulley does not rotate irrespective of the clutch engagement, the answer is No you can’t drive the car in that condition.
Also, if the compressor clutch assembly is frozen, then remove the belt. It’s important to check if the belt powers other things like the power steering then you need to change the belt or replace the AC clutch assembly which is cheaper than replacing the compressor.
If you are less bothered about the AC when it spoils, you can drive your car without AC compressor as long as you meet the conditions. Or if replacing the compressor will cause a strain in your pocket at the moment, then you can drive your car without an AC compressor pending when you get the money to replace the compressor.
As a car owner or car driver, it’s important you take your car for regular checkups to know when it’s in a bad condition. This will help you tackle your car troubles earlier.