Bad Compressor Symptoms

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The air conditioning system is the saving grace for many during the hot summer months. However, when the compressor goes out, it can make for a very miserable experience. The temperature inside your car can quickly become unbearable, and the AC will no longer be able to do its job of keeping you cool and comfortable. Learn what are the bad compressor symptoms.

There are several different signs that your compressor is on its way out, and if you notice any of them, it’s important to get to a mechanic as soon as possible. One of the first things you might notice is that your AC isn’t blowing as cold as it used to. If this is the case, it’s likely because your compressor isn’t working as efficiently as it once was and isn’t able to properly cool the refrigerant.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common bad compressor symptoms so you can be on the lookout for them before your AC completely goes out.

What is an AC compressor?

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An AC compressor is responsible for pressurizing and circulating the refrigerant in an air conditioning system. The compressor is the “heart” of the system, and if it is not functioning properly, the entire system will be compromised.

It works by compressing the refrigerant, which raises its temperature and causes it to change from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. This high-pressure liquid is then circulated through the system where it helps to cool the air.

9 Symptoms of Bad AC Compressor

The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with a bad AC compressor:

1. Higher Temperatures Than Normal In The Cabin

One of the very first things you will notice if your AC compressor is going bad is that the temperatures in the cabin of your car will be higher than normal. This is because the compressor is responsible for circulating the refrigerant through the system, and if it is not working properly, this process will be disrupted. This leads to warmer air being circulated through the system, and as a result, the cabin will be warmer than usual.

2. Loud Noise When Compressor Is Running 

If you notice that your compressor is making a loud noise when it is running, this is another sign that it is going bad. The compressor is responsible for moving a lot of air, and over time, the bearings can start to wear down. When this happens, it will cause the compressor to make a loud noise. If you hear this noise, it is important to have the compressor checked out as soon as possible.

3. Moisture Leaks

Another symptom of a bad AC compressor is moisture leaks. These leaks can be are usually in the form of refrigerant, and they can be caused by a number of different things. One of the most common causes is a bad compressor seal. Another possibility is that there is a problem with the evaporator coil. If you notice any moisture leaks, it is important to have your system checked out as soon as possible.

4. Compressor Clutch Is Not Moving 

If you take a look at the compressor, you will notice that it has a clutch. This clutch is responsible for engaging and disengaging the compressor. If the clutch is not moving, it is an indication that the compressor is not working properly. Because the clutch may be replaced, the expense of replacement might be reduced.

5. Circuit Breaker Tripping 

If your system’s circuit breaker trips frequently, it is another symptom of a bad compressor. The compressor puts a lot of strain on the electrical system, and if there is a problem with the compressor, it can cause the circuit breaker to trip. This is because the circuit breaker has tripped due to overheating and excessive power draw. It’s vital not to just reset the circuit breaker and turn the system back on but to instead find the root of the problem. To protect you from the risk of fire, the circuit breaker is functioning as intended.

6. Broken Suction Lines 

The suction lines are responsible for carrying the refrigerant from the evaporator to the compressor. If these lines are broken, it can cause the system to lose refrigerant. As a result, the system will not be able to cool the air properly, and the cabin will be warmer than usual.

7. Damaged Wire 

The wire harnesses that connect the compressor to the rest of the system can become damaged over time. This damage can be caused by a number of things, including corrosion and vibration. If you notice any damage to the wire harnesses, it is important to have them replaced as soon as possible.

8. Burning Rubber Smell From the Engine Bay 

If you notice a burning rubber smell coming from the engine bay, it is another symptom of a bad compressor. This smell is usually caused by the compressor’s drive belt. If the drive belt is damaged, it can cause the belt to slip and create a burning rubber smell.

9. Auxiliary Drive Belt Excessively Wearing 

The compressor is driven by the engine’s auxiliary drive belt. If this belt is excessively worn, it can cause the compressor to fail. As a result, the system will not be able to circulate the refrigerant properly, and the cabin will be warmer than usual.

Also Read: What are the Symptoms of a Bad PCM?

AC Compressor Replacement Cost

This may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but the average cost for an AC compressor replacement is between $1,200 and $1,400. This includes the cost of labor, which can be anywhere from $200 to $500.

If you are considering replacing your compressor yourself, it is important to note that this is a very difficult job. Not only do you have to remove the old compressor, but you also have to properly install the new one. If you are not comfortable doing this job yourself, it is best to leave it to a professional.


If you notice any of these bad compressor symptoms, it is important to have your system checked out as soon as possible. Compressor failure can cause a number of problems, and it can be expensive to repair. If you are not comfortable replacing the compressor yourself, it is best to leave it to a professional.

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