How to Figure out If Your Car's Compressor is Faulty
If you're in the middle of an Australian summer and your vehicle's A/C suddenly gives up the ghost, this is not a laughing matter. You've got to do something about this as soon as possible, as you won't be able to drive the car to work on Monday. Thankfully, you may be able to effect some repairs, but where should you start?
Could It Be the Compressor?
A typical automotive air conditioning system has a number of different units, but one of the first places to look at is the compressor. This component has to transport refrigerant through the system and is usually linked to the engine by a rubber belt.
To operate properly, the compressor pulls refrigerant from the evaporator under low temperature and pressure conditions before compressing it so that it can be moved onto the next stage in the process under high pressure. It will sometimes develop a leak around the housing or compressor shaft itself, while internal bearings could wear out, as they are in a high-stress environment.
You may also find that tiny chips or particles get into the system and contaminate the refrigerant oil. This can be due to corrosion, excessive humidity or simple wear and tear.
In order to check if the compressor is faulty, you should first open the bonnet and have a look at the drive belt. Is it still positioned properly and under the right tension? To check installation, you can press it with a finger and it should "give" a little before bouncing back. While you're there, look for any signs of damage or frayed edges
Check to see if the refrigerant hoses are still connected, and make a careful inspection for any evidence of leakage.
Next, have a look at the retaining clamps and bolts to check for loose connections, cracks or breaks. These issues could cause vibration, which should be readily evident when you turn on the system. If you're careful, you should be able to apply some pressure to the suspect connection, and if this eliminates the vibration, then the compressor may not be at fault after all.
Rectifying the Issue
Without specialist equipment, you may not be able to go much further with your diagnostic checks. For example, you will need to check for pressure differentials and have a look at the control valves and switches. For these jobs it is best if you take the vehicle into a qualified mechanic.
If you do need a new compressor, however, make sure that you always get the best quality product. You don't want to risk a breakdown when the dog days of summer really arrive. Contact Denso authorised dealers for additional advice.