As long as the vehicle continues to run smoothly, most of us don’t always think about the components performing the job under the hood. We often wait until one or more of the components start misbehaving before shifting our attention to them. I’m sure you know that the air conditioning (AC) compressor is one of the essential components that work under the hood.
Your car’s AC compressor is the component that’s responsible for moving the refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser coils to keep your vehicle cool. However, the component isn’t without its issues; it can fail anytime depending on a couple of factors, such as a clogged filter.
With a damaged compressor, it will become almost impossible to regulate the refrigerant flow properly. One way to address this issue is to replace the faulty AC compressor with a new one.
Depending on the size of the component, it’ll take the repairer at least 3 hours and at most 6 hours to replace your car’s AC compressor. Several factors contribute to why it takes that long to replace the unit. Some of them include the compressor’s size and weight, its location inside your car, and the amount of refrigerant that needs capturing.
How long does a car’s AC compressor last? What are the common causes of an AC compressor failure inside the car? How long does it take to replace a faulty compressor with a new one? These and more are the frequently asked questions that you’ll find answers to in the rest of this article.
What Is an AC Compressor and How Does It Work?
Before proceeding to answer the burning questions of this post, here’s a quick one; what is an AC compressor and how exactly does it work?
For those who don’t know, an AC compressor is one of the most important and used components of a vehicle. Located under the hood of a car, the compressor is engineered to move liquid refrigerant around in a pipe. It does that by compressing the refrigerant (low pressure) and raising the fluid’s temperature above that of the surrounding air.
Furthermore, your car’s AC compressor works by pumping the refrigerant, back and forth, from the evaporator into two different components; condenser and expansion valve.
Several different types and variations of AC compressors exist out there. The most common of them is the variable or fixed swashplate. Other types include reciprocating compressor, rotary compressor, and the electrically-driven compressor, which is often present on hybrid vehicles.
How Long Does a Car’s AC Compressor Last?
The AC compressor is, no doubt, one of the most engaged components of a car. Since that’s the case, it’s normal if you’re interested in knowing how long it can last.
To answer the burning question above, I’ll start by saying that it’s almost impossible to say exactly how long a compressor can last inside your car. That’s so because the lifespan of the unit depends on several different factors, including how often you drive your car and how long the vehicle has been in use.
Let me start by speaking about the age factor of the car. You need to understand that the more your vehicle ages, the more the AC compressor gets used. Even if you drive your car with so much care, it’s only a matter of year’s and some components of the compressor will inevitably start to misbehave.
The bottom line is that, as long as your vehicle is properly maintained, your car’s AC compressor can last for about 8 years to 10 years.
What Are the Common Causes of an AC Compressor Failure?
As earlier mentioned, the lifespan of an AC compressor is almost the same as that of the car itself – it’s about 8 to 10 years. This is only achievable if the components of the compressor do not encounter any issues, which isn’t always true.
Most AC compressors tend to fail, over time, because of several different factors. Let’s have a quick look at some of them below.
As you now know, an AC compressor cannot work without refrigerants. The most commonly used refrigerant for your car’s ac compressor is Freon.
There are a few cases where the refrigerant lines of your car’s compressor can crack or become broken. If this happens, it will cause you to experience hot airflow in your car. If you’re experiencing this issue, the best thing to do is to call your mechanic to run a check and unblock the suction line. However, if the refrigerant line fails to unblock, an alternative is to replace the unit with a new one.
Another common cause of AC compressor failure in a car is moisture leak. The most essential thing that the compressor needs to function properly is the refrigerant, which helps to turn warm air into colder air. Lack of refrigerants means that your AC compressor will only blow out warm air inside your car. Apart from that, leaks from the refrigerant can also cause the compressor to misbehave or malfunction.
How Long Does It Take to Replace an AC Compressor in a Car?
When it comes to you replacing your AC compressor with a new one, several factors can cause the repairer to spend a lot of time performing the job.
For instance, the location of the AC compressor can add to the time of replacing the unit. Is the compressor easy to access where it’s been positioned inside your car?
That’s not all; another thing that could delay the replacement time for a new AC compressor inside your car is its size. The bigger the unit, the harder it becomes for the repairer to quickly remove and replace it with a new one.
With all these factors and a few others, it’s safe to say that “replacing your car’s AC compressor” could take you at least 3 hours and at most 6 hours.