Buyer’s Guide: How To Buy An A/C Compressor

The AC compressor facilitates control the flow of refrigerant through the entire AC system. High-quality A/C compressors are very easy to set up.

Drivers were experiencing the benefits of cool air comfort and ease inside their vehicles ever since the late 1930s, after the Packard Motor Car Company launched the former luxurious feature for option in end-user vehicles. Today, we view not having A/C in the car as a terrific burden, and one that people want to correct immediately.

The reality is, you don’t realize how essential the A/C as part of your car is until it fails and you’re trapped in traffic on a very hot afternoon. Most people have been in a car without having air conditioning when it’s really hot, therefore we know you’d rather stay inside than need to drive in the oven which is your loving car.

This buyer’s guide undergoes the buying process of the way to get an AC compressor and allows you make all the right choices.

What does an A/C Compressor do?

The very first thing you must know is precisely what an air compressor does inside vehicle. The goal of an A/C compressor should be to cool air that’s moving through the cabin of the vehicle. The A/C compressor is a vital element of your automobile’s A/C system and if your A/C compressor is declining, you won’t get cool air. The air compressor begins the cooling course of action by pumping a combination of Freon and specialized oil within the system.


The A/C compressor operates by compressing refrigerant to be distributed through the entire air conditioning system. Whenever your car’s AC isn’t working properly it’s typically one of two issues – low refrigerant (normally due to a leak) or even a poor compressor. If you’ve looked at the refrigerant level and it’s good enough, the issue is almost in the compressor.

A/C compressors may go through external or internal failure. External failure occurs due to a deteriorating clutch or pulley, or even a refrigerant leak. This is actually the easier sort of problem to correct. Internal failure is often detected by the existence of metal bits or flakes throughout the compressor. This sort of problems can spread all through the cooling system. In case of internal failure it’s generally cheaper to change the main compressor.

Important Information

To begin with purchasing the right A/C compressor, you must have some details on hand of your automobile. The obvious part of information required is the exact year, model and make and maybe sub model number. These details are vital since manufacturers change parts for different model years and often even within the similar model year. Because of this you may want to have the vehicle’s manufacturing date (the specific date vehicle was made in the manufacturing plant) available. Don’t alarmed, the manufacturing date is available in the car on the driver’s side-door jam and it is often coded in date/month/year or month/year format. Most A/C compressors don’t require someone to have a manufacturing date, however, if one is essential simply check out your car and get the date.

AC Compressor

AC Compressor

If for whatever reason you aren’t certain of the year, model and make or the manufacturing date of the vehicle we can easily also get you the exact replacing of your A/C compressor using the manufacturer’s part number right from the part. Often the part number is written within the compressor. However, as time passes these part numbers often fade or become un-readable. If you don’t have these kind of part numbers, call the vehicle manufacturer’s local dealer and ask for the OEM part number of the A/C compressor in your vehicle.

Things to Include With Your Purchase

Part of focusing on how to buy an A/C compressor needs knowing what other areas you should buy and what sort of warranty you will get with your parts. Each of the compressors have a 1 year warranty if you make sure to switch the accumulator/drier and follow a few other installation instructions. Some have extended manufacturer’s warranty options too.. Often, you’ll want to buy a lot more necessary A/C parts to be able to correctly finish the installation. Don’t be concerned, some have kits offered that may save a little money when you buy each of these parts collectively.

Type of Oil Your A/C Compressor Needs

Like every mechanical system, it’s crucial that you ensure that your A/C system remains lubricated, and A/C compressor oil is the lubes for the task. The A/C compressor needs lubrication for best functioning plus a long life since anytime you have metallic parts rotating or sliding they’ll fail quickly when they aren’t properly oiled. This failure arises from quick wear and extreme heat accumulation. The A/C compressor in the car is operating hard to compressor refrigerant, typically R-134a, to be able to allow the fact that refrigerant later to grow and build the cooling effect used to cool inside of your vehicle. This process can create lots of heat and damage if it’s improperly lubricated.

Probably the most essential things necessary for a compressor to function is an excellent tight seal inside the compression chamber. Your A/C compressor produces a low pressure to draw refrigerant to a chamber. That refrigerant is going to be compressed to a high-pressure either by a piston or a turning vane and compelled away from the chamber to the high-pressure side of the A/C system. It is very important for there to be a firm seal surrounding this compression chamber. If there isn’t a tight seal, high-pressure refrigerant can leak backward within the compression chamber killing the compression effect, or fluid that’s being compressed can slip throughout the pump into the low-pressure side of the A/C system again killing the compression effect. To keep the seals tight inside your A/C compressor, it’s vital that you make sure there’s enough A/C compressor oil inside your A/C system to make sure appropriate lubrication to maintain the tight seal within your compressor.

Every automotive A/C system comes from the factory with the exact amount of refrigerant the system requires and the exact amount of A/C compressor oil pre-installed.  Often times, you can find an information sticker about your air conditioning system under the hood of your car listing the amount of refrigerant in the system by weight and the amount of A/C compressor oil needed in a dry system.

The difficulty of working on an older A/C system is that it is impossible to tell how much A/C compressor oil is in your system.  For example, if you’ve had a slow leak for a year, you don’t know how much oil may have leaked out with the refrigerant.  If the leak is high in your system, it could be very little, but if the leak is low or on the low pressure side of the system it could be a significant amount of oil.

Another thing to consider is what type of A/C compressor oil your vehicle requires.  You may be lucky enough to find the type of oil on the same sticker that lists the weight of refrigerant your system requires, but if not the only place to reliably find the amount of A/C compressor oil your system requires is by calling a dealership for your make of car.

If you’re replacing just a component or two of your aA/C system, there are some general guidance you can use to estimate how much oil will be in those components when removed and therefore needs to be replaced when you recharge the system.  You can find those guidelines and other A/C compressor oil information by reading this article about AC Compressor PAG Oil

Once you’ve got the correct type of oil, you can use the Oil Injector to add the A/C compressor oil to your system.

Labor and Part Costs

Labor costs for replacing the A/C compressor be based upon the mechanic, what vehicle you’ve and which particular parts in the system must be replaced. Labor can vary from $300-$500. The price of an A/C compressor varies from $100-$600 based on your vehicle and the part condition you decide. For more info on and replacement part price of an A/C Compressor click HERE.

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