Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor Clutch + Fixes

A bad AC compressor clutch can stop your car from functioning correctly in hot or cold weather. If you believe you may have a bad AC compressor clutch, read on to find out what the problem is and how to fix it.

An AC compressor clutch is a device that engages or disengages the compressor from the engine. It is located between the compressor and the engine.

When the clutch is engaged, it allows power from the engine to transmit to the compressor. When disengaged, it prevents energy from being transferred to the compressor. This allows the compressor to be “slowed” or “stopped.”

What Controls the AC Compressor Clutch?

The AC compressor clutch is hydraulically controlled by the air conditioning (A/C) switch. The A/C controller signals the HVAC control module that activates or deactivates the AC compressor clutch.

How Does an AC Compressor Clutch Work?

When the AC switch turns on, a signal from the A/C switch allows power from the engine to be transmitted to the compressor, which compresses Freon. As compressed Freon travels through the system, it gradually loses pressure.

The expansion valve meters and releases pressurized Freon until it reaches a low enough tension for an evaporator coil to convert it from a gas back into a liquid. This liquid is then drawn back into the compressor, and the cycle begins again.

How to Know If Your AC Clutch is Bad and How to Test It

If the AC compressor clutch is not engaging, it could be due to a faulty clutch. When checking for this, look at the RPM gauge when the AC switch is turned on. If the RPM does not increase, then there might be a problem with the AC compressor clutch, or there might be something restricting airflow through the system.

To check the AC compressor clutch, you must remove the belt and start the engine. If the clutch is not engaging, you should move it by hand.

If the AC compressor clutch is bad, you might want to consider replacing it. You can buy an AC compressor clutch kit from most auto parts stores. The kit will include all the parts that you need to replace. You can also look up how to do it online, but I recommend getting a shop manual if you are not experienced with auto repairs.

5 Common Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor Clutch

If the AC compressor clutch is bad, you might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The AC might not be working at all
  • The AC might work for a short time and then stop working
  • The AC might work, but it might be very loud
  • There might be a weird smell coming from the AC
  • The climate control might blow warm air when the climate control is set to cold

Causes of an AC Compressor Clutch That Won’t Engage

A few things can cause the AC compressor clutch not to engage. Some of these include:

  • A bad AC compressor clutch
  • A faulty A/C switch
  • A clogged or restricted air filter
  • A broken or damaged belt
  • Low refrigerant levels in the system

How to Fix a Bad AC Compressor Clutch

How to Change or Replace an AC Compressor Clutch

You will need to do a few things to replace the AC compressor clutch. First, you will need to remove the belt from the compressor. Once you have done that, start the engine and see if the clutch is engaging. If it is not, you can move it by hand.

Next, you will need to remove the clutch from the compressor. You will need to remove the screws that hold it in place to do this. After that, remove the clutch from the compressor and replace it with the new one.

Once you have done that, reattach the screws and put the belt back on. Finally, turn on the AC switch and see if it is working. If there is a problem, you might need to check the airflow and refrigerant levels topped off.

If your AC compressor clutch is stuck or won’t even turn on, something could be stuck in the system, such as a piece of dirt or debris. This could cause problems with the clutch and other parts of the AC system. You might need to get the system cleaned out if this is the case. You can do this by using a vacuum cleaner or an air compressor.

If your AC compressor clutch is bad, then you might want to consider replacing it. You can buy an AC compressor clutch kit from most auto parts stores. The kit will include all the parts that you need to replace. You can also look up how to do it online, but I recommend getting a shop manual if you are not experienced with auto repairs.

How to Use an AC Clutch Removal Tool

If you are having trouble removing the AC compressor clutch, you can use a special tool to help you. This tool is called an ac clutch removal tool. It is a small tool that looks like a wrench. You can buy it at most auto parts stores. To use it, slip it over the clutch and turn it counterclockwise to loosen it. Once it is loose, you can remove it from the compressor.

How to Remove an AC Clutch Pulley

You can use a pry bar and a hammer to remove the AC compressor clutch pulley. First, slip the pry bar under its center and move it up and down to loosen it. Then, use an adjusting wrench or pliers to hold one side of it while you turn the other side counterclockwise with your other hand. When you feel resistance, give it a few good whacks with the hammer to completely remove it.

AC Compressor Clutch Replacement

How Much Will an AC Compressor Clutch Replacement Cost?

If you need to replace your AC compressor clutch, the costs may vary widely. The average cost of this type of replacement runs between $500 and $800.

How Long Does AC Clutch Replacement Take?

Replacing or changing the AC compressor clutch might take about an hour if you are experienced. If not, then it could take up to four hours. This is because there are some steps that you will need to take to remove the old clutch and install the new one properly.

Is it Possible to Replace on Your Own?

Yes, you can replace the AC compressor clutch on your own if you are experienced with auto repairs. You will need to buy a kit from an auto parts store and follow the instructions that come with it. If you are not experienced, I recommend taking it to a mechanic.

FAQs

How Do You Tell If an AC Compressor Is Bad or Just the Clutch?

If the AC compressor is bad, you might notice that it is making loud noises when it turns on. On the other hand, a bad clutch will cause the AC to stop working. However, you might need to have it checked out by a professional before you can be entirely sure.

Can You Replace an AC Clutch Without Removing the Compressor?

No, you cannot replace the AC compressor clutch without removing the compressor.

How Do I Manually Engage My AC Compressor Clutch?

On some vehicles, you can push the AC switch on when the engine runs. This engages the AC compressor clutch and allows you to turn on the AC. However, this might not work on all vehicles. You can also turn the key to the “on” position and then turn the AC switch to see if that works.

Is the AC Clutch Part of the Compressor?

No, the AC compressor clutch is not part of the compressor. It is a separate part that is responsible for activating the AC.

Can I Drive My Car with a Bad AC Compressor Clutch?

Yes, as long as you drive slowly and avoid heavy acceleration. If the compressor is running at high speed, the belt might slip off. This will cause the AC to turn off, so be sure to keep your speed low.

Author: DJ

Dave Junior is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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