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  • Your Air Con Compressor - What you should know!

    Your Air Con Compressor - What you should know

    It's a common misconception that you only need to use your car air con when it's hot. Not true. You should use it in the winter too as it clears steamed up windows very quickly. But either way, for a functioning air con system you need a working air con compressor, or car air conditioning pump as sometimes called. The air con compressor is the heart of the cars' A/C system, it 'pumps' refrigerant under high pressure into the condenser where it then changes from a gas into a liquid.

    But when you find the car doesn't cool down when it's hot, and the A/C is on; or the windows aren't de-misting, don't assume the system is low on refrigerant. That is often the cause of the problem but not always, especially if the air con hasn't been used much as the compressor can seize up.

    So how do you know when it's time to change the air con compressor?

    Usually the compressor is driven by a belt, which can sometimes make a noise, a squeak for example. Or the compressor can leak refrigerant which in turn means less cooling. Often there is no warning at all, no signs of impending failure. It just doesn't work. Sometimes you just need to add refrigerant as a pressure switch in the system detects pressure and tells the compressor to work - or not. But to know for sure what the problem is you need a qualified air con specialist to check it all out, identify the issue and fix any problems. Such as our friends at Cool Car Air Conditioning.

    How often should you replace the air con compressor?

    The air con compressor should last the lifetime of the vehicle. But that assumes it's regularly looked after, serviced (ideally every 3 years), lubricated etc. A regular car service does not service the A/C system. It may get checked to see if it works but that's all. The compressor can fail for a number of reasons, corrosion, failed bearings, lack of lubricant or refrigerant etc.

    Changing it is not something that is done regularly, every 60,000 miles for example; it's replaced when it fails. But hopefully once replaced it never needs replacing again but it's vital, when it is replaced, to identify WHY it failed, what happened to it? Only then can you resolve the cause of failure to stop the same thing happening again. We often see compressors replaced by a local garage when they fail and do not identify the cause of failure so the new compressor fails again shortly after, incurring unnecessary cost to the customer.

    Do I have to replace the A/C compressor?

    Not always no! if the compressor shows signs of failure then a good service, lubrication and air con recharge can fix any problems and prevent future failure. But if it does fail then you will need to replace it. This isn't a simple case like other car parts of just removing the unit and installing a new one.

    The air con system is enclosed, so you have to have any refrigerant removed by a qualified air con specialist; it's illegal to just let it out into the atmosphere. Once removed then you have to flush the system through with a flushing solution, which many companies do not do. This removes any contaminants from the system which can in turn, if not removed, cause the new compressor to fail and invalidate the warranty. Only then can you install the new compressor, changing the drier and expansion valve at the same time and add the correct volume of A/C oil. Then add the right amount of refrigerant and good to go. Many companies and garages do not follow the correct installation procedure and then wonder why the new compressor subsequently fails. We have full compressor installation instructions on this website.

    What will it cost me?

    The cost depends on a number of factors, not least the cost of the compressor itself which can vary greatly depending on the car. Many companies, including ourselves offer 2 types of compressor, an original one, the same as was on the car from the factory, or a cheaper compressor made to the same specifications as the original. These are cheaper of course, and often referred to as pattern or aftermarket compressor. But the warranty is the same, 12 months and both are new. We do not sell used compressors.

    As for the rest of the cost, then you need to factor in the cost of having it done properly, with a new drier and expansion valve, oil, system flush, new refrigerant. Average cost for that, done properly is around £250 plus compressor cost. You may find it cheaper, but check they are doing it properly, are they doing a flush, if so how? Don't fall for the usual "oh the A/C machine does it", it doesn't, or "we vacuum the system or use nitrogen", that isn't a flush either. And are they changing the drier and valve? If not that invalidates the warranty. Is the cost of the drier and valve in the quote? So get some estimates, ideally 3 so you have a comparison. But most importantly check they will do the job properly, it may cost a bit more but saves you money in the long run.

    Or call Cool Car, they will do it right.

  • The RIGHT way to fit a car air con compressor

    The right way to fit a car air con compressor

    We see it every week. Having sold a compressor the customer will call and say its now not working 2 weeks later. Before they hang up we know what the issue is, it's not been fitted properly. We will show you the right way to fit a car air con compressor.

    Yea yea they say, the garage is an air con specialist (tyre dealer) and know what they are doing.

    'OK, no problem, send the unit back to us and we can see if it's failed under warranty or whether it's another issue causing it not to work and if warranted of course we will send a replacement and cover reasonable fitting and recharge costs' we tell them.

    That never goes down well. Of course the customer wants a replacement ASAP but we know sending a replacement out, and fitted the same way, will cause the replacement to fail too. So we have it in our terms and conditions that under warranty, we HAVE to have the unit back, which we will collect at our expense, and return at our expense if needed, so long as they send back with the unit a completed warranty form so we know what was done in fitting.

    Now with every compressor we sell, we send with it a fitting instruction manual. Same as this one - car air conditioning fitting instructions. Garages should of course not need these, but so many garages have no idea how to do this. They assume like many other car parts you can take off the old part and put on the new one. Recharge the system and job done. NO NO NO.

    Firstly, why has the original unit failed? It's not working but why? Is it dry so it doesn't have any oil? Why is that? Is it getting any power? Has it seized and if so why? Is the clutch noisy? Why? You have to know why it's failed so you can prevent the new one doing the same.

    And you cannot just vacuum out the system and put a new unit on. You have to clean out the system first. Remove all the old oil, dirt, contaminants and you DO NOT do that by vacuuming it out. You have to flush the system through with a flushing solution before fitting the compressor. And that means replacing the receiver drier. Has that been replaced? I doubt it. If you don't flush it then all the old oil, and small metal particles from the previous unit are circulating around the system contaminating the new compressor. Then guess what happens? It stops working.

    This is a prime example of what can happen when you don't flush the system. This customer was adamant it was fitted correctly and flushed. A brand new compressor after 1 days of use. Wonder why it's stopped working!!!

    contaminated air con compressor

    Once you've flushed the system you have to add the correct amount, and type, of A/C oil. But if you've not flushed the system then how do you know how much oil to add? If for example the system take 240ml of oil, you can't add 240ml if you've not flushed as there is already oil in there, so you over fill it, which in turn liquid locks the compressor and guess what? It then stops working.

    This is from a compressor where the customer also said it had been flushed. Really, with oil that colour? It should be clear.

    dirty compressor oil

    So please, customers, find a garage that does the job properly. Check your invoice, does it say they flushed the system, did they fit a new drier? Garages, do your job properly. There is info all about this all over our website, instructions are provided with every compressor sold and manuals downloaded. There is no excuse for failing to fit a customers compressor properly. There is only one right way to fit a car air con compressor. Do that.

    This is why we DO NOT send out a replacement unit before seeing the old one.

    One final thing. Flushing the system with refrigerant gas is not a flush. Neither is plugging in a recharging machine and letting it vacuum for 30 minutes. Use a flushing kit and flush solution. And change the drier.


  • Different Car Air Conditioning Parts That Can Be Purchased

    A car’s air conditioning system is made up of various parts. Many of these can be purchased separately. However, main dealer prices can be extortionate and many motorists are reluctant to spend a fortune. There are a number of independent, car air conditioning specialists that can provide you with brand new, original car air conditioning parts at discounted, cost effective prices. A reputable specialist can also offer high quality copies with the same warranties as original parts. Here are a few of the major parts of a car’s air conditioning system that can be purchased without having to spend a fortune.


    The compressor is the heart of your car’s air conditioning system. It pressurises the refrigerant gas and pumps it through the system. It’s the most hard working part, so if it needs replacing it can end up costing far more from a main dealer. Prices depend on the make and model of your car. When you purchase your compressor be sure that the clutch plate is also included.


    Modern condensers are made of aluminium. They look like a thin radiator and are usually located in front of the car’s main radiator. Consisting of a series of tubes, its main function is to release the heat that was absorbed while flowing through the evaporator. Refrigerant enters the air con condenser as a vapour. As it cools, it turns into a high pressure cooling liquid. Less expensive than the compressor, prices depend on make and model of the vehicle.

    Evaporator car-air-conditioning

    Looks like a smaller, thicker radiator. It’s made up of internal tubes that absorb heat, turning the cooled liquid into air and circulating it around the car’s interior.


    This collects drops of stray liquid and prevents them from damaging the compressor. The receiver also filters out dirt and debris.


    Consumables such as oils, bacteria treatments, compressor testers and leak detection equipment can also be purchased separately. Auto Air Con Parts is the sister company of Cool Car Air Conditioning Specialists. We are online suppliers of brand new original parts, copies and consumables for all the major car brands. We offer huge discounts on quality parts at the fraction of the price of main dealers including compressors complete with clutch plates. If you can’t see the part you’re looking for, or need further information on choosing the right parts, contact us for help and advice. Visit us online to see our full range of products and price listings.

  • How to fit your car air con compressor pump

    Car Air Con compressorWe get asked many times, how do you fit the car air conditioning compressor (otherwise known as the aircon pump). Is there a right way? Is there a correct procedure?

    Many garages simply remove the old unit, and bolt on the new one, regas the car and hope it works. Problem is it might, but after a few weeks it stops and the garage blames the compressor. You CANNOT just remove the old unit and replace it. You have to find out why the old unit failed, clean the system with a proper flushing solution to remove any debris, or that debris finds its way into the new compressor, and you must add the correct quantity of oil, of the right type.

    If you don't do these things, you run the risk of the compressor failing again, and yet another expensive replacement, recharge, labour etc through no fault of the unit, but just of the people fitting it. We get calls every week from customers who have had a new compressor fitted and then complain it's not working. 99% of the time it is down to it not being fitted correctly, or the initial fault has not been diagnosed properly.

    When a compressor fails internally, tinny particles mix with the oil that circulates around the entire A/C system. This contaminated oil must be flushed out of the A/C components that will be re-used. Blowing air through the components does not remove the contaminated oil.

    When a compressor fails due to internal failure as evidenced by poor pumping or the shaft locked up or uneven turning, tiny particles mix with the oil that circulates around the entire A/C system so contamination is circulated in the system both in the forward and reverse direction and must be flushed with proper flushing fluid. Contamination is circulated in the forward direction until the compressor is disengaged and then the rapid equalisation of pressures causes contamination to flow in reverse back up the suction line to the evaporator. The warranty and reliability of a replacement compressor depends upon returning the A/C system to like new conditions in terms of cleanliness and proper operation of the system.

    Compressor Fitting Instructions

    1. Visually inspect the new unit for any damage ensuring that all fixing points are complete and that the pulley moves freely. Visually check the replacement unit against the item on the car to ensure they are the same (before removing unit).
    2. Once unit is removed) Check new compressor against old compressor ensuring units are the same and that the pulleys align correctly, in certain systems it is possible that different makes of compressors are interchangeable they may look slightly different however upon matching the fixing points, clutch and plug should all match.
    3. Completely flush the system to remove any debris from the old compressor that may contaminate the new one. This is done with a flushing solution, and is not the same thing as simply vacuuming the system or flushing with nitrogen.You will need to check the compressor and ensure the correct charge/type of oil. (replacement compressors do not always come with oil charge!). It is VITAL to ensure you add the correct volume of oil, and it is of the right type. Too much or too little and the compressor will fail. We provide a flushing kit if needed.
    4. If you are not flushing the system (and the system is completely clean with no debris) you can drain the old compressor of oil.
      • Remove the oil plug from the failed compressor and drain as much oil as possible from the suction and discharge ports and from the crankcase into a suitable container. Drain for about 3 minutes while turning the front shaft nut one half turn every minute. Also slightly tilt the compressor back and forth a few times to help the oil reach the oil drain hole.
      • Measure and record the amount of oil drained from the compressor.
      • Drain oil from the new compressor following.
      • Replace some of the new oil back into the new compressor in an amount equal measurement taken.
      • Re-install oil plug. The aluminium seal seat and O-ring must be clean and not damaged. Torque to 11-15 ft•lb (15-20 N•m, 150-200 kgf•cm). Be careful not to cross thread the oil plug.
      • You must not over oil charge the system!
    5. When fitted to the vehicle rotate the front hub of the compressor by hand 10 times clockwise/anti-clockwise to ensure that the oil is distributed.
    6. Upon installation in certain circumstances it may be necessary to swap the fitting plate from the existing compressor to the new unit (this is the plate where the hoses go into).
    7. On remanufactured compressors it may be necessary to swap the wire plug from the old unit to the replacement unit.
    8. After installing ensure that the last component installed is the receiver drier/accumulator, and then evacuate the system for 30 minutes minimum prior to leak testing. Ensure no leaks are present, check system operating pressures and temperatures ensure that the radiator/condenser fans work correctly. You must ensure that the high side pressures are not excessive and that the low side is not too low. When using Automatic / semi Automatic  charging stations they DO NOT add correct oil charge to compressor this must be completed prior to compressor installation.
    9. When fitting clutch less type compressors it is sometimes necessary to have the fault codes removed from the computer memory otherwise the compressor may not receive the correct feed and will not pump. YOU MUST ALWAYS FLUSH THE SYSTEMS TO REMOVE EXCESS OIL. Should the compressor not pump immediately then remove control valve and sump drain plug, then blow through the control valve port ensuring that air is felt at the drain plug, this action ensures that the refrigerant bleed from the control valve to the swash plate is free and will then allow for the correct control valve operation.

    Please remember that compressors do not just fail, there will be a reason why it originally failed and you MUST find and rectify this underlying fault otherwise the replacement WILL fail.

    Please ensure that whoever is fitting the compressor is an A/C specialist, and not a local garage that does a bit of aircon on the side, you need to use someone that knows what they are doing, that are qualified, and trained in automotive air conditioning, for example Cool Car Air Conditioning Specialists.

  • Save 5% off all car air conditioning compressors

    5% OFF all air con compressors 5% OFF all air con compressors

    For a limited time only we're offering 5% off all car air conditioning compressors, otherwise known as the car aircon pump. Use coupon code 2015COMP03

    You may find at this time of year, when the sun is soon to make an appearance and you need your car air-con to be working, that it doesn't. If you've not used the aircon for a few months it may have seized up, often the compressor has been neglected from lack of use (use the aircon 10 mins a week in winter) so the oil in the system has not circulated. We would suggest you get the car air conditioning checked before it gets too warm and busy and you realise it's not working. Our franchisees can do a full A/C check and regas (recharge) and service the car's aircon for you at home or place of work. You can find your nearest technician at coolcaraircon.co.uk

    Some may wonder what the compressor actually does. Well in simple terms it pushes the air-con refrigerant around the A/C system. It's driven by the engines drive-belt that so you can sometimes hear a squeal when the compressor is having problems and the belt is not able to make the compressor clutch turn. Without the compressor working, you've no air conditioned air. So make sure the system is maintained as repairs to these units can be expensive though we do offer brand new car air conditioning compressors from only £105.33.

    If you need a new compressor, now is the time to get it sorted with the short term discount.


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