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!!!

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.

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.