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air con compressor

  • 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.

     

  • Almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available

    Almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available

    Since 1988 we've been one of the UK's foremost car air conditioning specialists, building now to have almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available for all types of car makes and models, of all ages, as well as air con parts for trucks and agricultural vehicles.

    All our parts are brand new. We don't sell second hand. Which is why we offer up to 2 years warranty. In stock we have over 8,000 car air con condensers (otherwise  known as air con radiators), almost 12,000 brand new car air con compressors (aircon pumps), as well as over 8,000 receiver driers (accumulators), plus hundreds of aircon consumables, such as oils, uv dyes and o rings. All come with FREE next working day delivery if you spend over £40 and of course our warranty.

    Every part we sell is fully tested before despatch, to ensure that when you receive your order you can install it without any problems. That's why we have a customer review score of 4.9 from almost 1,000 genuine customer reviews from our customers.

    Note that when purchasing a compressor, we often offer 2 versions. The original, which is the same as you get from the main dealer, and a copy. Both of course brand new units with a years warranty. On air con condensers, the majority are aftermarket units, eg purchased from a 3rd party manufacturer but to the genuine OEM (original equipment) specification. We only source high quality condensers to ensure we can offer a 2 year warranty on condensers and maintain our excellent customer service. No cheap Chinese imports here like you see on eBay and other websites. You get what you pay for.

    We're often also asked if we can fit the parts we supply. Yes, we can. We have a growing network of car air conditioning specialists across various parts of the UK who can service, repair, re-charge (regas) your car's air conditioning as well as fit the parts we supply. Check our website at Cool Car to see if we have a specialist near you and contact them directly if you need help. All our technicians are fully qualified air con specialists with the relevant legal qualifications.

    If in doubt about anything, or just have a question, then feel free to call or contact us anytime.

     

  • Why is my car aircon compressor not working?

    Why is my car aircon compressor not working?

    We get this question a lot. Especially after a long, cold winter where most people never think to use the car's air conditioning. So why might the aircon compressor not be working?

    There might be one of a number of reasons, for example:

    • The A/C system is low on refrigerant
    • Faulty pressure switch
    • Blown fuse or relay
    • Too much or too little A/C oil in the system
    • System Blockage
    • Faulty compressor

    We'll look at each possibility in turn

    The A/C system is low on refrigerant

    It may be the system is low on refrigerant. A car's air con needs refrigerant to function. One of three types are used, R12 used on cars pre 1992, R134a used on car from 1992 to the present, and the newer R1234yf used on most new cars now replacing R134a). So you may be low on that. Either its leaked out from a hole or worn out condenser, or just naturally over time, especially if the car has never been recharged.

    So first thing to check, do I have enough refrigerant.

    Faulty pressure switch

    In theory if the system is low on gas the pressure switch realises and tells the compressor not to work. But that pressure switch might be faulty, and therefore cannot do its job. So check the switch works as even if the system is full of refrigerant, a faulty pressure switch will stop the compressor working.

    Blown fuse or relay

    Similarly to the pressure switch, if you've a blown fuse or relay controlling the compressor, it won't work. So just make sure all electrical issues are ok, check the fuse box.

    Too much or too little A/C oil in the system

    This is a common issue, especially on older compressors that have never been serviced or on newly installed ones where the installer either didn't add enough aircon oil or added too much.

    On many cars, the oil in the compressor has never been changed. Much like the oil in your car it needs servicing, and an oil changed. Leaving it for years means it gets dirty and slowly dissipates. So adding a little oil might help. Alternatively many mechanics and garages when fitting a new compressor do not install it correctly. You must always flush the system first, with a flush solution, and that means the compressor removed from the car, to ensure its clean of debris. Many mechanics think just vacuuming the system or forcing nitrogen through it is a flush; its not, that does not remove debris and oil. Only when flushed so you have a clean, oil and debris free system can you then fit the compressor and add the correct amount of oil. If you just fit the new aircon compressor how do you know how much oil to add as there is still some in the system? This often leads to overfilling which in turn means the compressor has to work too hard to do its job, and fails, OR, they don't add any, and again it will fail.

    So please check you have the correct volume of oil in the A/C system.

    System Blockage

    If your aircon system is blocked, it won't work. The gas cannot flow.

    This, as mentioned above means the system must be flushed out to remove any debris from the system. This requires specialist flushing equipment and a flushing solution. On many occasions if a compressor has failed, you need to find out why, because if its seized, then debris from that compressor remains in the system unless removed, and contaminates the new compressor so a few weeks after the new one is installed, that too fails.

    This is very common with poor installation and untrained aircon specialists who claim to know what they're doing.

    Faulty compressor

    Finally, it maybe your aircon compressor has just given up, failed, dead. It happens. They get worn out. But before heading for an expensive job in replacing it check all the above first, and find out why the old one failed so you know it won't happen again.

    You can prolong the life of your car's air conditioning system from a regular aircon service where the car is recharged and compressor oil changed. This should be done every 2-3 years. Also, make sure you use the aircon in the winter months, just for 10 mins a week or so to keep the oil flowing and the compressor working. Aircon is not just for cold air, you can use it for hot air and its perfect from removing condensation on the windows

     

  • How to maintain your car air conditioning over winter

    How to maintain your car air conditioning system over winter

    Hard to think about now, when it's cold and frosty, but come the first hot day of the year in 2017 and you need to put the air conditioning on, you might find it doesn't work. Why?

    The reason is simple. In most cases the car's A/C has not been used over the winter months, so it's seized up. One of the major components of a car's air conditioning system is the compressor, or pump, which takes electricity to power itself and push the refrigerant around the system, using oil as lubricant. However through lack of use this can seize up, the clutch plate and pulley on the outside can also seize from lack of movement and lubrication. So what can be done?

    Firstly, make sure that once a week you run the A/C. Just for 10 minutes. Air conditioning is not just for hot weather it's also great for removing moisture in the air and de-misting windows and you don't have to have it set to cold. Set it to hot if needed, let it run. This lets the system lubricate, all the working parts get to move and ensures a nice working car air system when you need to use it regularly next summer.

    It may be worthwhile, like you do with your home central heating, to have the car air conditioning system serviced at this time of year, in preparation for the summer. Often A/C service prices are much cheaper this time of year as the technicians are less busy and you won't have to wait days for an appointment. I'd recommend a call to our friends at Cool Car, where their fully trained and qualified technicians can assist and visit you at your home or place of work.

    Remember, to maintain your car air conditioning, A/C on, at least once a week for 10 minutes at a time.

  • Problem with car air conditioning parts - are they covered by warranty?

    When you have a problem with your car air conditioning, is the fix covered by the car's warranty?

    Well that depends on what the problem is, and the age of the car. If the car is still covered under the manufacturers warranty then usually all repairs are covered. However that may not be the case if the car is bought used and relies on the car dealers used car warranty. Then it depends on what the problem is.

    For example, if you find your car air conditioning is not working, and you call someone out to look at it, for example our friends at Cool Car, (who do a great mobile service where they come to you) then it may just needs recharging, or regassing as sometimes known, where new refrigerant is added as the old coolant over time has evaporated. Then all is good, no parts are needed.

    But, if that coolant has gone due to a leak, then something needs replacing. Usually the condenser, or aircon radiator is at fault for that and needs replacing. If it's damaged due to a stone chip then that is unlikely to be covered under warranty, but if it's a fault with the condenser itself, then so long as that part is covered under warranty then a replacement is often sent free of charge. For example our own condensers come with a 2 year warranty.

    The problem could also be the compressor, or aircon pump. Sometimes the seals go in them, or due to lack of air con servicing, low refrigerant level, no oil, lack of use, blockage etc these can seize up and start to make a noise. Usually they then need to be replaced, which is a much more expensive job. Is the compressor covered? Probably is the more general answer. They don't tend to fail due to damage like a condenser might, so a manufacturers warranty or that used car warranty would usually cover a replacement, and the labour too.

    We supply here at autoairconparts.co.uk thousands of new car air conditioning parts not only to the public, and trade, but also to many of the UK's warranty companies. Judging by what they buy from us, most of their purchases are for compressors and condensers, so in short, if one of these parts is the problem, then a good warranty company would cover it.

  • 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.

     

  • Air Con Clutch and Pulley Replacement - Why They Fail

    Air Con Clutch and Pulley Replacement

    We often get calls from customers looking to see if we sell just the clutch plate or pulley for their car aircon compressor. We don't. But there is a reason for that. Mainly because the clutch plate fails usually as a safety precaution, to protect the engine and drivebelt. It's a symptom of the problem with the aircon, not the cause. So unless the issue causing it is resolved, it will happen again. So there is no point just changing the clutch and pulley for the same thing to occur again.

    AirCon Compressor with Clutch Plate and Pulley

    It's therefore important to determine WHY the clutch plate has failed; and there are a number of reasons:

    The enginge. If the engine is not running smoothly because of poor injection (diesel engines only) then this causes extra torque through the belts and the plate fails, or if the clutch on the alternator fails the same thing happens. We always advise our customers to diagnose for engine problems.

    Seized or too high slip torque of free run pulley's. Alternators have the so called free run pulleys and when these are seized or the free run slip torque is too high, the limiter will break due to negative force. (Belt movement) German car makers do advise to replace the pulley when compressor is replaced.

    Too low force of Automatic belt tensioner. This will result in too much belt movement and can cause limiter to break.

    Liquid lock. Too much refrigerant (r134a) or too much compressor oil causing too much liquid in the compressor cylinders. This does not always mean the compressor is stuck, but does have a too high rotation torque caused by too much refrigerant or too much oil.

    Use of incorrect compressor oil. Mixing of different type of oils still happens a lot. POE or POA oils do NOT mix with the PAG 46 oil used by DENSO and can cause different problems.

    Mixing refrigerants. Mixing POA and PAG 46 causes kind of paraffin flakes which increases friction and can even cause cylinder lock (like liquid lock) and blockage of refrigerant cycle / compressor main control valve.

    Reduced oil film. Mixing POE and PAG 46 will reduce oil film between cylinder and pistons resulting in higher friction. When systems are flushed using flushing agents containing chloride, kind of clear wax is created resulting in piston lock similar to that of liquid lock

    Wear and friction. Incorrect viscosity PAG 46 --> PAG 100 will reduce oil film between rotating / sliding parts increasing wear and friction.

    So, PLEASE check any of the above before trying to replace the clutch and pulley; the cost of which with the accompanying labour is often more expensive than simply replacing the compressor anyway. All our compressors come with the clutch and pulley. You'll find some of the main dealers charge extra just for that.

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