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aircon 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.


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