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How To Repair Your A/C

Diagnosis and repair.

We are here to provide you with everything you need to get your A/C system back up and running.
  • There may be several reasons your A/C system isn’t performing properly. A/C compressor and components failure are often at the top of the list.
  • When replacing an A/C compressor, the entire system must be evaluated, ­not just the compressor, ­to ensure the A/C repair is successful.
  • Often the compressor is replaced without servicing the whole A/C system, leading to repeated failures and continued frustration.

Let’s go over all of the steps to repairing your vehicle’s complete A/C system. Save up to $5 on A/C Recharge Pro Tip
One of the most common causes of poor A/C performance is low refrigerant.
If that's the case, we carry the exact products needed to add a refrigerant charge to your car's system and get it working again.

Learn more about A/C refrigerant.

Difficulty Rating
Good for intermediate to advanced DIYers – A little mechanical know-how will help complete this project

Estimated Time
2–4 hours

Necessary steps for a successful A/C repair:
  1. Reclaim the refrigerant in the system (if there is any left)
  2. Remove the components that need to be replaced
  3. Visually inspect the rest of the system for evidence of leaks or other damage
  4. Clean (flush) the entire A/C system to ensure debris and dirty oil are removed. (Some condensers cannot be properly flushed and need to be replaced)
  5. Replace the components that were removed in step 2
  6. Vacuum the system to eliminate air and moisture (you may need to take this to a shop to be performed properly)
  7. Charge the system with the correct type and amount of refrigerant and oil for the application
  8. Run and test the system
  9. Burnish the new A/C compressor clutch by cycling on and off 20-25 times
If the A/C compressor needs to be replaced, be sure to:
  • Replace the orifice tube or replace the expansion valve. Your system will use one of these two, depending on system design.
  • Replace your Filter Drier or Accumulator. Your system will use one of these two depending on system design.
  • The compressor warranty will also be retained by replacing the orifice tube or replacing the expansion valve and the Filter Drier or Accumulator. (Failure to replace the accumulator/drier and expansion device will void warranty).
  • On later model cars, A/C condenser replacement may be necessary after a catastrophic A/C Compressor failure or on a vehicle with high mileage.
  • Clean the system and ensure that it’s free from debris and dirty lubricants. This will prevent the circulation of contaminated oil or debris through the system that will damage the replacement compressor.
  • After replacing the components, the system must be evacuated and then charged accurately with the exact amounts of refrigerant and oil specified for your vehicle.

A/C system components.

A/C Compressor

A/C Compressor

The compressor is the only moving component within the A/C system and pumps refrigerant thru the system. The compressor can fail due to several different reasons and some common causes of failure are lack of lubrication, running at extreme high pressures, low voltage at the clutch and bearing or clutch failure. For these reasons, we must check out the entire system and ensure everything is working properly. Look for visible leaks or abnormal noises coming from the compressor.

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A/C Receiver Filter Drier or Accumulator

Receiver Filter Drier or Accumulator

The primary function of the receiver filter drier or accumulator is to absorb moisture within the A/C system. Over time these components can become saturated with moisture and no longer absorb unwanted moisture. Moisture that remains in a system will mix with the refrigerant and form an acid which can cause damage to the compressor or other components in the system. It is necessary to replace the Receiver Filter Drier or Accumulator when replacing a compressor.

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A/C Orifice Tube or Expansion Valve

Orifice Tube or Expansion Valve

Orifice tubes and expansion valves meter the refrigerant flow within the A/C system. The filters on these can become plugged over time and cause restricted refrigerant and lubricant flow. Be sure to replace the orifice tube each time the A/C system is opened up for repair.

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A/C Condenser

A/C Condenser

The condensers job in the A/C system is to remove heat from the refrigerant as it passes thru it. Condensers can leak, the fins can be plugged with debris and the passages are now so small they cannot effectively be flushed out to remove debris. The best solution will be replacing the condenser after a compressor failure otherwise the system may not preform properly.

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A/C Evaporator

A/C Evaporator

The evaporator is located under the dash and becomes cold when the refrigerant passes thru. This removes heat from the cabin area as the blower motor moves air over the evaporator, resulting in cool air coming from the vents. Evaporators may need to be replaced if leaks develops. Many times you can see the leak by noticing a light fog coming from the vents with the A/C on.

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A/C Hoses

A/C Hoses

A/C hoses with a muffler built in should be replaced whenever replaceing a compresssor. There are tiny passages that can become plugged over time and restrict refrigerant flow.

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Essentials to do the job right.