What is an air conditioning compressor?

A compressor is part of the air conditioning system that is responsible for the flow of refrigerant liquid in the air conditioning circuit. The compressor draws in vaporised refrigerant gas (low pressure) from the evaporator and in turn compresses that gas to be sent onward to the condenser (high pressure) to release the heat collected from the passenger cabin and the compression process. This cycle is repeated for as long as the air conditioning is in operation.

There is an electro-magnetic clutch on the compressor that is used to turn the compressor on or off depending on the drivers requirements.

How do I choose the correct air con compressor?

There can be 2 or more compressors made by the same brand listed as correct for your vehicle. As a general rule if a brand name lists 2 or more of the same part for your vehicle only one of them will be correct.

The best way to make sure you choose the correct replacement part is to obtain the OE part number from the one that you need to replace. You can use the search function on our website to search for parts that match.

If you are unable to obtain the OE part number we can help.

Please note that air conditioning systems can vary between the same model of vehicle depending on several factors such as:

  • Brand name of the original compressor

  • If the vehicle has automatic or manual air conditioning

  • Number of grooves on the pulley

  • Engine code

  • The compressor is listed to match a specific OE part number. This number should be checked

  • Vehicle manufacture date (this is not the date the vehicle was registered but the date it was made

  • Engine number sequence (up to or after as specific number/letter

  • VIN (chassis number) sequence (up to or after as specific number/letter

What brand of air con compressor should I choose?

There are not many aftermarket makers of air con compressors. Having the choice of brand is not usually an option. These parts are precision engineered and made to the highest quality standards. Brands such as Denso and NRF have great reputations for quality and both brands offer a 2 year warranty for piece of mind.

How can I tell my air con compressor needs replacing?

There are several components to the air conditioning system so knowing which part is faulty is not always apparent. If you are not sure we would suggest that a vehicle air conditioning expert or qualified mechanic diagnose the problem.

Here are some symptoms of a faulty car air conditioning compressor:

  • The air is no longer being cooled (blowing warm air)

  • The compressor is noisy when the air conditioning is running

  • Refrigerant is leaking from the compressor

  • The electro-magnetic clutch does not operate (engage or disengage)

  • Burning smell when operating the air conditioning

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