Bad AC Compressor Symptoms and Replacement Cost

Last Updated on September 22, 2020

There are a lot of important components to the air conditioning system of a vehicle. One of the most important though is the AC compressor. This is the part that pressurizes the air conditioning system and allows the refrigerant to keep on flowing in order to make the system function properly.

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However, the compressor is subjected to a lot of wear over time because a vehicle’s air conditioning system is regularly turned on and off, especially in warmer climates. After a while, the compressor is going to fail and will then have to be replaced.

Bad AC Compressor Symptoms

air conditioner not working

There are a few symptoms you can look out for to know when you have a failing AC compressor.

The most obvious symptom is when the air conditioner stops blowing cold air out of the vents inside the cabin. Either it will be completely warm air or the level of coldness won’t be what it once was. This happens when the compressor can no longer regulate the flow of refrigerator that is within the air conditioning system.

Another symptom you may notice is loud noises coming from the compressor when it is running. In other words, if you hear noises when you turn the air conditioner on then it is likely a problem with the internal components of the compressor.

Perhaps the internal bearings have failed or they are leaking fluid. Since there are several internal components that are very complex to replace individually, you’ll end up having to replace the entire compressor if this occurs.

Finally, a troubled compressor may just have a clutch that does not move. The clutch is what gives the pulley the ability to disengage and engage it from the power of the engine. That way, the compressor is only activated when it is needed.

So, if the clutch doesn’t work properly, the compressor will stay on all the time and eventually break. In these circumstances, you could just replace the clutch if you notice it malfunctioning early on but it is still recommended to just replace the compressor.

AC Compressor Replacement Cost

For replacement parts, we recommend:

The average cost to replace the compressor of an air conditioning system can total between $700 to $900. You’ll have to take into account the labor costs which are around $160 and the parts costs which are around $600 or $700.

Ultimately, it depends on the type of vehicle you have but this is what you should expect to pay if you need to replace your vehicle’s AC compressor.



  1. I have just recently brought a 2003 Mazda 6 which I was told the a/c compressor was on it’s way out,but it was still drivable.i had not driven it for 4 days,And now it won’t start. Engine turns but it won’t kick over. Would that be due to the bad a/c compressor


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