What Causes a Car AC Compressor to Lock Up?

by Vee Enne

The air conditioner compressor is a component in an automotive air conditioning system. The compressor is a pump that attaches to the engine of a car. It has the task of pumping a refrigerant gas, which is typically freon. The freon is drawn in from one side, and compressed in the air conditioning compressor. Once the freon has been compressed, the compressor transfers it to the condenser. The freon is compressed and expanded as it moves through the air conditioner, which causes it to get very cold. It is then moved to the area of the car's dashboard, where air is blown across it with a fan. The air that blows across the freon cools rapidly, as it continues out the vent as air conditioning.

Automotive air conditioning compressors require frequent maintenance. Professional maintenance can prevent a car's air conditioning compressor from seizing, or locking up. Some of the causes for an automotive air conditioner's compressor locking up are improper lubrication, low coolant levels, and low-quality or incorrect types of refrigerant.

Air conditioning compressors require specific types of oil, depending on their individual needs. A professional air conditioning technician will have the information available to ensure that a vehicle's air conditioning compressor is oiled at the correct intervals, using the right type of oil for that vehicle. In addition to the correct amount of oil, air conditioning compressors also need to maintain minimum levels of refrigerant gas in order to prevent damage to the compressor. Not only does the minimum level of refrigerant gas need to be maintained in order to keep the automotive air conditioner's compressor from locking up, the correct type of refrigerant gas must be used. Scheduling frequent preventative maintenance checks with a professional technician will ensure that the correct refrigerant gas is used, and will prevent damage to the car's air conditioning compressor.

About the Author

Vee Enne is a U.S. Military Veteran who has been writing professionally since 1993. She writes for Demand Studios in many categories, but prefers health and computer topics. Enne has an associate's degree in information systems, and a bachelor's degree in information technology (IT) from Golden Gate University.

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