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How to Repair the AC Clutch

by Tina Reichmann

An AC clutch engages and disengages the compressor when your car's air conditioning is turned on and off. Once an electrical current from the on/off switch sends power to the magnetic coil, it causes the outboard clutch to pull in toward the compressor, locking up the pulley and engaging the compressor. Because the clutch is attached to the compressor shaft, if it becomes disengaged, it will not move the compressor shaft. A few steps will help you remedy this problem.

Remove the air conditioning accessory belt with the proper size wrench in your wrench set. Disconnect the connector on your compressor's magnetic coil. Use the right size socket to remove the 6 mm bolt in the center of the AC clutch.

Pull the clutch off, and observe the spacers on the shaft behind it. They are used to gap the clutch properly, so keep them in a safe place to avoid losing them. Remove the snap-ring on the shaft that secures the pulley, and slide this off the shaft.

Clean the shaft and other parts thoroughly before installation. Insert the new pulley, and engage the snap-ring with the beveled edge facing outward.

Install one spacer on the compressor shaft, then install the clutch, and fasten the 6 mm bolt securely.

Place the feeler gauge between the clutch and the pulley to ensure proper clearance. If the clearance is not correct, remove the clutch plate and add another spacer.

Check the air gap to ensure the clutch will engage properly. If the air gap and/or clearance are not accurate, your clutch might wear out more quickly. Adjoin the connector to the electromagnetic coil.

Items you will need

About the Author

Tina Reichmann has been a freelance writer since 2009 when she began an internship with the "Amarillo Globe News." She has her Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from the University of North Texas and her Master of Science in kinesiology from West Texas A&M University.

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