Can I drive my car with a bad AC compressor?

Can I drive my car with a bad AC compressor?

Signs of a bad AC compressor!

Are you driving your car in an area with a temperature above 30 degrees? If yes, you need an AC in your car for sure.

Obviously, nobody wants to sit in their car on a hot sunny day, on the traffic lights with no AC. I always feel like kissing the hands of those who invented cars and then AC in a car.

But what if your car’s AC compressor stops working? One thing might get into your mind and that is “Can I drive my car with a bad AC compressor?”

Can I drive my car with a bad AC compressor?

Driving with a bad AC compressor is possible, but it is not recommended. One possible solution is removing the compressor belt or replacing the AC compressor with Ac compressor bypass pulley.

Symptoms of a bad AC compressor include warm air coming from the vents—even if your thermostat says otherwise! Additionally, a bad AC compressor can cause odd noises, a worn-out serpentine belt, and leaking refrigerant.

Continuing to drive with a bad AC compressor can lead to further damage to the AC system and potentially cause other issues with the car.

It is best to have the AC compressor repaired or replaced as soon as possible to ensure the proper functioning of the AC system and the safety of the vehicle.

What is an AC compressor?

An AC compressor is a vital component of an air conditioning system that is responsible for compressing the refrigerant gas, which is then sent to the condenser to be condensed into a liquid. This process releases cool air to cool the surrounding air down.

The AC compressor is typically driven by the engine through a drive belt and has an electromagnetic clutch that engages the compressor when the AC system is turned on. It is made up of various components including cylinders, pistons, bearings, O-rings, gaskets, and a valve assembly.

The compressor is also responsible for sensing the amount of refrigerant in the system, and if it is too low, it will not engage to protect the compressor and the rest of the system. It is important to maintain and take care of the AC compressor to ensure the longevity and efficiency of the air conditioning system.

Bad aC compressor symptoms

The AC compressor is responsible for circulating refrigerant throughout the AC system to provide cool air. 

If the compressor is failing, it will not be able to circulate refrigerant, resulting in warm air blowing from the vents.

You might want to know about “How to tell if AC compressor is bad?”. Well in that case, Here are some signs of bad ac compressor:

  • Odd Noises

    One of the first symptoms of a bad AC compressor is odd noises. When turning on the AC system, you may hear a grinding noise. If the noise goes away when you turn off the AC, it is most likely related to the AC compressor. The grinding noise could be coming from a worn-out bearing or internal damage.

    • Worn Out Serpentine Belt

    Another symptom of a bad AC compressor is a worn-out serpentine belt. The belt may wear out due to a locked-up AC compressor, preventing the pulley from rotating with the serpentine belt, causing unnecessary friction. This could also lead to a squealing noise.

    • Warm Air Coming from the Vents

    If you turn on your AC and wait for cool air to come out, but it never does, it could be a sign of a bad AC compressor. Warm air coming from the vents is a common symptom of a failing compressor. However, it is important to ensure that there is enough refrigerant in the system, as a lack of refrigerant can also cause this symptom.

    • Leaking Refrigerant

    Leaking refrigerant is another symptom of a bad AC compressor. The leak could be coming from worn-out seals on the compressor. It can be hard to see the leak with the naked eye, but in some situations, you might hear a hissing sound. An easy way to find the leak is to add UV dye to the system.

    • Check engine light.

    Some cars will show a check engine light if the AC compressor becomes faulty. Well, this option might be in some of the cars but i had to mention this for those.

    If you have this facility, you are lucky enough! This warning light can indicate several problems, but when it’s related to the AC system, it’s often an indication that the compressor is failing or has failed completely.

    The check engine light is triggered by the car’s on-board computer system, which monitors various sensors and electrical components. When it detects a problem with the AC system, it will turn on the check engine light to alert the driver.

    Can driving with a bad compressor affect the engine?

    Driving with a bad air conditioning compressor can indeed have an impact on the engine. When the compressor is not working properly, it can put an additional load on the engine, causing it to work harder and potentially leading to engine damage.

    If the compressor is locking up, it can cause the engine to slow down to the point of almost stalling. This can be observed at idle or at a stop sign, where the car’s engine is almost stalling. The compressor can drag the engine down, causing it to work harder and potentially leading to engine damage.

    The compressor is connected to the engine through a belt, and if the compressor is not working properly, it can cause the belt to break. This, in turn, can cause the engine to overheat and potentially lead to engine damage.

    How to still drive your car with an AC compressor seized?

    If you get to know that your AC compressor is seized and have a question in your mind” Can I drive with a seized AC compressor?

    Well, it is not recommended to do so but still I will give you some solutions. 

    First, you need to identify the problem. If the air conditioning system is not working, it could be due to a seized AC compressor. 

    One solution is to remove the AC compressor belt. This can be done by locating the belt and removing it from the pulley. By doing this, the compressor will no longer be turning, and the engine will not have to work as hard. 

    However, removing the AC belt will disable the vehicle’s ability to cool the cabin, and as such, this solution is only recommended if the car is being driven in mild weather conditions.

    Another potential solution is to replace the AC compressor with a bypass pulley. This is a more permanent solution that will allow the vehicle to operate normally without the need for the AC compressor. Replacing the compressor with a bypass pulley is a fairly simple process, but it does require some mechanical knowledge.

    Final Thoughts

    Driving with a bad AC compressor is possible but not recommended. A bad AC compressor can cause warm air to come from the vents, odd noises, a worn-out serpentine belt, leaking refrigerant, and potentially lead to further damage to the AC system and the engine. 

    To maintain the AC system’s effective operation and the safety of the car, it is best to have the AC compressor fixed or replaced as soon as feasible.

    The AC compressor belt should be removed, or the compressor should be replaced with a bypass pulley, to reduce the impact on the engine and prevent driving with a faulty AC compressor.

    The ability of the car to cool the interior will be lost if the AC belt is removed, and replacing the compressor with a bypass pulley calls for some mechanical know-how..


    A: Yes, you can take off the AC compressor belt to protect the engine from additional harm. When the compressor is seized or broken but you cannot immediately afford to repair it, removing the AC compressor belt can be helpful.

    By removing the belt, the compressor will cease rotating, and the engine’s workload will be reduced because it won’t have to work as hard. This may aid in avoiding future engine damage.

    A: It’s true that a seized AC pulley bearing can prevent a car from starting. The AC compressor may cease rotating as a result of a seized AC pulley bearing, which may result in problems with the serpentine belt and other parts. If the problem is severe enough, it may completely prevent the automobile from starting.

    However, you can resolve this issue and enable the car to start by removing the belt from the pulley and replacing the bearing.

    A: A bad AC compressor will result in no cold air from the vents and warm air coming through the AC vents. Replacing it can be costly, ranging from $750 – $1500 or even higher, but it is recommended to ensure the proper functioning of the air conditioning system in your car.

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