Where Is The AC Compressor Located In A Car? [Detailed Guide]

You may be wondering where the AC compressor can be found in a car. Fortunately, we have done some research for you, and here is what we found.

AC compressor is positioned at the front of the engine, with other co

mponents driven by a belt. It has a 2-pin connector on the outer body. The condenser unit usually houses the AC compressor.

It is important to know where your car's AC compressor is located in case it needs to be checked or replaced. Keep reading to get detailed information about the AC compressor in your car.

Where Is The AC Compressor Located In A Car?

mechanic's hand that is giving special tools. Remove the pulley. Repair the air compressor of the car in the garage

Some cars have their AC compressor in front of the engine, making it easy to access. But others have theirs towards the lower part of the engine. 

You can't easily see it from the top view of the engine. So, you have to go underneath the car through an access point at the side of the left front tire.

If your compressor is at the bottom of the engine, it would be difficult to remove it for a replacement. A 2-pin connector can be easily seen on its exterior body.

To access the compressor, you should loosen the nuts on the bolts.

A belt in a car's engine which an electromagnetic clutch (compressor clutch) engages, is responsible for driving the compressor. It can be found just at the back of the radiator.

For the compressor to pump the refrigerant all over the covered loop, you have to engage the clutch.

If you turn on the AC, just know that it has magnetized a drum in the belt pully. As a result, the belt drive becomes attracted and locked. With this, it only adds more resistance if engaged.

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Can You Replace A Car AC Compressor Yourself?

It is not recommended to replace your car AC compressor by yourself. You can call a professional to help you with it since they are experienced, but you have to pay. However, if you can get the job done well, doing it yourself is also an option and will save cost.

The following is a step-by-step guide for replacing a car AC compressor: 

Remove The Existing AC Compressor

The first thing to do is to disconnect the hose with an extension sucker. You will need to cover the mouth of the haux with a paper towel.

This prevents moisture and debris particles from getting into the air conditioning line. It also prevents any form of contamination. 

Next, remove the electrical connection. Just press down and pull the connector out. To remove the belt accessory, you must remove the belt tension.

Lastly, use a ratchet to remove the four bolts. Be careful while loosening the last bolt; the compressor can fall out on its own.

Install The New AC Compressor

Always take a look at the new compressor parts. It will give an idea of what to do. There are four bolts that mount the compressor to the engine and two pin connectors where the hose is connected. There is also a single electrical connection. 

You want to make sure your compressor has oil. This prevents blowing up your compressor. Always check for the correct amount of oil in it.

Clean And Fix Back Any Detached Part

You can use a wire brush to remove the rust on the bolts and nuts. Also, put a lock-tight gum on the threads on the bolts.

This helps to lock in the threads for vibration and also protects the thread from corrosion. Slip the bolts in, tighten them, and then use a ratchet to firmly tighten it.

Put the electrical connection back on with push-pull action. Pop off the covers of the connectors for the high and low-pressure hose just to ensure no moisture gets in. Moisture is a big killer for air conditioning systems.

Put on washer seals on the high and low pressure lines. You should lubricate the washers before putting them on the hoses. 

Tighten the hose on the connectors. Slip the belt back over the pulley and place back the rubber cover, and you are done mounting your AC compressor.

What Causes Car AC Compressor Failure?

mechanic holding the tools in the right hand and in the left hand is the ac compressor, Where Is The AC Compressor Located In A Car? [Detailed Guide]

AC system does not fail on its own, and the compressor does not stop working without a cause. The following are common causes of compressor failure:

Faulty Or Dirty Coils

Ac compressor coil in a car being removed by a mechanic for cleaning

Over time, different particles tend to accumulate on the condenser coils. When this happens, it becomes hard to get heat out of the system. At a point, the AC compressor may start overheating or stop working entirely.


Having moisture in the system is bad and can lead to corrosion of the components. Moisture can also contaminate the lubricating oil and make it more acidic, thus increasing wear and tear in the compressor.

Always inspect the orifice of the AC system during repair and the compressor drain plug for particles. A screen can be installed to prevent debris from entering the compressor.

Coolant Leaks

Car parked with water coolant liquid leak out from the engine down on the floor

This leak causes low coolant levels and less oil flow through the system. The leak also allows air and moisture in, increasing wear and tear. This also increases the corroding effect on the compressor, causing an internal system breakdown.

Flushing the entire system removes debris and all contaminated oil from the system. Never use contaminated oil for lubricating the system. Contaminated oil contains moisture which is not good for the system.

A filter is designed to capture microscopic particles so they can be removed from the system. But the AC system does not have a filter. That is why debris particles accumulate in the system and cause damage. They become embedded throughout.

Can You Drive With A Bad AC Compressor?

It is not advisable to drive with a cad AC compressor as it it is unsafe. Every component has a role to play for the car to function well.

A bad compressor is a major problem and can affect your car. If you drive a car with a bad AC compressor, the engine can get damaged since all its parts are interrelated.

The engine is responsible for powering important parts of the compressor, including the pulleys and belts. If the compressor goes bad, resulting in broken or slacked pulleys and belts, the engine becomes forced to take on extra work to keep them working.

This, in turn, causes damage to the car's engine. If you keep driving with a faulty AC compressor, then you may be worsening the condition of your engine and the air conditioning unit as a whole.

Can A Bad AC Compressor Cause Overheating?

auto mechanic checking car air conditioner at service station,car repair

No, the compressor doesn't cause overheating. But if you engage the clutch and the compressor starts to drag in order to work effectively, the car may start to overheat because of the additional stress on the engine.

However, the compressor doesn't play a major role in overheating.

How Long Should A Car AC Compressor Last?

The age of your car determines how long the AC compressor will last. As your car ages and with frequent use of an AC compressor, it can develop an issue, and little or no cool air will circulate in your car's AC system.

However, an AC compressor can last for about 8-10 years. It is okay to say that an AC compressor can last as long as the car itself. If your AC compressor starts to malfunction, make sure to check and replace it as soon as possible.

Does A Heater Use The AC Compressor?

The heater and the AC compressor are two separate systems in the car, but they are connected to some degree.

The car heater uses heated engine coolant for warming the air blown into the cabin, while the air conditioner uses a compressor driven by the engine.

To Wrap Up

mechanic holding the tools in the right hand and in the left hand is the ac compressor

A car AC compressor can be found in front of the engine cabin. There might be a need to replace your AC compressor.

To do that, you can remove the existing compressor, fix the new one, and put back any detached parts. You can either do this on your own or call a professional for help.

If you enjoyed reading this post, here are similar articles you may like:

Can A Car AC Compressor Leak Freon?

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