Things you need to know about the AC compressor clutch

Being a car enthusiast, you must know that a vehicle can develop several minor or serious problems. For example, a dysfunctional ac compressor clutch is one of the most serious problems. If the component does not work appropriately, the cold air flow suddenly stops to supply to the engine. Don’t you think it’s necessary to know how to manually engage the clutch without paying a visit to the mechanic?

What is an AC compressor clutch?

An AC compressor clutch is generally used to connect or disconnect the drive power to your vehicle’s AC compressor shaft. This is the initial thing that starts moving every time while turning on the AC. When you observe a slipping AC compressor clutch – you have the sign of a serious problem such as an incorrect air gap or shorted clutch coil.

How does an AC compressor clutch work?

The operations of an AC compressor clutch entirely depend on the car’s AC. If you turn on the AC, the clutch gets energized and then engages the armature plate of the compressor belt and the compressor drive. It allows the compressor drive and the car’s engine to rotate simultaneously. Thus the AC of the car starts working.

Now, consider the reverse situation. If the clutch is de-energized it will automatically disengage the compressor drive and the compressor belt pulley. As a consequence, the AC compressor will stop working.

In automotive terms, the word “engaged” means it has triggered the particular mechanical operation.

The second term “energized” means – it has been connected to the power source.

The common symptoms of a defective AC compressor clutch:

As the AC compressor clutch is the main component responsible to pressurize and distribute the AC’s refrigerant, you should always closely examine the component. Look at the common red flags to watch out for:

  • The AC compressor clutch stops engaging: The cause behind the problem is an inappropriate air gap or improper clutch oil.

  • The AC compressor clutch starts screeching: It also happens due to an inappropriate air gap. Sometimes rust accumulation in the pulley and the clutch plate also may cause this particular problem.

  • When the vehicle’s AC stops to blow cold air: Only a slipping clutch can cause the problem. As a consequence, the AC is not able to provide the best level of refrigerant compression.


Common methods of manually engaging the AC clutch:

By adding more coolant:

How will you solve the problem when the AC is providing a low level of refrigerant? The solution is very simple – by adding more coolant. Is your AC is compatible with the R314a refrigerant? Then you can attach your unit with it to overrule to low-pressure switch. As an outcome, you will get a standard function of the AC compressor clutch.

Jump-start the clutch:

If your AC is an older model, jumps-start can be a good option. It will take a few minutes provided the AC compressor has sufficient oil. It’s important to check whether the AC has enough oil for any type of repairing works. Refer to the user manual on how to fill and check the AC compressor oil level.

How will you jump-start the clutch? First, you need to unplug the wire connector. Now, you need to connect the fused jumper to the same point from where you have unplugged the connector. It should be connected to the AC compressor also. After that, you need to attach the opposite end of that fused jumper to the positive terminal of the battery.

Now, you have the tricks on how to manually engage ac compressor clutch.

If everything fails, replace the AC compressor clutch. Hopefully, this article will help you a lot to understand the exact operations of the ac compressor clutch. You have now a clear idea about fixing it and when to replace it.

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