How to Replace AC Compressor on Car in 10 Easy Steps

This article will guide you through the process of how to replace AC compressor on car in a clear and concise manner.

How to Replace AC Compressor on Car
Image Source: Wallpaperflare

Required Tools and Materials

Before diving into the replacement process, ensure you have the following tools and materials:

1. Replacement AC compressor

2. Wrench set

3. Socket set

4. Safety goggles

5. Gloves

6. Refrigerant (if required)


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Replace AC Compressor on Car

When replacing the AC compressor on your car, attention to detail is paramount to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide:

Prepare Your Vehicle

Choose a well-lit, flat area, preferably a garage or driveway, to work on your vehicle.

Engage the handbrake and turn off the engine. Wait for the engine to cool down, which may take about 30 minutes.

Open the hood of your car and securely prop it up using the hood support rod.

For safety reasons, disconnect the car battery. Start by removing the negative terminal (usually black or marked with a minus sign) followed by the positive terminal.

Locate the AC Compressor

The AC compressor is a pump-like component in the engine bay, usually found on the bottom or side of the engine. Look for a unit with a pulley, belt, and connected hoses.

If unsure of its location, consult your vehicle’s manual or search for your car’s engine layout online.

Release the Refrigerant

It’s illegal and harmful to the environment to release refrigerant into the air. Always ensure this is done correctly.

Wear safety goggles and gloves. Refrigerant can cause frostbite if it comes into contact with your skin.

Visit a professional service center to safely release the refrigerant. They’ll use specialized equipment to capture and recycle it.

Disconnect Electrical Connections

Locate the electrical connectors on the AC compressor. These are usually plug-type connectors.

Press down on the locking tab and carefully pull the connector apart. Some models might require a screwdriver to release the connector.

Loosen and Remove the Serpentine Belt

Identify the tensioner pulley, a component that maintains tension on the serpentine belt.

Using a wrench, rotate the tensioner pulley away from the belt to relieve tension.

While holding the tensioner, slip the belt off the AC compressor’s pulley. Note the belt’s routing for reinstallation later.

Unscrew the AC Compressor

Using a socket set, carefully remove the bolts holding the AC compressor to its mounting brackets.

Keep these bolts in a safe place as you’ll need them to secure the new compressor.

Gently remove the compressor from its position, ensuring not to strain or damage the connected hoses and wires.

Install the New AC Compressor

Position the new compressor on the mounting brackets, ensuring it aligns correctly with the bolt holes.

Hand-tighten the bolts initially to secure the compressor in place.

Then, using your socket set, fully tighten the bolts. Make sure not to over-tighten, which can damage the compressor.

If you own a 1987-2001 Toyota Camry Celica Solara, this Amazon-listed RustyVioum AC A/C Compressor will be a perfect replacement AC compressor.

Reconnect the Serpentine Belt and Electrical Connections

Referring to the noted belt routing or a diagram from your manual, place the serpentine belt back onto the pulleys.

Rotate the tensioner pulley using the wrench to allow the belt to slide into its proper position and then release the tensioner.

Reconnect the electrical connectors to the AC compressor. Ensure they click into place, indicating a secure connection.

Recharge the AC System

Once the new compressor is installed, the AC system needs to be refilled with the correct type and amount of refrigerant.

This task requires specialized equipment and expertise. It’s recommended to have this done at a professional service center.

They’ll vacuum test the system to check for leaks, then refill it with refrigerant.

Test the New Compressor

Reconnect the battery terminals, starting with the positive and then the negative.

Start your car and allow it to idle for a few minutes.

Turn on the AC and verify that cold air is blowing from the vents. Also, listen for any unusual noises, which could indicate an issue with the installation.

If everything seems in order, close the hood and take a short drive to ensure the AC remains operational under various driving conditions.


Check out these other related articles…

How to Rebuild an AC Compressor in 6 Easy Steps

Seized AC Compressor Symptoms: Your Quick 101 Guide

How to Service AC Compressor in 6 Easy Steps

How to Repair AC Compressor in 4 Easy Steps

How to Fill AC Compressor with Oil: An Easy DIY Guide

Running AC Compressor Without Oil: Risks & Consequences

How to Remove AC Compressor: An Easy Step-By-Step Guide


Signs Your AC Compressor Needs Replacement

If you’re wondering, “can I just replace the AC compressor in my car?”, the answer is yes. However, you’ll need to carefully follow the steps we’ve shared.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t replace the compressor unless you’re sure that your compressor needs replacement. Some commons signs that indicate this include:

1. Lukewarm air blowing from vents.

2. Unusual noises when the AC is on.

3. Car struggles to cool down.

4. Visible signs of leaks or damage

Leave a Comment