How To Replace Air Conditioner Clutch? 5 Easy Steps!

It is important to know how to replace air conditioner clutch of a car because it can break frequently. The clutch generally has two circular friction plates that are made out of iron material.

One of which is attached to the car engine. This has a drive belt that is responsible for spinning it when the engine runs. Another one is attached to the rotor. This is the one that powers the unit.

how to replace air conditioner clutch

An electromagnet is located near those two friction plates. When you activate it, the electromagnet magnetizes friction plates so that they will be pulled towards one another.

As they are being pressed together, the plate on the engine will turn the other plate thereby turning on the air conditioner. Now to know how are you going to replace it, below are steps to follow. But before we get into the steps let us first talk about the common indicators for having a bad clutch.


Signs That An Air Conditioner Clutch Is Bad

An air conditioner clutch can stay strong for long. It won’t be wearing you out on your first time getting in the car. But when it fails, it will be difficult to tell. You have to spot some signs to know that there is a problem.

You should not ignore the following signs since it indicates that your clutch is bad. Or else, you might end up dealing with more serious. The following are the signs to look out for.


Sign #1. Squealing sound

The attached pulley onto the compressor might freeze and this will create noise when you switch on your air conditioning system.


Sign #2. Engine light

Most of the time, the engine light of the car will come on when you start to experience an issue with your air conditioner clutch. It is also possible that the compressor will turn on but will not turn off when the clutch fritz. That is only one sign that indicates an issue with your clutch. A lot of other things will occur in case your air conditioner clutch has gone bad.


Sign #3. Lack of pressure

The whole air conditioning system will experience a pressure lack. The clutch will also struggle in engaging the compressor of the AC system when you turn it on.


Steps To Replace Air Conditioner Clutch

An air conditioner clutch is the one that is engaging and disengaging the compressor when you turn on or off the air conditioner of your car. When the electric current sends power onto the coil, the outboard clutch will pull in onto the compressor. This will lock the pulley up and the compressor will start to engage.

Since the clutch is being attached to the shaft of the compressor, it will disengage so the shaft will be left unmoved.

Below are the steps that you can take to solve this problem. So, how to replace air conditioner clutch?


Step #1. Buying a new AC compressor

You will need to replace the entire air compressor if the electric clutch fails completely. Before you buy one, you first need to know the type of compressor that is compatible with your car.


Step #2. Accessing the compressor

For this step, you need to have the hood of your opened to let the engine cool down first before you begin the replacement. Also, disconnect its battery.

To do that, you need to remove both the positive and negative cable in the colors red and black respectively. Then, identify the compressor since the clutch can be found inside it.


Step #3. Removing the R134-a from the AC system

This is a chemical that is the same as Freon. You need to remove it from the AC system first before you unhook the hoses. Take note that is dangerous if you inhale or touch the 134-a.

That is why you will need a Freon recovery machine in getting this out. In case you do not have any access to this machine, just take your car to an AC mechanic and have him remove the R134-a for you.


Step #4. Removing the air compressor

Now, you need to unhook all hoses that are attached to the AC system. Do the same to the wires that are leading towards the electromagnet of the AC clutch. In case of any other things that restrain you from removing the compressor, take them out as well. Then, take the compressor and check for any damage.


Step #5. Installing your new clutch

Finally, put your new compressor in a similar location. Ensure to evenly space the iron friction plates. Reconnect the wires and hoses. Do the same with the battery of your car. Then, try to start your car to know if the clutch works properly.


It’s A Wrap!

Keep in mind that it is important to replace the AC clutch if it is already worn out since it significantly affects the efficiency of the air conditioning system.

Luckily, the process of how to replace air conditioner clutch is not that hard.

It will cost too much to have a professional do it for you so doing it yourself would mean saving more money.

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