The air conditioning compressor is the central component in the air conditioning system, allowing for air to be circulated and supplied to the interior of the vehicle. Although not technically considered to be an essential component for keeping a vehicle running, the air conditioning compressor will be missed on especially hot days in the scorching sun. There are a number of reasons a compressor can fail and the part is often surprisingly expensive, so in most cases repair is preferable to replacement.
The most obvious sign that air conditioning compressors have failed is the lack of cool air in your vehicle. However, there may also be a knocking sound, a screeching as a belt attempts to power a failed component, or an odd smell when the air conditioning is turned on, which is a symptom of a leakage in the system. It may not be the air conditioning compressor specifically that has failed, as there are a number of components that make up this relatively complex system. So be sure to investigate the problem thoroughly before spending money on an expensive component.
If it is determined that the air conditioning compressor is indeed the problem then look into repairing it, which may be easier than initially perceived. It may be only a simple pipe or seal that needs replacing – a considerably cheaper alternative. In an unavoidable situation when the air conditioning compressor needs replacing, the help of a mechanic will likely be needed, as replacing the part is not a simple DIY task. Contact a professional and be sure to look into a variety of makes and models, as some are cheaper than others.