Compressor failures

SMPE talks about the problems that arise without a good flow

Published:  12 May, 2014

The refrigerant takes a small portion of the lubricant as it moves through the system. This flow of oil keeps the system working correctly. If the system has a leak, or if an internal fault prevents the flow, the compressor runs dry and ultimately fails. Air con leaks are relatively simple to diagnose, locate and fix but a considerable amount of oil can leak out in a very short time, causing a rapid and catastrophic failure.

A failed compressor often results with debris in the air con circuit which causes issues when a replacement compressor is fitted but the debris isn't addressed. Flushing out the system is a must and particular attention should be made to 'dual pass' systems, where one of the high pressure passages can be clean, giving the installer the perception that the system is clean, but the secondary circuit could be completely blocked. Correct installation of an in-line filter can help avoid this problem.

Compressors are often supplied 'virtually' dry. It is up to the installer to ensure the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations are followed. If this is neglected, once again the new pump will fail.

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