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2 min read

How to Avoid Compressor Failures

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In this article, you will find guidance on how to avoid Compressor failures.

We all know not to do it. Yet, be honest… you may have considered it; skipping critical steps during repair to save time, turn more bays… whatever the reason. Time is money and you’ve thought “It’s just this once. It’ll be fine.” And then, like Murphy’s Law, the customer you got on the road a couple days ago is back. With a vengeance.

This couldn’t be truer than with compressors. Bottom line, proper service can be the difference between a happy customer and one who is not. Take the following scenarios below – in every instance, every compressor was either improperly lubricated or the system was improperly flushed causing a comeback, and a displeased customer. 

Proper Oil Balancing

A 2000 truck was brought in with a noise complaint after recently having its compressor replaced. On investigation it was found there was lack of lubrication inside of the compressor. Very little oil was found and that oil was contaminated. It was found the installer didn’t properly balance the oil and there was contamination from improper chemical flushing. Performing an oil balance according to the instructions provided with the compressor would have ensured the compressor had the correct amount of compressor lubricant for proper compressor operation.

Another Oil Balancing Example

A 1998 sedan was brought in for service after the owner complained it was leaking. He had his compressor replaced three weeks prior to bringing it back in. On disassembly of the compressor it was found there was lack of lubrication inside the compressor and no oil was found, causing the compressor to seize. Again, proper oil balancing was missed, causing the premature failure.

Be Aware of Internal Wear

A 2001 van was brought in with a complaint of noise, leaks and that it was blowing warm air. The technician had installed a new compressor six weeks prior. It was found the components inside the compressor were rusted, indicating there was moisture in the system and a reed valve was broken. Broken reeds can be caused by contamination in the A/C system or could be a quality issue. On further analysis, it was concluded the reed valve failed due to either debris from the system or particles from the compressor. The compressor particles were from wear of the internal components.

Flush with R-12 and R-134a

What is interesting to note on all three failures is that none of the technicians used refrigerant as a flushing agent or were aware it is an available option. All systems must be flushed after compressor failure, either with the use of new refrigerant or using an environmentally safe, compressor friendly, approved flush agent. Delphi recommends R-12 and R-134a for refrigerant flushing depending on the system. No other refrigerants or blends of any type are recommended by Delphi.

When flushing the A/C system, the installers did not check if flush residue was left behind after replacing the compressors. Because of this, contamination to the compressor and premature failure occurred. It is important to use the approved OEM equipment, flushes and procedures to help minimize concerns with potential residual flush. It pays to read the vehicle manufacturer’s policy on flushing. 

Click here for a checklist to help you remember the top ten steps to compressor installation success! Do your part in eliminating comebacks, mitigating warranties and regaining shop profitability. 

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