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what does a bad ac compressor sound like

What Does A Bad AC Compressor Sound Like ( Complete Guide)

You love your car and you want it to last forever! That means that if your car starts making a strange noise, it’s your job to identify what is causing this and where it is coming from. 

As a responsible driver, the best thing for you is to understand all about your car, its functionality, pros-cons, maintenance and most importantly everything about the compressors. You should be able to understand by the sound of the ac compressor if it is working perfectly or not.  

But, the main question for many is what does a bad ac compressor sound like?

This content is written to help you guys understand more about your car and its compressors. 

What Does A Bad AC Compressor Sound Like?

what does a bad ac compressor sound like

An AC compressor may make different types of noises depending on its fault and wreckage. We have identified some sounds and its causes for you below: 

Crashing Noise

If the gas refrigerant enters the compressor, it will cease to operate and cause some type of crashing and banging noise.

Vibrating Noise

A loose or worn clutch hub or loose compressor mounting bolt can result in vibrating noises from the compressor.

Yelling Noise

A belt with too much slack or that is worn or loose will make your car’s compressor sound like the worst kind of animal yelling especially when the engine accelerates.

Gurgling Noise

A worn compressor pulley bearing or clutch bearing can cause a constant growling noise. Replace the components if the rotational noises persist despite changing lubricant to lower the friction level.

Knocking Noise

The sound of the compressor knocking is often the first sign of trouble. It may be caused by a faulty internal part or lack of refrigerant in your system.

How To Diagnose An AC Compressor?

Diagnosing your AC Compressor is typically an easy job that anyone can do themselves. If you’ve checked all your fuses and your compressor still won’t crank, it could very well be that you’ll need to replace the ignition switch or starter relay. You might also wish to replace any worn hoses or belts to see if that would work instead. 

Your air conditioning system makes it possible to settle into a room and feel comfortably cool. The compressor is one of the most important components. 

Firstly, it compresses cool, low-pressure gas to a hot, high-pressure gas.

Secondly, this hot air leaves the compressor and enters the condenser. 

Thirdly, as it reaches the condenser (located outside your home or building), it becomes cooled into a liquid that then returns to your home via copper piping as cold air and finally it flows through tiny holes in your ceiling up towards your floors. 

This makes it possible for you to turn on your thermostat and feel comfortable!

If you’re experiencing issues with your air conditioner, consider the following minor troubleshooting tips:

Switch off the power

Switch off the power to your air conditioner unit before beginning any types of repairs. Look out for any wires that seem loose, worn, or burnt. Check for any damaged wire connections in the compressor terminal box. These types of damages will require professional repair services.

Look at the fan

Check to see if the fan moves and you can hear it operating properly. If the air conditioner is not blowing air, ask your landlord or property manager if they had an HVAC repair firm recently inspect the unit and make repairs.

As you inspect the motor, focus on how it is running and if the fan blades are still in good shape. If they’re not, replace them with new ones to ensure optimal airflow and energy output. Also check for damaged or missing wires – since you will need to give the motor a new power source. Replace wires if necessary and reconnect along with putting it back together properly.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Air Compressor?

It’s worth mentioning that fixing up a vehicle seems fairly easy at first, but it can actually take a lot of time and effort. 

Don’t attempt to do this yourself if you have noticed any warning signs from your car, as you aren’t qualified to handle this sort of repair on your own. To get your vehicle up and running again, you need assistance from qualified professionals.

Warm Air Output

Make sure the fan is in working order, then check the part of the system where the compressor can be found. If you don’t hear any noise when it should be happening, that may be a good indication that it’s not turning on at all. That said, just because you hear a sound does not mean it’s functioning properly.

For example, if the AC doesn’t seem to be cooling the inside of your home when it should be blowing cold air, this can mean that there is something wrong with the AC system’s compressor which isn’t allowing the refrigerant in your unit to flow appropriately.

Unusual Noises

When installing your HVAC unit, you may already know that it is likely to make some amount of noise when in operation. This isn’t necessarily something that would be abnormal. 

It’s what you expect – especially during peak use times like summer! However, it’s good to check the unit every now and again while the AC is running. 

You want to listen for any new or strange sounds coming from the machine to ensure everything is still running smoothly. 

Minimal Airflow

Don‘t assume your AC is working properly merely because you can feel cold air blowing. There are many signs to look for. For instance, if the unit seems like it’s blowing with less force than normal, or perhaps it seems louder than normal, there could be something wrong. 

These issues could be caused by an underlying issue that was easily overlooked until now. Small issues often turn into large issues quickly!

Immobile Compressor Clutch

A sign that your AC is most likely damaged is if your AC is not turning on. In order to ensure proper circulating of cool air, the compressor needs to be moving at all times. 

If the system freezes or has a leak it will also cause permanent activation or intermittent activation of the unit. It’s best to make sure that there’s enough refrigerant in your system and that everything is working fine before you begin any repair work on the compressor unit itself.


There we are!! We hope you were able to find some important tips here that are useful in helping determine the fault of your air compressor.

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