Can you really drive a car with a bad AC compressor?

Every part of the car is essential for the best performance in all locomotions as it serves a specific role. For example, the AC compressor found on the front part of the car is operated by an engine-accessory belt.

It acts as an air-conditioning system or power unit and makes the refrigerant under high pressure, then transfers the effect into the condenser. Once the gas or air reaches the condenser, it turns into a liquid, making the car’s performance go higher.

Like any other part of the car, an AC Compressor can fail, and its failures impact the car’s performance. One of the common causes of the AC Compressor’s failure is worn out of the accessory belt or slips, which causes it to underperform.

Besides the failure of slips or accessory belts, internal parts connected with the AC Compressor can also develop issues, such as those that let cold air to stop working. The compressor also may experience or develop a fault that leaks refrigerant, and as a result, the cold air entering the interior becomes limited.

Consequently, if there is less cold air reaching the interior, it won’t mean the AC compressor causes all; the system parts such as the compressor can fail.

So, Can I drive a car with a bad AC compressor?

If you are a driver and always wonder if you can drive the vehicle without or with a bad AC compressor, you are not alone; many drivers ask the same question.

But the answer is yes, you can drive with a bad AC compressor, although it depends on what you want from the compressor service provider.

The main work is circulating cool air in the car, which you may not need all the time. Therefore, whether you are asking, “Can I drive a car with a bad AC compressor?” it will depend on you, but it is okay to drive with a bad AC compressor.

Will a Bad AC Compressor affect the Engine?

Yes, a bad AC compressor will affect the engine negatively. The AC compressor plays a very crucial role in the car by providing an air conditioning system.

If the ac compressor is affected, it will affect the engine because when the compressor’s pulley bearing defaults, it will stall due to the stuck compressor. Moreover, the serpentine belt might as well break hence affecting all other accessories that it moves. 

Does a bad AC compressor make noise?

Yes, a bad compressor will often produce unusual or loud noises. For instance, a worn bearing will make a grinding or high-pitched squealing sound. The seized bearing will have a noticeable belt squeal or some grinding noise. 

How do I know if the AC compressor starts or doesn’t work at all?

Knowing that a compressor does not work is easy because before the ac compressor stops working, it often shows some warning signals. It will show warning signs like frequently sliding the circuit breaker, shaking the systems every time it is started, and puffing warm air.

Can The car be driven without an AC compressor?

An ac compressor plays a significant role in the vehicle and is a significant part of the vehicle. The compressor ensures that there is a continuous flow of refrigerants in the car for the passenger’s comfort.

Despite its critical role in the vehicle, it is possible to drive the vehicle without an ac compressor depending on the driver and what they want. If you don’t need cold air in your car, you can drive without the air compressor, but be prepared that there will be no cold air coming out of the vents. 

How much does it cost to replace the ac compressor?

While the cost can vary based on type, model, and place of replacement, an ac compressor can cost about a hundred to twelve hundred dollars to replace. The compressor will cost $650 to $1.000 while the labor will cost around hundred and fifty to two hundred dollars. 

Can the whole air conditioning system be affected by an ac compressor that goes bad?

Yes, if the ac compressor goes bad, it will affect the whole air conditioning system. This is because it is the compressor that is responsible for pressuring and distributing the refrigerant.

Therefore, implying that the entire air conditioning or ac system will be affected if the compressor is affected. 

What to check first to be sure that the ac compressor is bad?

A bad or defaulted air compressor can ruin your day, more so during the hot summer days. Generally, the compressor part of the ac is the most of the unit. It is responsible for the conditioning system’s actual cooling.

When the ac compressor is not working, the ac can still run air through as usual but cannot cool to the optimum temperature. Although you might not be able to tell when the air conditioning ac compressor is bad as it will not cool your home, there are things that you should check out to get an assurance.

Here are the signs and symptoms of a bad compressor that will give you the knowledge to diagnose your vehicle. 

Higher than average temperature levels in the car

A bad ac compressor often fails to blow cold air as usual. A failing or bad compressor will not correctly regulate the cold air in the AC system. So, the temperature of the car increases, and the AC emits hot air.

When you notice this, then there are three primary reasons for this. First, there might be a leak in the refrigerant, two, the car compressor is bad and requires replacement, and third, the low refrigerant levels. 

Loud sound or noise whenever the compressor is running 

If the ac compressor is bad, the ventilation, heating, and air conditioning system will have some noise when they are running—moreover, the loud sounds when the ac switches are a symptom of a failing ac compressor.

The compressor has several internal components besides using a sealed bearing turn. If any of these parts break, there the car will produce all sorts of noise. 

Moisture leaks

A car with a bad ac compressor will have moisture leaks. 


An ac compressor is a vital part of a car’s engine as it plays a crucial role in providing a cool stream of air. However, there are incidences when the ac compressor can get worse or fail to work.

While this might raise worries among drivers, it is a thing to worry about because you can still drive without it. As long as you don’t need cool air, you can drive without it or even when it has failed, but this depends on what the driver wants. However, the bad air compressor might affect the engine and its workability.

Scroll to Top