An AC compressor has its role in your vehicle, acting as one of the principal parts that form the air conditioning system’s compulsory cycle.
Its initial role is to compress the vehicle’s refrigerant to activate its heat-transfer traits and regulate temperatures in the car.
However, the AC compressor is not immune to wear and tear, thus breaking down. When such a problem occurs, its only solution is to change the AC pulley, which of course, might be costly.
Since the initial purpose of the AC compressor is to regulate the vehicle’s temperature, would you dig deeper into your pocket for the pulley or find another solution?
Sometimes, vehicle problems arise when you are not prepared. But we find ways to solve them. When an AC compressor breaks down and you have no cash to replace the pulley immediately, you can bypass it with a serpentine belt.
After all, you only need your car to operate at that time before you find a solution to the air conditioning system, which indeed you can do without.
In general, the serpentine size you need to bypass the AC compressor is smaller than the initial belt, and to know that size, you need to take some measurements in your engine and the other accessories besides AC.
Such a suggestion raises questions like whether is it possible or not to bypass the AC, but we can find some answers, so, keep reading this article.
Can you Bypass the AC with a Serpentine Belt?
Yes, you can bypass the AC compressor with a serpentine belt. However, bypassing the AC compressor is not a walk in the park but requires you to follow specific steps. Below is the procedure for bypassing the compressor with a serpentine belt.
However, I would not recommend this method since it means improvising and has some important disadvantages which I listed below. Instead, change the pulley and do it at a respectable repair shop. It’s the safest method.
How to bypass an AC compressor with a serpentine belt
Trace the serpentine belt at the facade of the engine. For those who don’t know the belt, it is the rubber belt going over all the engine’s trappings. In most cases, the belt is black.
Sketch a diagram of how the belt is channeled around the constituents. Include the AC compressor in the drawing.
Slacken the belt’s tension with a ratchet and turn the tensioner.
Retrieve the belt from the pulleys. After removing the serpentine belt, you might wonder what size serpentine belt I need to bypass the ac compressor, but you need not worry because the next step explains that.
Weave over all the pulleys except the compressor pulley and mark the meeting point using a thread. This is to take the new required serpentine belt measurements.
Take the string to the parts store to get the belt according to the measurements. Remember, the new belt will be smaller than the initial serpentine belt.
However, it would be wise to get a bigger and smaller size than what you measured due to margin error. Preferably the next length.
Like the initial serpentine belt was over all the pulleys, fix the new belt over all other pulleys except the AC compressor. Instead, route it beneath the pulley.
Apply tension by tightening the tensioner bolt, or if your car is newer, release the automatic tensioner. Then start the vehicle and leave it to run as you listen to any squeal. If there are no squeals, then your car is ready.
Risks of bypassing AC compressor with a serpentine belt
Bypassing the AC compressor with a serpentine belt has its advantages and risks. Here are a few of the dangers.
- The covers and gaskets can dry out and crash due to a lack of lubrication.
- The whole air conditioning system might seize because of dormancy.
- Ac compressor helps in defogging the windshield, so if bypassed, you risk your visibility due to fogging of the windshield.
Advantages of bypassing an AC compressor with a serpentine belt
- It is cheaper than replacing the whole AC compressor pulley
- It helps you get to your destination even after the AC compressor’s failure
- It buys you time to stabilize financially to replace the AC compressor
- It does not take time to bypass the ac compressor
- The process does not require high skills.
Are there other better methods of bypassing an AC compressor besides a serpentine belt?
Using a serpentine belt is the best method to bypass an AC compressor, but there is another option. You can also use a bypass pulley to replace the ac compressor’s pulley with it and weave the belt as it was, which is the only method I recommend doing instead of using the serpentine belt to improvise.
If your vehicle’s AC compressor breaks, you can bypass it with a serpentine belt by following the aforementioned steps. However, the bypass thing not only presents advantages but might have severe risks.
For instance, when you bypass the AC compressor, you risk spoiling the whole air conditioning system due to the cracking of seals and gaskets resulting from drying out. Also, the AC compressor is crucial in defogging your vehicle’s windshield, so think about what will happen if you bypass it.
However, breakdowns are sudden and do not choose where they will occur, so in case the AC compressor fails, bypassing it with a serpentine belt is the best choice.