Connect with us

What Does an Air Compressor Do in a Car?


What Does an Air Compressor Do in a Car?

What Does an Air Compressor Do in a Car?

Air compressors are versatile tools, not only for your garage but also for your vehicle. They have various uses when working on your car, from powering air tools to painting and cleaning. Let’s explore the different roles of an air compressor in your car.


Power Hour

  • Powering Air Tools: A large compressor (at least 20-gallon) can be used to drive air ratchets, grinders, and more, similar to how professionals do. Make sure to set the correct air pressure for each tool to avoid damage and ensure safety.

Spray It

  • Touch-up Paint: Compressors are great for touch-up painting on your car using a spray gun. Take proper precautions by sealing the area, masking off windows, and using a respirator. Adjust the compressor pressure to get a fine and well-spread mist of paint.

Spin It Up

  • Cleaning Spinning Parts: Cleaning spinning parts can be challenging, but you can use your air compressor to get the job done. Blow air across the spinning part to get it moving just enough, and then use a brush to clean it. Avoid using your hand to stop the part; instead, apply resistance with a burst of air on the opposite side.

Totally Pumped

  • Inflating Tires: The most common use for a compressor in your car is to inflate the tires. Set the pressure just below the maximum inflation marked on the tire’s sidewall to avoid overinflating. Attach the nozzle to the valve stem and inflate the tires to the recommended pressure.

AC Compressor

  • Air conditioning system : The AC compressor is a crucial part of your car’s air conditioning system. Its main function is to compress the car’s refrigerant, which activates its heat-transfer characteristics and changes temperatures. This process allows the AC system to create cool air inside the vehicle, providing comfort during hot and humid weather or defogging the windshield in colder months.

A/C Compressor Parts and Variations

The compressor consists of several parts, including the housing, connecting points for refrigerant pipes, and a pulley with an electromagnetic clutch. There are different types and variations of compressors, such as variable or fixed swash plate, reciprocating, rotary (spiral and vane), and electrically-driven compressors used in hybrid vehicles.

How Does the Air Compressor Cool Your Car?

The A/C compressor is responsible for providing the refreshing blast of cold air inside your car when you turn on the air conditioning. The process involves several steps:

  1. Compressing the Refrigerant: When you activate the A/C, the compressor compresses and heats up the refrigerant.
  2. Heat Loss in the Condenser: The refrigerant travels through the condenser, where it loses heat.
  3. Purification in the Dryer: The refrigerant passes through the dryer to remove contaminants.
  4. Pressure Reduction in the Expansion Valve: The refrigerant passes through the expansion valve, where its pressure is reduced.
  5. Evaporation in the Evaporator: The refrigerant flows through the evaporator, becoming super cold and moisture-free.
  6. Cool Air Blower: The motor’s blower pumps air through the cold refrigerant and sends the cool air into the car’s passenger compartment through the blowers.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a car run without an air compressor?

No, a car cannot run without an air compressor. The AC compressor is connected to the engine’s serpentine belt, so a blown AC compressor will not damage the engine. It will not make the car cooler, but it won’t harm anything either. It is safe to leave the broken compressor in the car until you decide to replace it, which can cost between $800 and $1,400 for most cars, and more for high-end vehicles.

2. How long do car air compressors last?

The lifespan of an A/C compressor depends on various factors, including the age of the car and how often the AC is used. On average, an A/C compressor can last from eight to ten years. However, the life expectancy may vary based on its age and usage patterns.

3. What can damage a car air compressor?

  • Low Refrigerant Level: Insufficient refrigerant can cause the compressor to fail prematurely due to friction.
  • Dirty Condenser: A dirty condenser can cause the compressor to overheat and fail. Regular cleaning is essential.
  • Clogged Evaporator Coil: A clogged evaporator coil puts extra strain on the compressor and may cause overheating.
  • Faulty Pressure Sensors: Malfunctioning pressure sensors can lead to compressor overheating and premature failure.
  • Lack of Lubrication: Low refrigerant levels or air in the system can cause friction inside the compressor, leading to a lack of lubrication.

Old Compressor: Compressors in older vehicles may need replacement after about ten years of service due to wear and tear.

Shaleen Ashish

Shaleen is a Journalism postgraduate, and like every other gen-z, loves a good dose of humor, Italian food, fashion trends, and TV series. She is an acomplished author and expert in the field of air compressors. Shaleen discovered her passion for technical products and gadgets early in life, which drove her research and write about it.

More in Informational

Popular Posts

To Top