AC Compressor Clutch Engages and Disengages – Fix the Problems

When an air conditioner compressor clutch engages and disengages more often, that truly shows a mistake with your vehicle’s air conditioner. The problem is disgusting that most manufacturers recommend that vehicle users frequently check the air conditioner since too much issue can cause a lot of damage to the vehicle.

The air conditioner in any vehicle helps cool the internal environment by rotating several times in the car that you need to check to get rid of upcoming issues. Therefore, the air conditioner has sensors that help determine the temperature and pressure, which causes the compressor to start and stop by engaging and disengaging the compressor clutch.

The article below shows the meaning of the air conditioner compressor clutch, reasons for engaging and disengaging in the air conditioner compressor clutch, how to fix the problems, frequently asked questions and lastly, the conclusion.

How to fix an air conditioner compressor clutch that engages and disengages

ac compressor clutch engages and disengages

Before fixing any of the problems, you need to understand the idea of engaging and disengaging the AC compressor clutch. Consider following some steps to fix the problems with your air conditioner. Below are some of the steps to follow:

Techniques to use to fix the issue

TechniqueFunctionEssential product
Check the compressor oil levelTo know the amount of oil available in the compressor and if there is a need to add it or not.Check Amazon for the best compressor oil
Reduce overcharged refrigerant It helps in maintaining the Pressure readings with the compressor since overcharged compressor leads to high-pressure levels.Check Amazon for the best compressors to use with the air conditioner.
Check the coolant level on the refrigerant.To know if the pressure is right in the refrigerant since the compressor can show high pressure on the side, but the pressure is very low in reality.Check Amazon for the best refrigerants in the air conditioner.

i. Check the compressor oil level

The compressor oil level is a clear indicator that there could be an issue with the compressor. Using the display glass, check the oil level. If there is a red line, the compressor needs an oil top-up. Furthermore, when adding oil to the compressors, consider using the oil compatible with the other one. To know the right type of oil to use, check the manufacturer’s manual since most of them recommend the type of oil for the air conditioner. Check Amazon for the best compressor oil

ii. Reduce overcharged refrigerant

When the compressor gets overcharged, the unit will produce unusual pressure, which can be very high for use with the air conditioner. Consider using the user manual to set the refrigerant with the right operating pressure even when it is high from its side. Therefore, with the refrigerant with high pressure and overcharged, choose to reduce the charge in the compressor. Choose to use a discharge valve at the gauge to discharge the refrigerant successfully.

iii. Check the coolant level on the refrigerant

The coolant level on a refrigerant can be very low in most cases with the compressor failing to work; hence advisable to inspect the nature of the pressure gauge. At some point, there is a high pressure on one side that can be very low in some cases that you can think of. It is advisable to read the user manual to know the correct pressure level.

What is the meaning of an air conditioner compressor clutch?

What is the meaning of an air conditioner compressor clutch

An air compressor clutch is a device that works such that its power source is the engine charged by the wheels of the vehicle. The AC compressor clutch is controlled and monitored by the clutch system through the processing of engaging and disengaging with the driver using an electromagnetic switch.

The clutch and compressor in the air conditioner are the most important parts of the vehicle since they carry out many activities. Therefore, as a car owner, ensure you keep the parts safe and maintain them by frequently checking up on them to have a smooth ride with your vehicle. With the compressor, consider checking the compressor oil level to enhance its functioning such that when the level is low, you can easily note and add more oil.

Reasons why the air conditioner compressor clutch is engaging and disengaging

Reasons why the air conditioner compressor clutch is engaging and disengaging

When using the air conditioner in your vehicle, you can be wondering why the compressor clutch is engaging and disengaging. If you see anything like this, be sure that there is something wrong with the vehicle’s system that there is low pressure that makes the switches misread the refrigerant’s pressure. Below are some of the reasons for the problem:

  • Short cycling

The most common problem with engaging and disengaging the air conditioner compressor clutch is short cycling which happens when the compressor clutch comes on and goes off constantly. If the activities happen more than once, the short cycling problem can easily occur. For example, when the thermostat is faulty or bad, the coils are icy, leaking refrigerant, or the HVAC system is too large.

  • Faulty fuse

The other cause of the engaging and disengaging of the air conditioner compressor clutch is the bad fuse. When the fuse is bad, there is a lack of enough power going to the clutch and compressor. If there is less power in the air conditioner, the device will work less as expected since it needs the power to operate properly. Therefore with such an issue, consider checking the fuse and other parts and fixing them to reduce the engagement and disengaging of the clutch and compressor. Check Amazon for the best fuse.

  • Poor or naked wires to the clutch coil

When the wire used to transmit power from the battery to the clutch to the clutch or compressor is naked or faulty, there could be shortages in transmitting power such that it will at some point send power and fail also. Therefore, avoid using naked wires in your vehicle to avoid poor transmission of power to most parts of the vehicle.

How to know if the air conditioner compressor clutch is good or bad?

How to know if the air conditioner compressor clutch is good or bad

Before using the air conditioner in any car, check on knowing the status of the compressor clutch such that if it fails to engage, the rest of the system can easily fail to work. In such a case, the air conditioner will not have the coolant that works around the system to ensure the vehicle is cool. Therefore, follow the methods below to identify if the compressor clutch is good or not:

I. Please turn on the air conditioner controls to be optimal by turning on the air conditioner and its parts that support the cooling process.

II. Start the engine of the vehicle so that the system parts can start working too. To start the engine, ensure you start the car despite it not moving at that particular time to inspect how it will work.

 III. Inspect the front part of the clutch to know how it operates in the vehicle. Ensure that you open the air conditioner system to locate the clutch that you will inspect its operations.

IV. Ensure the pulley and the clutch rotate when the engine is on to easily note if the clutch is good or part at this step.

V. When the clutch fails to rotate, and the pulley is rotating, the issue is probably with the clutch or grip that you need to fix in the car before using it.

You might be interested to know Why my air conditioner plug gets hot

Frequently asked questions:

  • What time does the air conditioner compressor clutch stay when engaging?

A compressor clutch can stay while engaging after 40000 miles if it has a faulty switch since there could be parts that are wearing rapidly that you need to replace the parts of the air conditioner frequently.

  • How many times can the compressor cycle?

The compressor should cycle for less than four times in one hour since it increases the lifespan of the compressor. However, cycling the compressor for a long time can destroy the compressor and hence you can only use it within a few days.


Knowing why the air conditioner compressor clutch engages and disengages is not a hard task. You can easily check some of its parts and note the difference with what you know. The guide above shows the causes of the compressor clutch to engage and disengage and how to fix the problem.

An air conditioner clutch that engages and disengages is normally a clear indication that the vehicle’s air conditioner is low on refrigerant. Use the information above to solve the issues with the air conditioner since you can do it by yourself. You can consider taking it to any professional to help fix the problem and diagnose the issue easily.

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