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2015 Volkswagen Passat - AC compressor

I own a 2015 VW Passat TSi SEL (4 cylinder gas engine). I drive a fair amount for work and have put about 88k miles on the car in just over 4 years.

The AC compressor started to whine about three months ago, and when I brought it to the shop (at the dealership) they said it was likely going to need to be replaced in the near future.
My question is whether this is a common occurrence and if anyone who has experienced this has received any special consideration for the replacement costs as this is a part that typically lasts much longer than 4.5 years.
Also, if this happened to you, how did your heater core hold up as well, as I am afraid that will be the next issue…

I had a 1984 Chevy Impala which developed compressor problems at about 160,000 miles. It still worked well but my mechanic said it “might go” in the next 12 months.

I gave the car to my son in college who drove it to over 220,000 miles and never replaced the compressor, although it started to sound very noisy.

US cars have very good climate control systems by and large while AC took a long time to catch on in Europe and your VW 's troubles are to be expected as they are in French, British and Italian systems. Rolls Royce for many years had their AC systems designed and built by a Texas company!

I have had many high mileage cars (American and Japanese) but have never had to replace an AC compressor.

We have to replace them all the time at work

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Stuff happens, regardless of age. I assume the mechanic diagnosed the source correctly and checked belts and refrigerant pressure.

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I can’t say that I’ve ever heard an A/C compressor whine. I wonder if this could be something else such as an idler or tensioner pulley bearing that is whining.


I had one fail at 6 months on a new car. But at the moment, knock on wood, have a 14 year old car that has never required any AC service.

That also caught my attention

I’ve encountered plenty of ac compressors that are knocking and shooting lots of metal throughout the system, thus contaminating it

I guess it depends where you live and work. I remember renting a Ford Taurus in Houston and the car was about 3 years old and the compressor was already acting up. Where I live we use Ac from about June to September and only during the hottest part of the day.

My brother and SIL had a 1970 Barracuda, which was purchased “new”, and its A/C compressor “grenaded” when the car had ~10k miles on the odometer. This was when the car was 13 months old, and because the Bumper-to-Bumper warranty had already expired, they had to bear the entire cost of the compressor replacement.

If the compressor was the only problem, then one might chalk it up to a random problem, but because that Barracuda was the worst-assembled car that I ever saw, I tend to think that it was… just part of the overall picture with that POS.

When it was delivered, the paint looked like it had been applied with a broom, there were lumps of… something… under the vinyl roof, both interior panels and body panels were misaligned, and some accessories hadn’t even had their attachment bolts fully-tightened. The forced-air rear window defogger–which was supposed to be attached with 4 bolts–was dangling from one loose bolt and the other three bolts were missing in action. It began burning oil–badly–at ~15k miles.

So, the self-destruction of the A/C compressor was actually relatively minor when you consider what a POS that vehicle was, overall.

Where I live the HVAC is set on “automatic” at 70° 24/7/365. The compressor comes on when the system determines it’s needed.

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I’m seeing a service bulletin for certain models of AC compressor regulator valves. Ask you shop to check that tsb. Title is “AC does not cool and/or compressor is noisy” Does your compressor have a label that says “Sanden” on it?


Do you feel Sanden ac compressors are no good . . . ?!

They are extremely common for class 7 and 8 trucks and also for mobile construction equipment

I’d take it to a shop that specializes in a/c. Whining could just be an idler pulley, as mentioned above.

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any decent mechanic ought to be able to figure this out, regardless of what kind of shop he works in

In theory, a specialist shop isn’t needed

But those words “decent mechanic” . . . :thinking:

I’ve never had AC in any of my cars, so no opinion on any of the compressor manufacturers. Sanden is mentioned in the pertinent service bulletin.