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AC Compressor Cycles On / Off

The AC compressor on my 98 Regal cycles on and off intermittently for no apparent reason. The cycles are inconsistent. An inexpensive gage says the freon level is full. Would low freon cause this problem? Can I harm the system by introducing more freon? Any simple troubleshooting suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Continuous cycling is a common indicator of low refrigerant charge. To really see how high or low the charge is, a full set of manifold gauges should be hooked up to the system while it’s running. In other words, take the car to a shop that does A/C work.

I definitely would not simply add refrigerant until you know what’s going on.

Is this while the ac is on, or are you meaning when it is off? If it is happening when the ac is off it will still cycle on if in defrost mode.

Yes, the AC is on full blast Because of these cycles it only blows cold air intermittently. Thanks for responding.

The compressor is supposed to cycle on and off. That’s normal operation when the AC or the defroster is on.

If the cycles are very rapid the refrigerant level may be low, but the compressor is not designed to run full time when the AC is on.

Don’t mess around with this yourself. If you think there are problems with the AC system take the car to a shop with the proper equipment and knowledge to correctly diagnose and repair it.

Adding refrigerant yourself might make things worse, and can be dangerous. Take this to an expert.

Thanks. The cycles are very rapid. I do believe the refrigerant is low and the gage is giving a false reading because of the outdoor temperature (95). Also, it is a $12.00 gage. I appreciate your response… Mark

Thanks. I was hoping not to take it to a shop but I don’t want to make matters worse. I appreciate your response… Mark


Take your car to an automotive AC expert. The AC system is complex. It’s not something we can fix ourselves. A $12 gauge is just about worthless.

If this were my car I’d be calling my local automotive AC repair shop. I don’t mess with the AC system.