Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

AC Compressor

The AC Compressor blew on our 1999 528i BMW.

Forty years of owning all types of cars I never experienced this event. Is there a cause? Should service have been performed at some point? What is involved in this repair?

What other parts?

I have had three compressors replaced in about the same timeframe, so you are doing better than me. In this case, your mechanic may suggest a complete system replacement, because your AC system is fairly old. It is possible to replace the compressor and just a few of the other companion parts, but let an AC specialist make a recommendation. Depending on how this “blew up”, there may be a bunch of trash in the rest of the system, and getting it all out can be difficult.

Anytime a compressor fails, the entire AC system must be flushed to remove any debris the failed compressor sent into the system. Failing to do this will result in the destruction of the new replacement compressor. Also the reciever/drier will require replacing.

Why did this happen? Todays compressors are made smaller and from lighter materials than compressors in the past. So they run hotter these days. Some compressors have a thermal limit switch mounted on them that shuts power off to the compressor if it starts to run too hot.

There is no maintenance schedule for an AC system. So there’s nothing that could have been done to prevent this from happening.