Running the A/C in cooler weather conditions


So now that it has gotten “cold” outside, I still run my A/C for a few minutes every now and then to keep the seals in the compressor tight and the moving parts lubricated, etc. And although it is still cooling down properly, I don’t notice the compressor cycling anymore. In my car this is a “click” sound with sometimes a quick flicker of the lights. Is this because in the cooler weather not enough heat is being transfered to the refrigerant for the compressor to have to cycle or does this mean my refrigerant level is low?


You didn’t tell us what car you own. Some low-grade models have no cabin thermostat; the A/C runs the same in hot and cold weather. Other cars, particularly those with automatic climate control, tell the compressor when to cycle on and off according to the temperature.

In your case, I’d say you needn’t worry about this issue for another 5-6 months, when warm weather returns. Your only purpose now is to lubricate the A/C innards. Wait until spring to determine if your system needs recharging – or not.


Sorry, 87 Accord. The system was recharged about 3 months ago. Thanks.


I’d bet that the click or flicker you noticed in warm weather was the cooling fans kicking on . . . which they won’t do (as much) in the cold weather. To figure this out, just have someone stand at the open engine compartment and turn on/off the A/C. My 89 accord compressor is quiet and doesn’t make much noise when it is cycling, but the cooling fans kick on and it is more apparent and the lights flicker for a second. Rocketman


Hey Jeff . . is your A/C cold? Mine is FREEEZING!! Best A/C I’ve ever owned. Rocketman


It’s Cool, I don’t know about freezing. It takes a few minutes for it to start cooling down and the car has to be moving for it to really get cold. Last time I checked it the temp was around 41 degrees. It is an R134a system. I suspect you have the old R-12 gas? I am curious how long the average compressor lasts, is it normal to have a 20+ year service life?


Actually, your A/C compressor is running when you set the mode control on DEFROST. It accomplishes the same thing as putting it on A/C or A/C Max.

As to your compressor possibly not cycling on that’s hard to say without knowing how well the system was recharged. If it was recharged and took a full can or more then that means you have a leak in the system. It could very well be low again.
Without knowing if the system was leak checked and known to be good, what the system pressures are, etc. there is no way of determining this problem.

JMHO anyway and hope it helps.