Seized Honda A/C compressor


I have a 1999 Honda Civic Ex with ~144,000 mi. (I estimate 85% of this to be freeway. The compressor seized up on it last week and I’m curious to what may have caused this. I am the original owner of this car and have maintained it very well including servicing the A/C. When I took it to the mechanic I was told that there are a few other components which should be replaced as well (expansion valve and dryer.) I have two questions, if the A/C system has been maintained, what may have caused the compressor to seize up and why should these other two components be replaced?


What usually causes compressor seizures is loss of oil. A little oil loss is expected at the compressor seal. If you see a lot of oil contamination near the compressor clutch you have an idea where the oil went. If the oil level is not periodically replenished, the sump will run dry and metal to metal contact will occur in the compressor leading to seizure. The metal debris ends up going through the condensor into the receive dryer clogging its filter. You will need a new receiver dryer anyway because the system will be openned. Any debris that makes it through the receiver dryer ends up in the expansion valve clogging its filter and/or the orfice. Part of the labor will involve flushing out the condensor and evaporator to get any remaining debris and oil out; setting the oil level on the compressor; a thorough drawdown of vacuum on the installed components; and a recharge with the requisite weight of refrigerant.

Its going to be an expensive job due to the cost of the parts, the expense of the tools and equipment, and the expertese of the technician.

Good Luck


Hey thanks for the reply. The A/C system is the last unknown frontier under the hood for me and am going to place this in the trusted hands at Honda. I am aware of the warning signs of a faulty A/C system and there was no signs of oil leaking, I checked the pressure in the freon line the day before it died, it was fine too. It would make sence, however that low oil would have been the culprate.

Here’s something else…

about a week before the compressor seized, the A/C started kicking out some very cold air - colder then it normally did; I did not add freon or do anything to this prior.