What's that funny noise you hear when your air conditioning clicks on? It's the compressor clutch engaging. Most people don't know that you should run your air conditioning at least once a month - even in the cold seasons - so that your refrigerant and compressor oil can circulate. This will not only lengthen the life of your compressor, but it will tell you if your A/C clutch has failed. As it only grabs when you turn the system on, you would expect it to make a little click noise accompanied by a small loss in engine power. The click is, of course, the magnet inside the clutch becoming electrically charged. The loss in engine power is the result of the belt now having a function to perform rather than simply bypassing the pulley. Of course, the belt is always turning the pulley on the front of your compressor. But when it is engaged, the belt actually has a load on it that strains the engine slightly.
Automotive air conditioning systems have been around since 1933, but it wasn't until over 20 years later than the system we now know today was first pioneered by Nash in 1954
. This utilized a belt-driven compressor, evaporator, condenser, and a switch on the dash that activated the electric A/C clutch. This convenience sparked a craze that never went away. Within 10 years, 20% of all cars in America had air conditioning. Much debate is had over whether the drag force from rolling down the windows to cool the passengers has more or less of a negative effect on fuel economy as does forcing the engine to spin the clutch. While results would vary if experiments were performed on a fleet of vehicles, it's likely a wash.
Replacing the clutch on your air conditioning compressor isn't the hardest job in the world, but it does require some experience and special tools. There are unique pulling tools designed to remove the pulley the right way. Also, the belts have to come off the engine, and any other parts that may be in the way (like coolant hoses, cooling fan, etc.) need to be removed prior to installation of your new clutch. It's not for the faint of heart, but with the right puller and know-how the degree of difficulty is probably a 4 out of 5.
You've reached the end of your search for a new A/C clutch. All the air conditioning parts we carry at Car Parts Discount are either new reproductions from top name brand manufacturers or rebuilt from original equipment cores to meet factory specifications. That means you can trust any clutch you find on the CPD site. And not only are the parts fantastic, but you will have your replacement delivered in a matter of days. How's that for customer satisfaction?