How Often Should Car AC Compressor Cycle On And Off? – Guide

How Often Should Car AC Compressor Cycle On And Off? – Guide

How Often Should A Car AC Compressor Cycle On And Off

It is abnormal if the air conditioner compressor in your car stays on all the time. During the hottest months of summer, it is sometimes possible for the air conditioner compressor to cycle on and off frequently. If it is not the hot and humid weather keeping the compressor on, you must know something is wrong.

It is necessary to cater to the problem as early as possible to avoid AC’s wear and tear for long. The compressor is one of those components of an AC that mostly suffers a failure.

Here we shall discuss the functioning of the AC compressor and how frequently it should cycle on and off in your car. Learn to identify the abnormality to troubleshoot the problem at the right time.

What Is The Function Of An Ac Compressor?

The compressor is the central power unit of the air conditioner. It compresses the refrigerant and heats it when you switch on the AC. The heated refrigerant is passed through the condenser to cool down the air.

The refrigerant also passes through the dryer to purify it and remove the contaminants. Finally, it enters the expansion valve to do away with the compression. The clean and cold air, devoid of moisture, goes through the evaporator.

The cold refrigerant in the compressor tank cools the air and blows it out in gusts through the blowers. This creates the cold air coming out from the air conditioner to cool your room or car.

Why Does The Ac Compressor Cycle On And Off?

Since the AC functions to cool down the air, the compressor does the actual work. It makes the air cooler till you achieve the desired temperature. During the hotter months, the AC compressor has to work harder to maintain the temperature you set. The colder temperature you set, the harder the AC compressor works to cool down the air.

The compressor turns on when it has to cool the air. Once the desired temperature is reached, the compressor cycles off until the air become hot again.

Then, it cycles on again and starts cooling the air. This goes on in a pattern, depending upon the weather and some other factors.

How Often Should The Ac Compressor Switch On And Off?

It is normal for the AC compressor to switch on and off. Every time the air becomes hotter, the air conditioning compressor cycles to cool it until the required temperature. An air conditioner’s cycle time is the time it takes for the compressor to start working and cool down the room temperature to the temperature set on the thermostat.

If you set the thermostat temperature to very low compared to the room temperature, the compressor will stay on for a long time. It has to work for a significant amount of time to cool the entire space. It increases the cycle time to reduce room temperature.

Therefore, when the temperature difference between the temperature you set on the thermostat and the room temperature is relatively high, the cycle time will increase. As the temperature difference keeps decreasing, the cycle time keeps decreasing too.

The compressor may cycle on and off at an interval of a few minutes.

There is no particular cycle time for the air conditioner compressor. As mentioned, it depends on the room temperature and the temperature difference with the thermostat. It also depends on the air conditioner’s cooling capacity, the season, humidity, area to be cooled, etc.

The problem arises when the compressor follows an abnormal pattern of cycling on and off. It may either happen that the compressor is not switching on at all, or it may keep turning on and off frequently within the span of a few seconds.

Even the compressor staying on for a long time or all the time is abnormal.

Follow these patterns to understand if something is wrong with the compressor. If you see these abnormal cycling of the compressor, it needs attention.

Probable Reasons For Abnormal Cycle Time Of The Air Conditioner Compressor

Here are some of the probable reasons behind the abnormal functioning and cycle time of the air conditioner compressor:

Low refrigerant

When the amount of refrigerant in the compressor reservoir reduces, it stops functioning normally. The compressor needs sufficient refrigerant to function normally and cool the air.

When the refrigerant reduces due to a leak or other reasons, the compressor has to work longer than normal to cool the air. This increases the cycle time. You need a professional mechanic to repair and restore the refrigerant level.

Blocked condenser

If dirt particles block the condenser in the AC compressor, the machine will not function normally. It is unable to cool down the compressed and heated refrigerant, which passes through the condenser.

It puts an extra load on the compressor, making it overwork and disrupts the standard cycle time.

Dirty evaporator

Like the condenser, the evaporator, too, can be blocked with dirt and debris. This hampers the drying of the air and impacts the overall cooling effect of the compressor.

It makes the compressor work more to cool the car’s temperature and automatically increases the cycle time.

What Should You Do If The Ac Compressor Cycles On And Off Abnormally?

As already mentioned, the compressor should cycle according to its cooling capacity, the weather conditions, humidity of the day, and the temperature to which it has to cool down the air. All these factors play a role in the compressor cycle time.

But, if you find that the cycle time is abnormal, and the compressor turns on and off within a few seconds, you need to contact the mechanic. The compressor needs immediate repair to avoid its wear and tear.

If you find that the compressor is not switching on and the air remains hot even after a long time or the compressor refuses to switch off after the air is quite cold, it needs repair. The standard cycle time has disrupted, and the machine needs attention till it resumes the normal pace again.