Chevrolet Wiper Arm Buyer’s Guide
- An a/c compressor bypass pulley is the component that you can use to bypass your faulty a/c compressor.
- Although it is designed to provide a long service life, worn-out or corroded bearings, incompatible drive belt, and improper installation of drive belt can cause this part to fail.
- Once the a/c compressor bypass pulley fails, it may produce squeaking or grinding noises as well as cause your pulley to regularly seize.
- A good aftermarket replacement is durable, fits your vehicle, and comes with a product warranty.
- You can purchase an aftermarket a/c compressor bypass pulley for a price that is usually around $21 up to $76.
The air conditioning system in your vehicle is composed of several parts that work together to lower down the temperature inside your cabin. The a/c compressor is one of the components that are crucial in ensuring its functionality.
The compressor’s main function is to compress the refrigerant, changing its temperatures before it is transferred to the condenser for re-liquefying. By doing this, the whole cycle of turning gas into liquid (cooling it, letting it absorb heat from the vehicle’s cabin, and then returning it to its gas state via the evaporator) is started.
Your vehicle’s a/c compressor is designed to provide a long lifespan. However, it’s still susceptible to failure from issues like loss of lubrication due to leaks. A faulty a/c compressor can prevent the air conditioning system from functioning properly and may produce loud knocking noises.
Most of the time, vehicle owners choose to replace the a/c compressor with a new one when it’s failing. But in some cases, it is simply swapped out with an a/c compressor bypass pulley.
What Is an A/C Compressor Bypass Pulley?
The a/c compressor is driven by the serpentine belt in your vehicle. If it doesn’t spin because it is faulty, it can damage your belt and even break it. Once it breaks, your vehicle will completely stop working.
The a/c compressor bypass pulley is the component that you need to prevent this from happening. With its help, you can just bypass the a/c compressor. It can be installed in your air conditioning system and keep the serpentine belt routing. The belt will then drive the a/c bypass pulley instead of the faulty a/c compressor.
How Long Does an Air Compressor Bypass Pulley Last?
The a/c compressor bypass pulley offers a long-term solution to your faulty a/c compressor. It can provide a long service life, allowing your serpentine belt to function without any hitch.
However, the lifespan of the a/c compressor bypass pulley still depends on several factors, including the quality of the component and your usual driving conditions and driving habits. Once it fails, it is recommended to make the necessary replacement as soon as possible to avoid bigger vehicle problems.
Common Causes of a Failing A/C Compressor Bypass Pulley
Your a/c compressor bypass pulley is not made to last forever. It can encounter problems that may be caused by the following:
Worn-out or corroded bearings
Aside from the daily wear and tear that comes with its function, your a/c compressor bypass pulley is also exposed to various harmful elements like heat and contaminants. These things can speed up the deterioration or corrosion of the bearings inside the a/c compressor bypass pulley. Once this happens, the pulley won’t be able to function properly.
Improper belt installation
Not properly installing the belt or even installing the wrong one can lead to the a/c compressor bypass pulley’s premature failure. If you want to avoid this problem, make sure that the belt you have is compatible with your pulley. You can also ask a professional mechanic to do the installation of the a/c compressor bypass pulley to ensure that it is done correctly, avoiding problems in the future.
Symptoms of a Faulty A/C Compressor Bypass Pulley
Now that you know the most common causes of the a/c compressor bypass pulley’s failure, it is also time for you to learn how to identify a faulty one. When it’s acting up, the pulley can exhibit the following symptoms:
Squealing or grinding noises
If you are hearing squealing or grinding noises under your hood while your vehicle is running, it can be caused by a bad a/c compressor bypass pulley. It’s always advisable to have your pulley inspected by a professional mechanic to confirm if it’s the part that is producing the noise. Once it is verified, you have to immediately perform the necessary replacement to prevent any problems in the drive belt.
Pulley regularly seizes
Whenever the pulley seizes, it causes damage to your drive belt. This damage will accumulate over time and may even cause your drive belt to snap. Once this happens, it will lead to several problems, such as losing power on your engine’s accessories like the alternator. It can also reduce the power output and fuel mileage of your vehicle. Avoid these issues by quickly replacing the a/c compressor bypass pulley when it begins to show signs of failure.
What to Look for in Your Replacement Air Conditioning Compressor Bypass Pulley
You need to make sure that your a/c compressor bypass pulley can last for a long time, especially if you are not looking to replace your faulty a/c compressor any time soon. By getting a pulley that is made from heavy-duty raw materials, you are guaranteed that it won’t easily succumb to the wear and tear that comes with its job.
The replacement needs to match the exact specifications of your vehicle’s make and model. Otherwise, an incompatible a/c compressor bypass pulley can cause issues in the long run.
If you want to further protect yourself, don’t forget to purchase an a/c compressor bypass pulley that is backed up by a product warranty. An excellent warranty indicates the manufacturer’s confidence in the part’s performance.
How Much Does an A/C Compressor Bypass Pulley Cost?
The price range of an aftermarket a/c compressor bypass pulley is usually around $21 up to $76. It is sold individually and often comes with a product warranty to ensure consumer protection.
Do’s and Don’ts to Follow When Buying a A/C Compressor By-pass Pulley
Aside from making the wheels move, the engine also serves as a power source for the A/C compressor through a serpentine belt. The engine is synced with the compressor pulley because of this, which is why once the AC compressor malfunctions, the engine also goes out of sync. Repairing or replacing the A/C compressor should fix the problem, but if changing the compressor is not feasible for any reason, another option is to install an A/C compressor bypass pulley instead.
In this guide, we'll share some do's and don'ts in buying a A/C compressor bypass pulley.
- DO buy a bypass pulley that corresponds to your vehicle. Bypass pulleys come in various sizes and mounting options depending on what vehicle it will be used in. A bypass pulley designed for a Mazda sedan, for example, cannot be installed and used on a Dodge pickup and vice-versa. The pulleys are often packaged with relevant vehicle information, so make sure to check the packaging if you will be buying the right type of pulley.
- DO buy a bushing adaptor that's of the right size. Some bypass pulley kits allow you to reuse the original pulley of the compressor to ensure compatibility with the serpentine belt. However, in order for the pulley to work properly, it must be fitted with the correct diameter and size of bushing. Using a bushing that's even one size too small may make the pulley loose and cause it to pop off when rotating, resulting in a very dangerous situation.
- DO check and compare the warranties of the product to ensure the best deal. A/C compressor bypass pulleys are typically designed as temporary measure to keeping the engine functioning normally, but this doesn't mean that you should overlook its warranty. And as aftermarket products, the quality of A/C compressor bypass pulleys can vary from one manufacturer to another, so malfunctions can be quite a reality.
- DON'T buy just the pulley as is. You can buy A/C compressor bypass pulley as a standalone unit, but it is preferable to purchase a kit which contains the spacers, bolts, and added hardware needed to install the pulley. Using the hardware provided by the manufacturer will help ensure compatibility as well as having spare ones to use in case the original hardware is already compromised.
- DON'T buy a refurbished compressor bypass pulley. There are many resellers online offering refurbished pulleys at the fraction of the cost of brand new ones, but their quality and durability may already be questionable. What's more, the warranty is likely to be voided in the case of secondhand pulleys. So as much as possible, buy a brand new pulley set.
- DON'T hesitate to buy a new serpentine belt and hardware as well. Even a brand spanking new high-end A/C compressor bypass pulley won't do much if the serpentine belt is already frayed or the threads of the mounting bolts stripped down to the base. If any of these components appear to be damaged or worn, do buy replacements for them along with the bypass pulley.