Dos and Don'ts When Choosing an A/C Compressor Oil
Touch move--that's the rule when it comes to buying A/C compressor oil. Once the can has been opened, there's no way for you to return it if you found out that it's not compatible with your car. Worse, you'll lose the warranty of your compressor once it gets damaged by wrong application of lubricant. So before you move your pieces, read the following tips and be guided.
- Be familiar with the types, especially the components that make up a/c compressor oils. Each type has unique characteristics as far as viscosity and chemical composition are concern. There are three major a/c compressor oils in the market today and these are:
1. Polyalkaline glycol (PAG)- the superior among all the types when it comes to lubrication. It helps compressors to last longer by providing enough grease that inhibits friction between the bearings, vanes, and rotor. This is the best solution if your compressor always seems dry.
2. Polyol ester (POE)- The most popular among the types. Its trademark is "one size fits all", because its viscosity level is compatible with almost all types of a/c system oils and additives, as well as with most compressors. However, the low-moisture content of esters causes corrosion in metal parts.
3. Polyalphaolefin (PAO)- This is new in the market and slowly becoming popular in New Zealand and Australia. Initial tests have proven that this type exhibits self-cleaning ability that eliminates dirt, carbon, and other contaminants from the compressor. Aside from that, other benefits are yet to be known. If you're quite unsure of this, you can try the other two.
- Always consult the vehicle owner's manual for the recommended type of a/c compressor oil and the amount that you should put. Bear in mind that too much oil in the system won't do any good. If you are replacing the oil in the entire system, it is better to distribute small portions to the compressor, condenser, and evaporator. You can also drain the old oil from the compressor in a measuring cup and use that for comparison.
- Read the labels. Even if you are not a car expert, the labels can tell you so much; from the viscosity level to the chemicals that can be mixed. Look for the word, "Warning" for it can stop you from committing huge mistakes.
- Don't forget to check the other components of the a/c system for they may also be the cause of the problem. Make sure that the fan is working and that the condenser is not clogged.
- Don't experiment. Avoid mixing compressor oils with other additives such as synthetic and mineral oils. When incompatible oils react with each, they may produce acid that can harm the entire cooling system.
- Don't take a guess when it comes to hybrid cars. Be careful in using PAG for hybrid cars because electronically powered compressors require certain kinds of ester oils. Ask your car dealer or a certified technician for details.
DIY Replacement Project: Changing the A/C Compressor Oil
The secret to keep the metal parts in your car well functioning and long lasting is proper lubrication. Without it, these parts deteriorate fast due to extreme friction. There is also a higher chance for rust to form. Inside the a/c system of your car, it is the job of the a/c compressor oil to prevent that from happening. In time though, you have to replace the oil to make sure that dirt and other contaminants won't harm your car's system.
This replacement job is very easy for DIYers like you. You don't need a lot of tools. Just be careful when dealing with the Freon because that is a very sensitive part of the a/c system. If you're now ready, here is what you need to do.
Difficulty level: Easy
- A can of new a/c compressor oil
Step 1: First, you need to remove the low and high lines attached to the air conditioning compressor.
Step 2: Disconnect the electronic wire that is fastened to the air conditioning compressor.
Step 3: Take out the air conditioning drive belt then remove the manifold lines that are connected to the air compressor. Now, you can detach the entire air conditioning compressor from the system.
Step 4: Drain the old oil out of the engine. Pour the contents slowly into the intake port. Rotate the clutch and hub while you're changing oil to let the oil seep in the compressor.
Step 5: Put back the compressor and the drive belt. Do not forget to change the o-rings before you put the manifold back. Tighten the bolts to keep the assembly firm and stable.
Step 6: Reconnect the electrical wirings as well as the high and low hoses.
Step 7: Once you're done, start the car to check if there are leaks.
This easy task may take only 15 to 20 minutes of your time. Enjoy this procedure and good luck!