How to Replace the Air Conditioner Clutch

Everyone dreads their car’s air conditioner failing. It is generally very expensive to have a body repair shop repair the problem. What many people do not know is that their air conditioner (A/C) clutch is the most likely culprit, and is not that difficult to replace. It is an auto repair that almost anyone can do. This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to perform an A/C clutch repair.



Gather Your Tools

Before beginning the repair, you want to make sure that you have everything needed to perform the replacement. For this repair, you will need a socket set, torque wrench, clean rag, new A/C clutch, wrench set, feeler gauge, and pair of pliers.


Remove A/C Accessory Belt

The first step is to remove the air conditioner accessory belt. This will allow you access to the clutch. The belt will be held in place with a few bolts. Go ahead and remove these. It will also be connected to the compressor. Disconnect it from the compressor.


Remove A/C Clutch

The clutch will be held in place by a large bolt. Loosen the bolt and then remove it. After the bolt is removed, the A/C clutch should be able to be lifted out of the mount.


Remove Spacers and Snap Ring

The spacers will be located on the shaft behind the A/C clutch. The shaft will also be connected to the pulley by a snap ring. Disconnect the ring, and then slide it off the shaft.


Clean the Shaft

You want to make sure that you thoroughly clean the shaft and the surrounding components. They accumulate grime, so take the opportunity to clean them. You will also want to clean the spacers and snap ring that you removed in the last step.


Reconnect Pulley

Now that you have cleaned the components go ahead and reconnect the pulley with the snap ring. Once this is done, slide the spacers over the shaft.


Install New A/C Clutch

Place the A/C clutch back in its mount. Then fasten in with the large bolt that you removed earlier. The clutch should be held in place securely between the bolt and the spacers.


Ensure Correct Spacing

Use the feeler gauge to measure the distance in the gap between the clutch and pulley. You want to make sure that it is correct, and that the clutch will enable the pulley when it is activated. If it is not spaced correctly, you may need to adjust the number of spacers that are on the shaft.


Reinstall Accessory Belt

The next step is to reinstall the components that you removed earlier. Reconnect the connection with the compressor. Then install the accessory belt. Tighten all bolts to make sure it is securely in place.


Test the Repair

The next step is to test the repair. Turn on the car and the A/C. You should be able to adjust the temperature gauge. If you are able to do so, then the clutch has been installed correctly. If you are not able to do this the likely issue is the spacing between the clutch and pulley. Recheck the spacing to ensure it is correct.

You now know how to perform an A/C clutch repair. This component is inexpensive, and is one of the more common air condition components to break. This auto repair will take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. It is quite simple to do, and can easily be performed at home in your garage. There is no need to take it to a mechanic.