How Often Should My Car Compressor Cycle

January 10, 2023

How Often Should My Car Compressor Cycle


How Often Should My Car Compressor Cycle

Your car’s air conditioner compressor is the heart of your car’s AC system. It pumps refrigerant fluid through the system. Without a compressor, your A/C will instantly fail to work. Sometimes, especially as the years go by, an A/C compressor can start making noise, particularly while “cycling” Freon. A/C cycling refers to the system turning on and off, which it does to maintain the correct internal pressures for the Freon to operate correctly.


Our customers with compressor cycling issues often ask, “How often should my car compressor cycle?”

Why does my car’s ac compressor cycle on and off? When everything works correctly, vehicle air conditioners cycle every 15 to 20 minutes. This varies by car and compressor models, but this time decreases when the outside temperature is high, as the system must work harder to compensate.

Note also that if your car has an auto-climate system, enabling it may change the cycling frequency. The method may work more or less to maintain your ideal temperature settings. One troubleshooting tip is simply changing your climate settings and seeing if that affects the AC cycling frequency.

Again, the cooling system must cycle regularly to balance the pressure inside the internal cooling system. If it sounds like your AC isn’t cycling, you may need an AC repair service. It is necessary to safely perform air conditioning refrigerant recovery to prevent toxic fumes from spilling into your breathing air. The proper AC recovery equipment or machine is required by law.  Contact us for all your auto repair needs!


  • Run the system during the winter months to prevent damage from the cold. You’re probably much more tempted to run the heater fan, but you want to use the A/C to ensure it still works when needed. NOTE: This helps reduce condensation build-up too! The defroster will run your air conditioner pump and keep things circulating continuously.
  • Don’t let your refrigerant run low! If there’s not enough refrigerant for the system to work correctly, you will probably notice it because the temperature of the air coming from the vent is warmer,  and the time it takes to cool off is longer than it used to be. You may also notice the ac compressor is coming on and offering quickly, making a more rapid noise.
  • Use quality refrigerant to keep the system running smoothly. Low-quality refrigerant shouldn’t cause damage per se (presuming it’s adequate in the first place). Still, it can allow damage that would’ve been prevented by using a refrigerant with better performance specifications. In addition, better refrigerants are more tolerant to cold extremes. To learn how to choose the right type of A/C refrigerant, check out our article about “Vehicle Refrigerant Types.”
  • Clean the evaporator coil! If you drive a lot, mainly off-road, you know you have to be extra careful to get the dirt, debris, mud, and other gunk out of your chassis before it causes long-term damage. The same applies to your A/C evaporator. Cooling doesn’t work if the temperature exchange from the radiator is blocked by mud. So please keep it clean, or it won’t work right.
  • Stop-leak refrigerants are products you put into your air conditioner ports to plug leaks in your car’s A/C system, pump, or A/C lines. Unfortunately, this can lead to more trouble than it’s worth! This type of product will plug expansion valves in your dash and cause all sorts of extra work; it can also clog up your condenser.

Ac compressors can last a long time with proper maintenance. Getting your system recharged and inspected every five years can help prevent early failure. I would like to see a compressor last ten years or longer!


Is your car AC compressor cycling in your car? We service and test units in case your ac compressor is short cycling. However, because AC system service often requires disassembling the system, certified technicians must perform refrigerant recovery in most cases. For this reason, we don’t usually suggest end-user AC service repair.

Fortunately, we’re here to help! Our car air conditioner compressor mechanics near me are the top-rated crew in Chico! So give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to quote you on the cost of the A/C compressor service and answer any questions you might have—top-rated car AC compressor replacement near me in Chico, California.  I hope this article helped you understand How Often Should My Car Compressor Cycle.



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Buddy Rausch

Buddy Rausch

Buddy started his auto career journey at Butte College and started his own auto repair company in 2007. Since then he has worked on countless cars, diagnosing, repairing, and replacing worn, faulty, and broken parts.

After a few years, he moved to a bigger shop to accommodate his growth and to better serve the Chico, CA community. It’s a family-owned & operated business.

Outside of work Buddy enjoys spending time with his family and playing softball is one of his many passions.

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