Car AC Compressor Running But Won’t Take Freon

Does your car get hot any time you put on your air conditioner? If yes, the reason for this is that your AC Compressor is malfunctioning. This experience can be frustrating especially when the AC compressor won’t take the refrigerant known as freon.

The main reason for this is that your AC Compressor line is clogged or there’s a leakage or the compressor is just bad. Sometimes, it could even result in the car AC whistling.

The good news is that you can get your air conditioner back to work. In this article, I will show you what you need to do to enjoy a cool car during hot summer days.

Reasons Why Your Car AC Compressor is Running But Won’t Take Freon and How To Fix It

1. Leak in the AC System

If your car AC compressor is running but won’t take freon, one likely cause will be a leakage in the AC system. There are internal bearings in the car ac compressor that stop freon from leaking out. While the compressor performs its job over time, its bearings might wear off. This can cause a leakage of freon due to damaged or worn bearings.

You can also check the O-ring seals and front sealings on the back of your compressor for slack or wear.  Check the condenser for pinholes, and then, use UV light to inspect the area where condensation drains from the evaporator. The presence of dye or oil would indicate a leak.


Make use of a UV AC leak detection kit if you’re not certain of a leak. The kit functions with a dye and a UV light to detect leaks. Once the leak is detected, seal it up with a very good sealing product of your choice. Once the sealing is complete, your AC should go back to normal function

However, if your compressor is not running normally, this kit won’t work. You might have to check if the fittings are secure and tight. Also, observe the hoses for crumpling and the compressor’s hose manifold.

2. Low Refrigerant

The function of an air conditioner is to circulate cold air through your vehicle’s vents. But if your car AC has been blowing hot air into the car, that’s a sign that it has been lacking maintenance, and is short on refrigerant.

When you notice this hot air coming into your vehicle, that’s a sign of AC compressor failure. You’d have to do something before it completely kills off the compressor.


To ensure that your car AC returns to normal performance, you’d have to refill your refrigerants. To do this, you have to buy:

  • One refrigerant dispenser
  • Two 12oz cans of r-134a refrigerant
  1. Assemble your dispenser and ensure that the compressor is running
  2. Find the low-pressure refrigerant fill point
  3. Attach your dispenser
  4. Recharge the compressor

Refilling the compressor is an easy step that you can do yourself. But note that if it’s not done right, you might end up damaging your AC system. Ensure that you educate yourself before commencing the process.

3. Defective Clutch

Every AC compressor comes with a clutch that is responsible for compressing and distributing freon. 

When the clutch is energized, a magnetic force pulls the clutch to attach to the compressor shaft which rotates the compressor. If the clutch refuses to engage, the AC compressor cannot pump freon.

So, when examining the compressor to see if it’s the cause of the hot air, check if the clutch is attached to the system. A slight slip and your AC system will begin to pump hot air because it cannot produce a high level of compression.


The best thing to do is to jump-start the clutch but only if you use an older model AC in your car. Before you begin, ensure there’s enough oil to handle any repairs necessary.

Unplug the connector wire at the front of the compressor and attach it to a jumper wire. Connect the other end of the connection to the positive terminal of the battery and jump-start the compressor manually. This should cause the magnetic force to work normally and pull the clutch in place to rotate the compressor.

4. Clogged Pipes

Clogging in your compression lines can also stop the intake of freon. The compression tube is where the refrigerant flows and if the tube gets blocked by anything, the flow of cool air will be stopped.

If you want to check if clogging is blocking the airflow in your car AC, you should put your hands against the AC vent inside the car with the AC in full-blown mode. If there’s no air coming out or it’s not coming out enough, there is clogging within your pipes.


Find an AC expert to help you remove the clog from inside the compressor tubes. You can do it yourself if you have the knowledge but it’s advised that you should seek the help of an expert so as not to cause extra damage to the AC of your car.

5. A Bad Compressor

If after carrying out all necessary checks on the car air conditioner and none of the above-listed reasons are the causes of the air conditioner not taking freon, then your compressor might be bad. To know if your compressor is bad, check if it still spins correctly when you turn on your vehicle and if other components of the vehicle are in operation.


Call an AC electrician to loosen the compressor and the compressor and check it out. Ensure that you pick a product with a good warranty and return policy.

Read: Car AC Compressor Clicks On and Off Constantly

How to Check If Your AC Compressor Works or Not

The compressor is crucial to the functionality of your car’s AC. When your car air conditioner stops working fine, you’ll need to check to see if the compressor is running or not. These are the steps you’ll need to take:

1. Find the Compressor

To find the AC compressor, check under the hood of your car. The ac compressor should be attached to the engine with a twisting belt.

2. Switch On Your AC

Now that you know where the compressor is, turn on your car ac. Enable recirculation so that the air conditioner blows air and the compressor runs.

3. Examine the Compressor

Now that the AC is blowing, step out of the car and go examine the compressor under the hood. At this point, the compressor clutch should be spinning and the air conditioner will not be blowing any air. However, if you notice that the compressor clutch is not spinning, you should consult your mechanic.


We’ve been able to spread the light on the various causes of your AC compressor running but not taking freon. So if you experience this problem with your car’s AC, go through any of these causes listed and follow their solutions to solve the problem.