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Select Replacement Portable Refrigerator Compressor [2012-05-29]

 

Automotive air-conditioning systems utilize a toxic refrigerant that if released into the atmosphere can be an environmental hazard. It is illegal in the United States to release automotive refrigerant into the air. Therefore, before you begin any service or repair, you must have the air-conditioning system evacuated by a certified technician and have the refrigerant recycled.
1 Find out if your vehicle uses R12 or R134a before searching for an AC compressor. Most vehicles made during the early 1990s and afterward use R134a as an alternative to the older and less environmentally friendly R12. The mineral oil used in R12 is not compatible with the oil used with R134a, making a direct mix or swap without a complete evacuation a potentially destructive proposition.
2 Consult an automotive parts database to determine the exact AC compressor model needed for your vehicle. In many cases, a good database from a well-known automotive parts chain can tell you exactly what type of compressor your vehicle needs. Many vehicles require a certain type of compressor that can handle the higher operating pressures of R134a. Older vehicles with lightweight compressors designed for R12 may have to be replaced with heavier units that can handle R134a.
3 Decide if you want to go with a new, refurbished or used AC compressor. The best compressor to use is a brand-new or re-manufactured unit that is manufactured by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for your vehicle. There are also non-OEM units available at a lower price, but the quality and longevity may not be as good. A used AC compressor from a junkyard may be fraught with oil contamination, requiring a rebuild that may cost significantly more than a new or re-manufactured unit.