Car air con compressor cause of noise? Implication of not replacing it

The mechanic told me the noises when my car's engine is turned on is due
to the noisy air con compressor & recommend changing it for $700.

Currently the aircon is still cool.  If it's not being changed what's the
implication besides the noise?

a) does it consume more gasoline/petrol?
b) does it cause any wear & tear to other components of the car?

c)
I've come across our house / bedroom's compressor being too noisy &
ultimately it was beyond repair & entire compressor had to be replaced
ie can't replace just a sub component of the compressor.  Is this the
same case with cars' aircon compressor?

d) As it's getting pretty noisy, is this a sign it's going to break down
   completely soon?

e) Just to get a gauge of how accurate is the mechanic's diagnosis,
   is it common for a 6 year old car to start getting noisy compressor
   issue?  I can always get a 2nd opinion from a local mechanic but
   it's probably at a fee
sunhuxAsked:
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Tom BeckCommented:
a)  If a worn bearing is causing the noise then in theory, that could introduce additional friction and subsequently require more power to turn. In reality the additional power needed would be insignificant. You can buy a lot of gasoline for $700.

b) Not likely to cause additional wear and tear on other components of the car. If the noise is internal to the compressor pump itself, meaning some internal pump part is failing, this can cause serious damage to other AC components in the car by sending debris through the refrigerant circuit. But that will not cause damage to other systems in the car.

c) It is possible to replace just the compressor clutch/pulley OR just the compressor pump itself with most car models. This is rarely done however since the entire unit needs to be removed from the car in most cases. It's the removal, reinstallation, recharging and leak testing that costs the most money, not the purchase cost of the new compressor/clutch assembly. The refrigerant used to recharge the system is particularly expensive to buy and any refrigerant currently in your system must be recycled rather than just released to the atmosphere. Also, anytime you replace the compressor, it's prudent to also replace the accumulator/drier at the same time. I hope your mechanic included this in the estimate. The accumulator/drier is basically a filter that removes destructive moisture from the refrigerant. They tend to lose their ability to absorb over time and need to be replaced. If the accumulator is particularly gunked up it can cause damage to the new compressor. Best to do it at the same time so you don't have to pay for another refrigerant recovery/recharge just for that replacement.

d) The noise you are hearing is most likely the result of a worn pulley bearing or unevenly worn clutch plate. Yes, it will fail completely but it's impossible to say how much longer it will last.

e) I'd be a little upset if an AC compressor only lasted six years in a new car. I recently had to replace the same in our car for the first time since it was new. It's a 2004 model. A second opinion would give you some peace of mind but your mechanic would have to be an idiot not to correctly pinpoint where the noise was coming from. You might ask if replacing just the pulley/clutch is a possible option. Perhaps there's enough room under the hood to do that without discharging the system and removing the compressor pump. It generally requires special tools however and some mechanics are not interested owning special tools that get used infrequently. You'll probably be asking that mechanic to step outside their comfort zone for you.

Got a stethoscope? Lay it on the AC compressor while it's running. Try it on other belt driven components too. The one that rings the loudest is the one generating the noise.

I actually replaced the compressor and accumulator in my 2000 F150 myself. There was only a few skinny bolts holding the compressor on the engine. It took more time to reinstall the fan belt. I didn't have to deal with the refrigerant as it had leaked away completely over time. I took the truck to the local mechanic to get the system recharged. No leaks!
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nobusCommented:
i use a (long) screwdriver as stethoscope  - just hold it against your ear and the part you want to check , and you'll hear what is loudest
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Michael-BestCommented:
a) does it consume more gasoline/petrol?
b) does it cause any wear & tear to other components of the car?
c)
I've come across our house / bedroom's compressor being too noisy &
ultimately it was beyond repair & entire compressor had to be replaced
ie can't replace just a sub component of the compressor.  Is this the
same case with cars' aircon compressor?

Answer for abc is NO.

d) As it's getting pretty noisy, is this a sign it's going to break down
   completely soon?

e) Just to get a gauge of how accurate is the mechanic's diagnosis,
   is it common for a 6 year old car to start getting noisy compressor
   issue?  I can always get a 2nd opinion from a local mechanic but
   it's probably at a fee

"is it common for a 6 year old car to start getting noisy compressor
   issue?"


No, the air con should outlast the cars engine unless subject to damage or overheating.

Answer is get a 2nd opinion from a local mechanic.
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Using screwdriver as stethoscope : that's a novel idea.

Anyone know whereabout is the aircon compressor located in
a Honda Airwave car?  Must say I'm quite 'naive' when it comes
to automobiles' parts & repair
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Michael-BestCommented:
"Anyone know whereabout is the aircon compressor located in
a Honda Airwave car? "


All car A/C are belt driven from a clutch controlled pulley on the pulley end of the engine. (left side of Honda Airwave engine)
I searched but cannot find a photo / diagram for you... google for it if you have time.

Find A/C  by looking under the bonnet while a second person turns on the A/C with the engine running.

The "screwdriver as stethoscope" is not going to do more than tell you that the A/C makes noise...
All A/C compressors make a pumping noise, some louder than others.

Regards,
Michael
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