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I have had to replace the air conditioner compressor on my 2000 Chevy Prism every summer for the past 4 summers. It is now time to replace it again (i.e. it is making a terrible rattling noise). I take it to the dealer, because there is a parts warranty on the compressor that I want them to honor. They have never given me any discount on the labor, but continue to place blame on others and not take responsibility for this botched repair/bad part situation. I have 2 questions: 1) Do I need to have this repaired or can I just continue driving without air conditioning? Would the fan/defrost work without the compressor being in working order? 2) Any ideas on why this could be happening and how to prevent in the future, if I do get it repaired again? Or how I could get the Chevy dealer to pay for the entire repair? Thanks

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Sara Thank You for writing into AskPatty! First off to answer your questions 1.) Yes your vehicle will run without air condition but not comfortable in the summed heat for sure. 2.) Yes your fan will still operate as this is a fan motor not an a/c required Function. To address the rsasonings on why you are replacing your a/c compressor every summer is out of the norm. The rattle noise you described may be from your compressor clutch. Also new compressors require a small amount of oil special to the a/c system which may be a type of ester or pag oil. If the right amount of oil is not injected into the a/c this can cause your compressor to fail within a season.

Barb Petrey, President - DBK Enterprises Inc at Jiffy Lube The compressor works to take humidity out of the air so if it is not working it will not defrost the windows. As for a yearly repair I would find a different repair shop or have them diagnose why. It should not happen every year.

Judy Curry, Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing at Currys Auto Service Sara, 1. you should be able to drive without your ac. However, your defrost function will be less effective in the winter. 2. Your ac might be low on refrigerant oil in the ac system. You should not have to replace the compressor every year! this is a symptom of either low refrigerant oil or some other issue that has not been discovered. You really should see if you can find a shop with qualified ASE techs to look at it. I think a second opinion is desperately needed! Good luck!

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Sara, You can drive the vehicle without air, just know that if you're hearing the same noise when the a/c is NOT on, then that belt is also turning with something else on your engine. This could be an issue. As for the defroster, you'll still hear air blow, but it may not clear as well because you won't have the advantage of the dry air that the compressor gives you. In other words, it's just like having outside air on which you can heat or not. I can't understand why you would have this problem over and over again. I installed my a/c on my truck 21 years ago and have yet to replace any part of it. I think it's time to contact the manufacturer and tell them about the problems you've been having. By the second time the dealership should have done this. Good luck. Lori Johnson www.ladiesstartyourengines.com

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