The national cost for an ac compressor clutch replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $104 and $1347 with an average of $488.

Get expert advice, find shops, schedule, approve, & pay for any service - guaranteed to be lower than in-store retail.

Drive with Confidence.

Save with Assurance.

Get expert advice, compare prices, schedule, approve, & pay for any service at your favorite shops - guaranteed to be lower than in-store retail. The preferred auto maintenance solution for gig drivers - now available for everyone.


What is an AC compressor clutch and how does it work?

The AC compressor in your vehicle is part of the air conditioning (AC) system. It is a pump that compresses refrigerant in gaseous form and sends it to the condenser, its next destination in the system. The compressor is driven by the serpentine belt running around the compressor’s pulley. Since the serpentine belt is always moving whenever your engine is running, an electromagnetic clutch is employed in order to turn the compressor on and off.

The AC compressor clutch is energized by an electric current when you press the AC switch. If the AC is running, it is because the clutch is engaged. When the AC is switched off - or when the system is on, but additional cooling is not needed - the clutch disengages.

All the while, the serpentine belt continues to turn the compressor pulley and the internal shaft connected to it. With the clutch disengaged, the pulley essentially free-wheels, lessening the drag on the belt and increasing engine efficiency.


How is a an AC Compressor Clutch Replacement done?

Unlike many other AC system components, replacement of the compressor clutch often does not require that the refrigerant be evacuated and recharged in the system. While the procedure will depend on your specific vehicle make and model, a technician will take the following general steps to replace the AC compressor clutch:

  • Disconnecting the negative terminal of the battery
  • Relieve tension on the serpentine belt and free the belt from the compressor pulley
  • Remove any other components necessary for access to the clutch
  • Holding the clutch fast, remove the retaining bolt fastened to the compressor shaft
  • Dislodge the outer portion of the clutch and remove it from the compressor, careful to note the location of any shims
  • Disassemble the inner section of the clutch by removing any snap rings or retainers
  • Pull the clutch off of the compressor shaft
  • Reassemble all components and reroute the serpentine belt
  • Some vehicles require that the AC compressor be removed entirely from the vehicle in order for the clutch to be replaced. When that is the case, the system will need to be evacuated and recharged according to federal regulations.

We're resetting car care standards.

One service at a time.


of car owners feel that they have been overcharged for car repairs.


of car owners don't trust their mechanic.

Your Car Care, Refined & Redefined

Transparent Pricing

Never overpay for car maintenance. Compare and select from discounted prices across 26,000+ trusted shops nationwide.


Ignite your auto knowledge. Gain invaluable insights into maintenance schedules, service clarity, and obtain expert advice.

Peace of Mind

Rest easy knowing you're getting quality service at the right price, without any hidden costs or surprises.


Bypass the stress of negotiations. CarAdvise simplifies your car care journey for an effortless experience.


National average cost of a an AC Compressor Clutch Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost


Compare discounted prices at over 32k shops nationwide.

Finding a trusted shop has never been easier. We've partnered with the largest brands in auto maintenance to give our customers the biggest network to choose from.

Your word, not ours.

After 5 years, people have a lot to say about us - here's a few.


How do I know if my vehicle needs a new AC compressor clutch?

Many of the symptoms of a bad AC compressor clutch are the same as those related to other AC system components. For example, if the air coming from the vents is not sufficiently cool or is warm when the AC is switched on, your problem could be a lack of refrigerant. It could also be a bad AC compressor clutch. If you notice that the AC switch does not light up when switched on, or if an AC warning light shows up on the dashboard, the problem could be the clutch. Other signs include:

A loud squeal or whine coming from under the hood that changes with engine speed or when you switch the AC system on or off

The serpentine belt comes off or breaks

The clutch will not disengage, even when the system is turned off

This text is only for demo

Other questions customers ask

Can you replace just the clutch on an AC compressor?
On many models, the AC compressor clutch can be replaced without replacing the entire compressor assembly. That said, when the clutch fails, sometimes the rest of the compressor is not far behind. And with some models, the compressor must be fully removed from the vehicle in order to swap out the clutch. When that is the case, it might be advantageous to replace the entire unit, since refrigerant recovery and recharging will be necessary anyways.
What causes AC compressor clutch failure?
An AC compressor clutch is relatively simple, however it does contain bearings that spin when the clutch is disengaged. The bearings inside the clutch are protected from dust, dirt, and moisture by a rubber seal. After thousands of miles and years of service, this seal can fail and allow contaminants into the clutch bearings. Then the bearings go bad, which often causes the pulley to run off track, ruining the electromagnet inside the clutch in the process.
Will the AC clutch engage with low Freon?
An AC compressor is designed with a safeguard, a low-pressure switch that prevents the clutch from engaging when the refrigerant runs low. While few vehicles on the road today feature AC systems that run on Freon, or “R-12” refrigerant, the same safety switch is built in no matter what refrigerant is used, be it R-134a or the latest R-1234yf.

This is demo Question

This is demo Answer

Your word, not ours.

After 5 years, people have a lot to say about us - here's a few.

Trusted & partnered with leading companies.

We've earned a reputation as the go-to choice for quality car care, with some of the biggest names in business reaping the benefits and improving their customer's car care experience.


Need to talk about something?

Call us at (844) 923-8473 or email [email protected]

Join the world's largest consumer fleet.

Over 1.8 Million already have.