The 9 Best AC Compressors
This wiki has been updated 7 times since it was first published in July of 2019. If your vehicle's air conditioner is blowing hot air, it could be due to a failing compressor. These devices pressurize the refrigerant so that it can discard heat into the environment effectively. It’s important to check for vehicle compatibility before you buy, and it’s also worth letting a professional handle the installation, since leaking refrigerants can pose a risk. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 10, 2020:
I’ve changed my methodology a little bit during this update, and there are a couple of decisions that reflect the current selection of AC compressors in the list, including the ones added during this update. Of course, the intention is to accurately reflect what consumers want, and it would have been inappropriate here to simply include compressors for some of the highest selling new cars in 2020, since most cars sold in the US are 2nd hand, and, as a recent article by USA Today stated, the average car on the road is 11.8 years old, while another article by CNBC claimed that 25% of cars were at least 16 years old. Also, it’s hardly likely that AC compressors for cars that have just come from the factory are in demand.
It would also have been inappropriate to simply include the most suitable compressors for the most widely owned and driven car models in the US, since issues with compressors can often be systemic across a particular vehicle brand or model, and some of the most popular vehicles may not necessarily drive the demand for aftermarket AC compressors, but I didn’t want to entirely discount options for the most popular vehicles either; so, instead, I thought the most appropriate selection would combine the bestselling AC compressors on the market – as these choices would naturally reflect the vehicles with the most common issues – as well as a couple of those that are a fit for the most popular cars. The most popular cars were identified based on data taken from nationwide online insurance quotes on a fairly large insurance comparison website.
UAC seems to make the largest selection of compressors for a wide range of vehicles, especially those from Ford and its subdivisions like Mercury and Lincoln, as well as Honda. From this brand, I’ve added the UAC CO 101290C as a more comprehensive replacement for the Four Seasons 58167, and a great fit for many F-Series trucks – by far, the most commonly owned trucks in the US. I’ve also introduced the UAC CO 10736C for the 2003-07 Honda Accord.
It’s safe to say that, among affordable vehicles, the Toyota Corolla has reached legendary status, for its reliability and safety, among other factors – I came across a video once that said that it was the most sold car ever, worldwide - and I’ve included the BuyAutoParts 60-01484NA as an aftermarket part for this popular vehicle.
Unfortunately, unless you are one of a handful of people who own a popular car, it’s very likely that none of these models are going to be appropriate for your vehicle. For this reason, I’ve added special honors for UAC, which has one of the widest selections of AC compressors. Even they may not have a model to fit your particular vehicle, but it’s a good place to start.
August 02, 2019:
The market for A/C compressors is generally dominated by replacement models for vehicle air-conditioning systems, for a number of reasons. One reason is that while compressors in larger central home units may also fail, it is generally easy (or easier) to replace the whole A/C; on the other hand, it would be a ludicrous practice to replace a whole vehicle when its AC compressor failed.
While there can be quality differences between different compressors that serve the same vehicle models, the primary distinguishing feature among them is that they are only compatible with specific vehicles – there is no universal compatibility. Thus, ensure that the compressor you select fits your vehicle. Noise and durability are other quality-based considerations to think of when selecting a compressor.
I wanted to select a range of compatible compressors to represent some of the most common car brands and vehicles in the United States. When multiple compressors were compatible with the same/similar vehicles, I highlighted what I found to be the highest quality option.
Delphi and UAC are some of the most well-known brands, but they are limited in their ability to serve the aftermarket needs of F-Series vehicles, which are some of the most popular trucks in the US. Thus, I felt the need to include the 58167 from Four Seasons - a brand with an extensive range of F-Series-compatible compressors.
UAC models (UAC KT 4677 and UAC CO 3057) are nice options for your vehicle since they’re commonly compatible with both R134a and R1234yf refrigerants – the former being the more traditional but less environmentally-friendly option that is slowly being phased out. In addition, UAC models use incredibly strong and heat-resistant HNBR (Hydrogenated Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) seals on their models.
UAC Compressors Out of all the high-quality compressor brands, UAC probably serves the widest and most comprehensive range of vehicles on the market, so it should be your first stop if you can't find what you're looking for elsewhere. This isn't surprising, given that, since their founding in 1988, their self-proclaimed objective has been to 'provide and distribute quality automotive air conditioning parts at reasonable prices'. uacparts.com