After 4000 worth of front end damage, shop gives car back and week later compressor is bad. Insurance company says no physical damage so no coverage. 1600 to replace on my 2012 vw beetle and I’m on hook to prove it was accident related. Not sure how to prove shoddy workmanship or accident related?

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 22 '18 at 3:23
  • What do they mean with "Compressor is bad"? Can you reach the compressor and see if its pulley looks damaged, like something on it sheared off? – Al_ Jul 22 '18 at 9:10
  • Other questions for the OP: was the engine immediately turned off after the collision or did it stay on? Was the car towed or driven away from the scene? Did the shop check for leaks, and if any AC refrigerant leak found replace the leaking parts and then recharge the AC? – Al_ Jul 22 '18 at 18:41
  • No doubt they replaced the AC condenser radiator in front of the engine radiator. Chances are they got some debris into the open ends of the AC tubing . And/ or did not evacuate , replace the drier, flush and add compressor oil to the system after they replaced the condenser. and recharged the system. – blacksmith37 Jul 22 '18 at 21:26
  • @blacksmith37 Remember it's most likely a clutchless compressor. Driving with no refrigerant, even if you keep the AC off, destroys them. I'm not sure whether a limited internal lubrication design can still adequately lubricate the compressor at idle or not. – Al_ Jul 23 '18 at 9:49

Condenser damage, caused by front end collision, can damage a compressor too even though the compressor won't get physically hit/smashed in the collision. If the compressor is clutchless, like on most recent VW vehicles, the compressor is always driven by the engine, and no refrigerant means no lubrication flow at all (in automotive ac compressors, oil is carried around the system by the refrigerant since there's no dedicated oil sump and pump built in the compressor unlike with AC compressors meant for buses such as the Seltec/Valeo TM31) and this means compressor seizure. I prefer clutch equipped compressors for that very reason. Check if the compressor on your vehicle is clutchless and if so check if the torque protection device on the compressor's pulley engaged and separated the seized compressor shaft from the pulley. The problem could be showing proof that the AC compressor was healthy right before the collision.

Even better, post a picture of the compressor pulley's front here so i can check myself.

  • If the torque protection device has operated - what is there to show it did not operate prior to the accident? – Solar Mike Jul 22 '18 at 10:42
  • Ay, there's the rub. I suppose the ECU/CCU/whatever is in charge of the AC system (it has to be electronic, since the compressor's displacement is electronically adjusted) records an error code whenever the pressure sensor reading becomes too low (even if the actual compressor/engine coupling isn't monitored by some sensor). If it also records a timestamp for that error code it may be a matter of showing that the fault occurred just after the collision. Or maybe showing that an AC service has been done very recently (prior to the collision) and the ac system was found ok. – Al_ Jul 22 '18 at 11:58
  • Most engines on that 2012 Beetle are TFSI engines, don't those have airco compressors driven by an electric motor instead of by the engine? – Hobbes Aug 21 '18 at 19:38
  • I've seen electric driven ac compressors only on hybrid cars. – Al_ Aug 21 '18 at 20:32

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