Air conditioning has got to be one of the most amazing and best loved innovations in the field of automobiles. To have yours break down seems like such a minor thing until the heat starts setting in-then it becomes such a huge frustration. That's why, when shopping for parts that keep you're A/C going, it pays off in spades to be informed and to shop smart.
Not all compressors are created equally
Things are fairly standard across the board-there's little variance in terms of functioning from one A/C system to another. The problem lies in the fact that there is a lot of difference in terms of the sizes and shapes of these systems and their components from one vehicle to another.
Among those components, the clutch is most vulnerable. The clutch is an electro-magnetic "door" that lies in front of the air conditioner and is slaved to commands from the A/C system as a whole. Again, functioning is consistent, size isn't. So it absolutely helps to use your own clutch as a reference.
Picking the right clutch
Honestly, it boils down to fit. Apart from using your own car's clutch and information from your owner's manual as a guide, it also is smart shopping to take advantage of matching software that a lot of online retailers embed into their sites.
These are simple to use. Just input the year, make, and model of your car as you search for an A/C clutch and it should return results that are more or less a guaranteed fit. It bears mentioning: be careful still. Do not be complacent. These range in prices between $50 and $70 for a reliable replacement-so be smart about things, and you can avoid a lot of heartache!