Subaru Outback AC Compressor Not Turning On – 6 Common Issues to Solve!

With the modern technology for most cars, Subaru Outback owners tend to have an air conditioner in their cars.

Somehow, the Subaru Outback AC compressor not turning on, but it is a blessing if it is functioning, which is mostly considered during hot temperatures.

Do you experience hot temperatures leading to sweating while driving your modern Subaru Outback? Then, if you do, you must understand that your car’s air conditioning is not working properly.

The air conditioning system is believed to have many different causes that may hinder the normal functioning of your Subaru Outback Roof Rack Problems.

This article explains the different causes and the solutions on what exactly you can do if you are experiencing the situation.

Subaru Outback AC Compressor Not Turning On: 6 Issues behind this Problem

subaru outback air conditioning problems

1. A dirty ac pollen air filter

The cabin filter, also known as the micro-filter or the pollen filter, is the ventilation system positioned on the central component of your Subaru Outback Headlight problem.

If the filter is dirty, then you may experience reduced airflow, cooling, and heating. The overall ventilation deteriorates mostly in the interior from the cause of dirty pollen filters.

Moreover, it leads to unnecessary strains that affect the ac system negatively, resulting in to increase in the amount of fuel consumption in your outback.

Most manufacturers always recommend that you should consider changing your outback’s after every 10000 to 20000 miles.

Even though there are no certain prescribed years or periods, you should consider changing your car’s cabin air filter.

For owners who tend to drive their vehicles in a polluted environment or dusty areas, your car’s filters are prone to getting dirty in a much sooner time than expected to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Therefore, it is best to have a regular check-up on the cabin filter condition on your outback. Cleaning is best considered instead of replacing it directly.

And cabin air filter cleaning is generally done by using a vacuum cleaner or removing the various parts with visible dirt particles.

2. If the ac condenser is clogged

The Subaru Outback air conditioning condenser is positioned on the front part of your vehicle.

Primarily, it is responsible for producing heat from refrigerant to the ambient air, just like the radiator.

After some time, bugs, grimes, and other foreign particles tend to easily build up on the surface of the gaps of its mesh.

Normally, this situation affects the ability of the condenser to produce heat since less air passes through the mesh resulting in poor cooling ability on the interior surface.

Regular cleaning of the condenser of your Outback is the easiest and safest solution to a clogged air condenser.

To access the condenser for regular cleaning, you have to remove the bumper, and the power washer is best considered for use in cleaning.

But at a low pressure since high pressure may damage the fins in the condenser, which are very delicate.

3. Leaks in the ac refrigerant

A loss of 15% of the refrigerant in a year is normal, but the leaks increase more than normal.

Then it may lead to an insufficient amount of refrigerant, which can also be considered one of the main causes of ac compressor system not functioning.

If your car’s system is not serviced regularly, eventually, the refrigerant level will get slower. Therefore, hindering normal cooling capacity.

In case of leaks, it is advisable to refill to allow a pleasant temperature during driving, and if the level of the refrigerant goes down quickly, this can be a result of leakage.

The refrigerant gas escape on a Subaru Outback can respond to normal loss and various component defects.

Normally a condenser that is not functioning well or a defect on the sealing ring is the common cause of the leaks.

A gas detector is used to search the leaking holes, and once it is found, the holes must be closed by replacing the various components.

4. A dirty ac evaporator

The cabin air filters tend to attract dirt or other foreign airborne particles, and this situation can lead to dirtying the evaporator, causing ac problems in your Subaru outback.

After some time, the dust particles accumulate on the fins, blocking the amount of air flowing through to the evaporator, which results in poor cooling.

The most prominent clogged-up symptoms on your outback’s evaporator are divisional into two categories;

  • The amount of air that flows in the vents is normally choppy but not smooth.
  • The interior of the car develops a bad moldy smell

Regular cleaning of the evaporator is necessary in your outback, even though it is a challenging task. But in most scenarios, to access the evaporator.

The entire dashboard has to be removed. Therefore Subaru Outback owners should carry out the procedures in a garage or a workshop.

5. The failure of the ac compressor

Normally, the compressor is the most important part of the air conditioning system on the outback. It has movable parts that convert the actual gaseous coolant into liquid.

In case a compressor is broken, it is usually irreplaceable. And when your vehicle the air conditioner is turned on, the movable parts remain.

However, if the air conditioning parts are not turned on for a long period, the parts will likely stick and not move.

The outcome is normally due to a defective compressor, and it is no longer reparable; therefore, the only solution is to replace it with a new compressor.

Moreover, the worse experience is when the ac compressor is damaged, leading to insufficient lubricant, which is normally re-distributed on the entire Outback ac compressor.

In certain situations, you should replace the whole air conditioning system with a new one.

6. A poorly functioning ac blower motor

In case of reduced airflow from the vents of your vehicle, then it is more likely experienced from a poorly functioning bad blower motor.

More so, a weakened or worn-out blower motor can produce weird sounds during operation.

Manufacturers say that it is possible to repair a broken blower motor, but it can be easily replicable with a new one.

Solutions for the AC Compressor Problems

subaru outback air conditioning not cold

It is believed that most Subaru Outback air conditioning repair and diagnosis is expensive compared to other car models.

Owners are advised to save their money and time by troubleshooting the issues challenging their vehicle by themselves. And the procedure can be made possible with just a few steps.

  • Always check the car’s controls first. Then it is advisable to make sure that the air recirculation spot button is not selected instead of choosing the air conditioning. The procedure may look simple, but normally, it prevents you from visiting a mechanic when it’s unnecessary.
  • You first start the engine and turn on the air conditioner. Then it is visible to adjust the air conditioning from low to high and vice versa. Try to listen for any possible sounds in the air conditioner blower when it is turned on at a high level.
  • Always consider replacing the blower if it produces weird sounds where it is positioned just below the gearbox.
  • Pry off the lower foot trim panel carefully, and make sure you find the blower motor, normally positioned on the lower right-hand side. Usually, it appears in black and cylindrical shapes attached to a white fan. You should first unscrew the screw holding it in place.
  • If your Subaru Outback ac compressor not turning on, you should make sure the pilot’s lights inside the car are lighting up, and also, the graphic display should be lit. In case some are not working well then you should consider checking the control cables.
  • Then find the controlling cable in the VN Beetle by removing the trim panel surrounding the air conditioning controls. Bring out the control cables positioned underneath the instrumental panel. Unplug the cable on the back of the control panel, and then make sure you unplug the electrical powering cable.

Subaru Outback Air Conditioning Recharge: How to Do

It is a process whereby a technician will remove the old refrigerant from your car’s air conditioning system.

Through the Subaru Outback speciation on how to evacuate the system, and then finally, the specialist technician will recharge the air conditioning system with brand new refrigerant.

After the process, testing is necessary whether the newly installed system is working by cooling properly.

How to recharge Subaru air conditioner

Before you get started. First, you need to understand what kind of refrigerant your vehicle uses. The best understanding and determination is to confirm from your car’s manual.

Step 1: Buying refrigerant

Generally, to recharge your ac system, you will be required to pressurize the refrigerant. As well, a pressure gauge helps to keep track of the amount of gas remaining in the system.

Moreover, there are lots of ac recharge tools that you need to purchase, but some are pretty expensive, especially for professional mechanics.

The purpose of your car determines the recharging kits needed; that is, for a family car, you need all one air conditioning kit that perfectly fits the car.

Step 2: Preparation for the recharge kit

You will understand that you will see a flexible rubber hose, a pressure gauge, and a can of refrigerant while unpacking your kit.

Always follow the manual instructions on how to assemble the pressure gauge kit parts. However, before screwing the gauge, make sure you turn the gauge counterclockwise until it stops.

After everything is together, there is a pin inside the assembly that helps to pierce the can of the refrigerant.

Step 3: Assemble the recharge kit

The piercing pin should be safely retracted, then assembling the pressure gauge with the kit should be done.

Screw the rubber hose onto the pressure gauge, then tighten it. Following the procedure, you should also calibrate the gauge, which is considered a basic requirement.

Step 4: Location of the low-pressure port

The ac system is normally known to have two parts, high pressure, and low pressure. It is recommendable that you recharge your Subaru with low pressure on the air condenser.

It is advisable to check from the manual to be sure, though your car may have a cap over the pressure slots.

Step 5: Cleaning the low-pressure port

You should always note that debris entering the compressor may lead to permanent failure of the compressor, which is normally expensive to repair.

You should be safe. Always clean the outer covering of the pressure port before removing it and clean again after the cap is removed.

Step 6: Test the pressure

It is always best before attaching the hose to turn the gauge clockwise until it is tight. The procedure helps seal the gauge off in search of a way to attach the ac port safely.

After the port is cleaned, you are allowed to attach the rubber hose, which helps link the pressure to your vehicle.

Always consider attaching the hose to the low-pressure port, and then safely pull out the fitting back and slide it over the port and you can release it after the process.

Start the engine and turn to try to turn to high pressure on the air conditioning.

Then check the pressure on your gauge. After a few minutes, equalize the pressure and record the accurate reading.

Q&A about Subaru Outback AC Compressor Not Turning On

1. How can I make my Subaru Outback ac colder?

First, you will need to park under a shade if possible and then use the reflective sunshade to cover the windshield after parking.
Close the entire vent in your car and except the one pointing towards you.  After that, give your system the last boost on the ac and check the performance.

2. Why is my Outback air condenser producing warm air?

If your car ac is producing warm air, there are several root causes. Sometimes, it can be a blown fuse, a leak, a clog on the expansion valve, or the compressor clutch.

3. What is the main cause of my Subaru Outback air conditioning system leaking?

Sometimes aging and an increase in moisture can be the main causes of your vehicle’s ac leak. Even though the rubber gaskets and their seals can wear out.
Normally, it pushes the refrigerant out of position from your Subaru Outback air conditioning system, leading to moisture paving its way into the internal parts of the air conditioner.

4. What are the common symptoms of a failing ac compressor?

First, you as the car’s owner should be able to understand the various signs and symptoms.
What you commonly experience during your driving time; are high cabin temperatures, louder noise from your vehicle, and the compressor clutch not moving.
In case you experience such behaviors then you should understand the issue in your car and try to resolve the issues.

5. How much would an ac compressor replacement on a Subaru Outback cost?

The total replacement expense for a new ac compressor would range from $1100 to $1400, but the prices vary depending on the shop and location.


If your Subaru Outback ac compressor not turning on, then you should consider servicing the air conditioning of your Outback, which helps in adding to the comfort of your car.

It is advisable to keep your car’s air conditioner fully operational to always adjust to the desired temperatures within your car.

Eventually, your ac does not work, your car will throw off the temperature regulation and adjustment.