Why does my car shake when I turn on AC

In a car, when you turn on the air conditioner, it is normal for the vehicle to shake because of the weight and power needed to cool down your vehicle. However, if your vehicle is not in proper shape or in good working order, turning on the AC may make your car even worse and unsafe for driving.

Understanding why car shakes?

The reason why does my car shake when I turn on ac? Well, before we answer that, let us first understand how an air-conditioning system works:

An air conditioning system has two types of cooling systems:

  1. A compressor that brings up the pressure and temperature of refrigerant within coils.
  2. A condenser where heat is released after refrigerant passes through coils.

An expansion valve that reduces the pressure of refrigerant to allow it to evaporate into gas for cooling purposes

A car air-conditioning system consists of all these parts. It extracts hot air out from within the car and pumps cold air back in through your vehicle’s ventilation system. This makes it very essential to your vehicle, making your vehicle cool down especially if you are inside a hot desert or place where there is no natural wind that could give you some sort of breeze.

Today, cars have sophisticated AC systems that can work without problems even during extreme conditions, but sometimes errors do happen and the AC just stops working for some reason. One possible reason why does my car shake when I turn on ac? Well, it could be because the car has low refrigerant levels.

Other reasons why does my car shake when I turn on ac include:

  1. Car’s AC compressor is malfunctioning or is not working
  2. Air conditioning belt is loose or broken
  3. The fan that cools down components in your vehicle may have stopped working, making your engine run hot and consequently, causing your air conditioning to fail as well. This happens more if you are using air conditioning frequently. It is also possible for this problem to occur even with a high level of refrigerant within the system. Engine misfiring can cause vibration especially if the engine rattles before shaking intermittently while turning on the AC.

Possible Fix to AC Shake

If your car shakes when you turn on the AC, try to check if there are any problems with your vehicle’s air conditioning system. Check if the compressor runs or not and if it does run, check for any leakages in your air conditioner. The rubber seals may have deteriorated over time because of heat exposure which causes gas to escape from the system. You can try to ask a mechanic whether or not you need a recharge or a complete replacement of the entire system.


Bear in mind that checking the accuracy of your car’s AC is one way of knowing whether or not something is wrong with it when you turn on ac. However, this isn’t always 100%. In many cases, turning on the AC could cause a slight vibration or shake, but it is nothing worrisome at all. You can do a series of tests to know if the problem lies with your vehicle’s air-conditioning system as well as other components within your car.