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RV AC Compressor Starts Then Stops

When you’re on a road trip in your RV, a functional air conditioning system is crucial to keep you comfortable and cool.

However, encountering an issue where the RV AC compressor starts and then stops can be frustrating and put a damper on your travel plans.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the common causes behind this problem and provide you with practical troubleshooting steps and solutions to get your RV AC compressor running smoothly again.

Let’s dive in and explore the world of RV AC compressors!

RV AC Compressor Starts Then Stops: What Does It Indicate?

A malfunctioning RV AC compressor that starts and then stops can be indicative of various underlying issues.

Before we proceed further, it’s important to understand the role of the AC compressor in your RV’s cooling system.

The AC compressor is responsible for compressing the refrigerant gas, which plays a vital role in cooling the air inside your RV.

When the compressor fails to operate correctly, it hampers the overall cooling performance, leading to insufficient cooling or no cooling at all.

Common Causes of RV AC Compressor Starting and Stopping

Understanding the common causes behind the RV AC compressor starting and stopping is essential in troubleshooting and resolving the issue effectively.

Let’s explore the possible culprits that can lead to this problem:

Low Refrigerant Levels

One of the primary reasons for an RV AC compressor to start and stop is low refrigerant levels.

Refrigerant acts as a heat transfer medium, absorbing heat from the air inside your RV and releasing it outside.

When the refrigerant levels are low, the compressor may struggle to maintain the desired cooling temperature, resulting in intermittent operation.

To check the refrigerant levels, it’s recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek assistance from a qualified RV technician.

Adding refrigerant should only be performed by a professional to ensure proper handling and prevent damage to the system.

Faulty Thermostat

A faulty thermostat can also contribute to the problem of the RV AC compressor starting and stopping.

The thermostat regulates the temperature by sending signals to the compressor, instructing it to start or stop based on the set temperature.

If the thermostat malfunctions, it may send incorrect signals or fail to communicate with the compressor effectively, causing erratic operation.

To determine if the thermostat is the culprit, you can try resetting it or replacing it with a new one.

Consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek professional assistance to ensure proper installation and compatibility.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues, such as loose connections, damaged wiring, or a faulty capacitor, can disrupt the smooth operation of the RV AC compressor.

These issues can lead to intermittent starting and stopping of the compressor or complete system failure.

It’s crucial to inspect the electrical components and connections for any signs of damage or loose connections.

If you are comfortable working with electrical systems, you can check for loose connections and tighten them securely.

However, for complex electrical repairs or component replacements, it’s advisable to seek professional help to prevent any mishaps and ensure your safety.


Overheating is another common cause of an RV AC compressor starting and stopping.

When the compressor becomes too hot, it automatically shuts off to prevent damage and allows time for cooling.

Overheating can occur due to various reasons, such as insufficient airflow, a clogged condenser, or a faulty fan motor.

To address overheating issues, you can start by cleaning the condenser and ensuring proper airflow around the unit.

Remove any debris or obstructions that may hinder the cooling process.

If the problem persists, it’s advisable to consult a professional technician to diagnose and resolve the issue accurately.

Compressor Clutch Issues

The compressor clutch is responsible for engaging and disengaging the compressor as required.

If the compressor clutch malfunctions or becomes damaged, it can result in the RV AC compressor starting and stopping abruptly.

Signs of a faulty compressor clutch include unusual noises, grinding sounds, or excessive wear.

Inspecting the compressor clutch for any visible signs of damage or wear is the first step.

If you notice any issues, it’s best to consult a professional technician who can assess the situation and recommend the appropriate repair or replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can low voltage cause the RV AC compressor to start and stop?

Low voltage can indeed contribute to the problem of the RV AC compressor starting and stopping. Insufficient voltage can prevent the compressor from running consistently, leading to intermittent operation or complete shutdown. It’s crucial to ensure that your RV is receiving an adequate power supply to avoid voltage-related issues.

How can I prevent my RV AC compressor from overheating?

To prevent your RV AC compressor from overheating, you can take several preventive measures. Ensure that the condenser is clean and free from debris. Keep the area around the unit clear for proper airflow. Regularly inspect and maintain the fan motor to ensure it is functioning correctly. Additionally, monitoring the refrigerant levels and addressing any leaks promptly can help prevent overheating.

Is it safe to attempt DIY repairs for an RV AC compressor issue?

While minor troubleshooting and maintenance tasks can be performed by RV owners, it’s essential to prioritize your safety and the proper functioning of your RV. Complex repairs or component replacements should be left to qualified technicians who have the knowledge and expertise to handle the intricacies of the AC system. DIY repairs without the necessary experience may lead to further damage or personal injury.

How often should I have my RV AC system serviced?

Regular maintenance and servicing of your RV AC system are crucial for its optimal performance and longevity. It’s recommended to have your AC system serviced at least once a year or as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Routine inspections, cleaning, and troubleshooting can help identify potential issues early on and prevent major breakdowns during your travels.

Are there any eco-friendly alternatives for RV air conditioning?

Yes, there are eco-friendly alternatives available for RV air conditioning. One such option is solar-powered air conditioning systems. These systems utilize solar energy to power the AC, reducing reliance on traditional power sources and minimizing environmental impact. However, it’s important to assess your power needs and consult with professionals to determine the feasibility and compatibility of solar-powered AC systems for your RV.

How can I improve the energy efficiency of my RV AC system?

To improve the energy efficiency of your RV AC system, you can follow these tips:

  • Ensure proper insulation in your RV to minimize heat transfer.
  • Use window coverings to block direct sunlight and reduce heat gain.
  • Keep doors and windows tightly sealed to prevent air leaks.
  • Opt for energy-efficient AC units with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings.
  • Set the thermostat to an optimal temperature and avoid extreme cooling.
  • Regularly clean or replace air filters to maintain optimal airflow.


Dealing with an RV AC compressor that starts and then stops can be a frustrating experience.

However, armed with the knowledge provided in this guide, you now have a better understanding of the common causes behind this issue and the steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve it.

Remember to prioritize your safety and consult professionals when necessary.

With a well-functioning AC system, you can embark on your RV adventures with peace of mind, knowing that you’ll stay cool and comfortable throughout your journey.