Now that we're getting into the warmer months, the functionality of your air conditioning is going to become more and more important. The last thing you want is to be stuck without it on a hot summer day. Here's what to look out for, and ultimately replace, should something go wrong.
Air conditioning compressors on Volvos often fail due to bearing failure which causes a loud grinding noise. It's not only embarrassing, but if the bearing goes too long without being replaced it could seize up the A/C compressor causing engine damage. In some cases, I've even seen the serpentine belt get launched into the timing cover, wrapping itself in the timing components, shredding the timing belt causing catastrophic engine damage.
Unfortunately, the bearing isn't able to be serviced separately so the entire compressor will need to be replaced. The good news is that the job isn't too difficult and can be achieved without the need of a lift. The bad news is that you have to evacuate the system of refrigerant before doing the repair. Not only will this prevent potential injury and prevent O-zone depleting refrigerant from escaping into the atmosphere, it's also the law. You can bring the vehicle to a repair facility to evacuate the system before working on it, then bring the car back to have the system recharged once the work has been completed. Below is the type of machine needed to evacuate the refrigerant.