How to Repair Bent Air Conditioner Compressor Fins

It’s important that the aluminum cooling fins on an air conditioner compressor are straight and even to allow the unit to cool efficiently. If the fins on your AC are bent:

  • Slightly Bent Fins: Run a stiff, plastic, bristle brush back and forth to straighten fins that are partially bent.
  • Badly Bent Fins: Use a putty knife to straighten badly bent fins, being careful not to break or damage the fins.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: There aren’t many repairs a homeowner can make to a central air conditioning system, but here is one. When the compressor gets damaged on the outside the metal fins get crushed like this. It’s important to straighten them out. And here’s one way, with a stiff bristle plastic brush. This one’s made for cleaning tile and grout.

What you need to do is just run the brush up and down the fins using quite a bit of pressure. You’d be surprised you need quite a bit of pressure to straighten these out, even though they’re only aluminum. And this is important because we want air to go completely through these. There we go. That’s better already, after just a few minutes.

It takes three or four minutes to get them all the way straightened out. Now, it’s never going to be perfect, but you can straighten them out so that at least it’s operating pretty efficiently.

Now, if you find any fins that are completely crushed you can very carefully straighten them out with a putty knife. But, again, be careful because you don’t want to damage the fins.


  1. My repairman brought a replacement coil to my home that had a lot of bent fins. The Trane part was a replacement for a coil less than 2 years old – still under warranty. Is it usual for a brand new coil to have bent fins? I know they can be combed out, but I would expect a new part to be pristine.

    • Hi, Kathy!
      Coils’ fins often bend over time due to lots of wear and tear. However, a customer might expect a new coil’s fins to be in shape. We recommend contacting the supplier and asking them about the fins’ condition and if there are options to replace it.
      Thanks for your question.


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