I need help please. I know nothing about cars.
This is my first time using this forum with the hope that I will get the right diagnosis. I drive a Camry 2007 LE, 4 cylinders(133k miles), and in the past three weeks my AC suddenly stopped blowing cold air, only hot air. I have a friend who checked my Freon level looking for any gas leakage, but it wasn't the case. While driving recently, a very annoying grinding noise is coming out of the hood. I checked the source and asked a mechanic and he said that my AC compressor needs to be replaced. The noise is coming off the compressor and the belt area.However, I am not convinced that the compressor itself should be replaced. The annoying grinding noise that I am talking about happens when my AC is off. Well, of course the noise gets louder when I turn the AC on, but isn't this the case in any normal functioning car. The grinding sound starts as soon as I start my engine, even when the ac is turned off. Do you guys think that the compressor needs to be replaced or are there any other tests that I can run to detect if its the compressor that's malfunctioning. I am sorry if my assumption is wrong. I am a medical student and I know nothing about cars, so I hope I can get some help from you guys.I jumped into this forum because I don't want to replace my compressor before being sure that it is the source of the problem. BTW, I live in Texas and it is extremely hot at this time, in case it is relevant.
Thank you in advance,