What is the Average Cost to Fix an AC in a Car?

If your car air conditioning system isn’t as cold as it should be, it’s time to do something about it before you get too uncomfortable. What is the cost of replacing an AC unit in your car? Repair costs can be affected by many factors.

This guide will cover all aspects of AC repair and associated costs. The signs that you air conditioner system is in need of repair are also discussed. Finally, you will find the best tips and tricks to keep your air conditioning running at peak performance. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. How much does it cost to fix an AC problem in your car?
    1. 1. AC System Leak
    2. 2. Filter for clogged cabin
    3. 3. AC Compressor Faulty
    4. 4. Failure of Mechanical Parts
  2. Car Air Conditioning System: How Long Can It Last?
  3. Signs it’s Time to Have the AC System Serviced
  4. Maintaining your car's AC system

How much does it cost to fix an AC problem in your car?

You can expect to pay between $10 and $1,000 to fix a car’s AC. For a simple refrigerant recharge, it could cost as low as $10. You can also do this work yourself. You could spend up to $1,000 if you have to replace components or need an expert mechanic.

Below is more information about what repair work can be performed to your AC system.

1. AC System Leak

It’s possible that the system is just low on refrigerant. This is the easiest and cheapest problem to solve. You can get Freon at $10 or less if you are able to use the tools and gauges to charge the system.

Low refrigerant levels could mean that there's a problem. As a closed system, refrigerant shouldn’t be able to leak out more than an ounce per year. As the hoses and clamps get older, it’s possible for them to wear and break. 

A special UV dye can be used to locate the source of the problem. You can inject the dye into your system to find the cause of the leak using the supplied glasses. 

Before you can charge the system, you must fix any leaks that you discover. The cost of fixing a leak at the O-ring is minimal. Repairs to some parts can cost as high as $500. Either way, you don’t want to let a leak persist because it’s bad for the environment and it can lead to damage to the compressor.

2. Filter for clogged cabin

You might not relate the cabin air filter to the temperature in the car, but it’s important to evaluate. Filter clogging could occur if air temperatures rise. A clogged filter won’t let the right amount of airflow through the system. It is possible to prevent a blocked filter from forming by replacing it frequently. It is recommended that you replace it between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. 

Again, this fix isn’t expensive and can be done in your home garage with virtually no tools. The cost of a new cabin filter could be anywhere from $10-25. The process of removing the blockage and installing the filter should take only a few moments. If you can’t do it on your own, you might need to spend an hour for labor. 

READ MORE: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Cabin Air Filter (& Replacement Cost)

3. AC Compressor Faulty

Although there are many parts that could go wrong, most commonly the compressor that cools the air conditioner is what fails. The compressor will stop cooling the air and shut down the ventilation system. When the compressor is switched on, it can produce unusual sounding sounds. 

Many people don’t have the expertise to work on the compressor. This compressor is difficult to replace, and requires special tools. For the compressor you can expect to spend between $100-250 and labor could cost anywhere from $250-$750. 

READ MORE: 6 Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor (& Replacement Cost)

4. Failure of Mechanical Parts

The air conditioner system is made up of many parts. While the compressor is the most likely to fail, you can’t overlook that one of the others has gone bad. It’s possible for the condenser and evaporator to fail as well. A blower motor can also go out and cause lack of air flow. 

Any mechanical problem requires that the part be repaired or replaced by professionals. It all depends on which car you have and the part to be replaced. You can easily spend as much as $1,000. 

RELATED: 5 Symptoms of a Bad Car A/C Condenser (& Replacement Cost)

Car Air Conditioning System: How Long Can It Last?

It is important to understand how long parts will last when you are driving a car. The oil is already changed, the tires rotated and the brakes checked. The time your air conditioner will last is not discussed.

In most cases, it’s normal to need a refrigerant recharge every couple of years. Some choose to have their AC system checked every year before the heat sets in. This inspection usually costs around $100, but will give you the peace of mind that you can cool down your cabin. A professional inspection will check the levels of refrigerant and evaluate all the important components. 

Hoses may fail after years of continuous use. Compressors are also susceptible to failure. They typically last eight-ten years. However, it will fail prematurely if you don’t take care of the air conditioning system or you run it with low refrigerant. 

Signs it’s Time to Have the AC System Serviced

When the air from your system gets warmer than normal, this is an indication that there is something wrong. It can occur slowly, or abruptly depending on which part has failed. If parts stop working, it is possible to smell odd odors.

If you notice any odd sounds or grinding, it is important to get your air conditioner serviced. If you find any worn parts or damaged hoses, it is important to act immediately. 

Related: Car AC not blowing cold air? Common Causes (& How to Fix)

Maintaining your car's AC system

The best way to ensure that your car’s air conditioning system continues running as it should is to perform regular maintenance. Many people don’t think the air conditioning system should be checked often, but it needs to be included with your regularly scheduled maintenance.

These are some ways to make sure your AC works at its peak.

  • The air conditioner should be used at least once a week. It’s best to keep it running for at least ten minutes at the highest speed and coldest setting. This is a simple way to keep gas pressure high.
  • Each week you can set the defrost setting. It only takes about 5 minutes to turn it on each week. This will help to remove moisture from the air and reduce mildew.
  • Winter is the best time to use air conditioners. Even when it’s cold outside, you can turn on the air conditioner to remove moisture and humidity from the air.
  • The system should be charged as needed. To protect your compressor, check the air conditioner every other year.
  • As soon as you notice signs of trouble, get your air conditioner repaired. If you allow the problem to continue, it could lead to other problems that are more costly. 

With your attention to detail, it’s easy to keep the air conditioning running its best, ensuring that you get the cold air you need, just when it’s desired the most.

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