If your car’s AC isn’t working correctly, it could be due to a faulty compressor. If so, you must replace the compressor for the AC to function properly again. But how much does it cost to replace a car air conditioner compressor?
On average, car AC compressor replacement costs $800-$1100. This cost may increase if it’s a high-end vehicle. Also, the price may increase if the technician charges a high rate, the local taxes are high, or the replacement is not readily available.
This article will examine the average cost of replacing a car AC compressor. I’ll also discuss some of the symptoms that may indicate a problem with your compressor.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Car AC Compressor?
The price of replacing an AC compressor may vary based on where you get the work done and the type of car you have, among other things.
It costs between $800 and $1100 to replace a car AC compressor. Generally, this includes the labor and parts prices. Labor costs range from $160 to $210, while parts prices typically range from $640 to $890.
Nonetheless, a few other factors can affect the price of a car AC compressor replacement. These include:
- The type of car: Replacement costs are typically higher for luxury cars. Besides the higher purchase price of the vehicle, labor and parts are also more expensive for pricier vehicles.
- The brand of car: Certain cars have compressors that are harder to find or more expensive. For instance, a replacement compressor for a Mercedes will likely be more expensive than one for a Honda.
- The car’s age: Older cars may require more specialized or difficult-to-find parts, resulting in a higher cost for replacement.
- The location: Certain areas of the country may have higher labor or parts costs. This is often due to regulatory factors like taxes or minimum wage rates.
- The technician’s skill level: A less skilled technician may charge a lower rate, but the job may take longer and could potentially result in further damage to the AC unit.
Pro Tip: Replacing a car’s AC compressor is a big job, and it’s not something that most people can do on their own. If you’re thinking about replacing your compressor, it’s best to consult with a mechanic to get an accurate estimate of the repair costs.
Is It Worth Replacing the Compressor on an AC Unit?
It is worth replacing the compressor on an AC unit if it breaks down often. Although the repair cost may seem negligible, it accumulates long-term, becoming more expensive. To avoid this, it is best to replace the compressor when it breaks down.
The compressor is a crucial part of your AC unit and it may wear down over time. If the compressor fails after years of use or keeps breaking down, I recommend buying a new one. Generally, a new unit is more energy-efficient than an older one, and it will likely last longer, too.
The only instances where I’d recommend a repair instead of a replacement include:
- The compressor is still under warranty: If the manufacturer’s warranty still covers the compressor, it’s usually best to have it repaired or replaced by the company.
- The compressor is in good condition: If it is relatively new and in good condition, it may be worth repairing it instead of replacing it. This is especially true if you have identified the specific component of the compressor that requires repair and are confident that repairing is a practical long-term solution.
- You can’t find a replacement immediately: If you can’t find a replacement compressor right away, you may have to wait a while before getting the unit fixed. In this case, it’s best to repair the current one. Schedule an appointment and replace the compressor as soon as you find the replacement.
How Can I Tell if My AC Compressor Is Bad?
To tell if your car AC compressor is bad, watch out for loud noises and leaking fluid from the compressor. Additionally, if the AC is blowing hot air or the circuit breaker keeps tripping, this is also a bad sign.
Any of these signs could potentially point to a broken AC compressor, so you will have to think about replacing or repairing it.
The Compressor Makes a Loud Noise
Generally, your car’s AC compressor should be relatively quiet. If you hear a loud noise when you turn the unit on, it may be a sign that the compressor is broken or malfunctioning.
A compressor may break down due to wear and tear, age, overheating, or other factors. If you think your compressor is making too much noise, it’s best to have it checked out by a mechanic.
The Compressor Leaks Fluid
If the AC unit is leaking fluid, the compressor is likely bad. When a compressor fails, it often leaks oil or refrigerant fluid. This can damage the unit and may even cause a fire.
Note: If you see fluid leaking from your AC unit, it’s best to immediately turn it off and call a mechanic.
The AC Blows Hot Air
If the AC is blowing hot air, the compressor is likely broken. When a compressor fails, it often prevents the refrigerant from reaching the condenser. As a result, the AC unit will blow hot air instead of cold air.
Because of that, you may notice that your car’s cabin feels abnormally warm when you turn the AC on. If you’re experiencing this problem, it’s best to have the compressor checked by a mechanic.
The Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
If the circuit breaker for your AC unit keeps tripping, there is likely too much load on the compressor. This means that the compressor is working too hard to cool down the car and is at risk of burning out.
If the circuit breaker is tripping often, it’s best to have the compressor checked by a mechanic. You may need a new compressor if the old one is too worn down.
Car AC Maintenance Tips
Preventive maintenance is key to keeping your car’s AC unit in good condition. By keeping your unit in the best shape, you avoid the hassles and costs that come with a failed compressor.
Here are 5 tips for maintaining your AC unit:
Replace the Air Filter Regularly
A dirty air filter can restrict airflow and reduce the efficiency of your AC unit. As a result, the compressor will have to work harder to cool down the car, which can cause the circuit breaker to trip.
Therefore, you should replace the air filter at least every 9,000 – 18,000 miles (15,000 – 30,000 km). This helps ensure that your AC unit runs smoothly and doesn’t require too much power from the compressor.
Keep the Coils Clean
The coils in your AC unit need to be clean to function properly. If they get dirty, the compressor will have to work harder to cool down the car.
You can clean the coils yourself or have a mechanic do it for you. To do it yourself, follow these steps:
- Turn off the AC unit and remove the filter.
- Use a soft bristle brush to clean the coils.
- Reinstall the filter.
Caution: Avoid using a hard bristle or wire brush, as this can damage the coils.
Check the Refrigerant Level
If the refrigerant level is too low, the compressor will have to work harder to cool down the car. Therefore, you may have to recharge the AC from time to time.
To recharge your AC, follow these steps:
- Turn off the AC unit and remove the filter.
- Open the hood of your car and locate the AC compressor.
- The low-pressure side of the AC system will have a Schrader valve.
- Attach the hose from your recharging kit to the Schrader valve.
- Turn on the recharging kit and wait for the compressor to start.
- Once the compressor starts, let it run for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the recharging kit and remove the hose.
- Reinstall the filter.
Here’s an excellent demo you should watch before recharging your AC:
Note: AC systems are built to retain a constant refrigerant level. If your refrigerant is low, the chances are that there’s another problem causing it to leak out of the system. Therefore, you should call a professional to help diagnose the problem as soon as possible.
Run the AC at Least Once a Week for 10 Minutes
If you don’t use your AC unit often, it can become rusty and clogged with debris. To prevent this, you should run the AC at least once a week for 10 minutes. This will help keep the coils and other parts of the unit clean. Running the AC frequently also lets you know if there are any problems with the unit.
Get a Professional AC Tune-Up Annually
A professional AC tune-up will help keep your AC unit running smoothly. During a tune-up, a mechanic or HVAC technician will check all the parts of the unit and make sure they’re in good condition.
If any parts are worn down, the mechanic can replace them before they cause bigger problems. By getting a tune-up annually, you can avoid the hassle and cost of a failed compressor.
Tip: Besides following these guidelines, I recommend getting this AUTOPHIX Universal OBD2 Scanner. It’s a great and highly versatile tool for troubleshooting car problems and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Read: Why Car Overheats?
A car’s AC compressor is an important part of the cooling system. If it fails, the car can overheat quickly. If you’re experiencing problems with your AC compressor, the best thing to do is to have it checked by a mechanic. In most cases, the compressor can be repaired or replaced at a reasonable cost.
However, preventive maintenance is key to keeping your AC unit in good condition. By following the tips listed above, you can avoid the inconvenience of a failed compressor.