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Car Air Conditioning Cost


How Much Does Car Air Conditioning Cost?

 
low costMinor Repairs: $150-$800average costMajor Repairs: $1,000-$4,000+high costAdding Air Conditioning: $1,500-$4,000+
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Most auto air conditioners have five major components: the refrigerant carries the heat; the compressor draws in refrigerant, compresses it and moves it along; the condenser expels heat (like a car radiator); the expansion valve is a nozzle that regulates refrigerant flow; and the drier/evaporator cools the car by blowing hot interior air across the refrigerant. HowStuffWorks.com provides an automotive air conditioning overview[1] .

Typical costs:

  • Expect to pay $100-$300 to have a technician inspect and evaluate the air conditioner, including checking all hoses, belts and connections and then topping it off with fresh refrigerant, possibly with dye included to check for leaks, or (if the refrigerant is down significantly) recharging it by draining the old refrigerant and refilling it. There is no way for a technician to determine exactly how much refrigerant[2] is added to or drained from the system, so most shops charge the same flat fee for topping off or recharging; others have a fee for the labor and a separate fee for a set amount of refrigerant (typically two pounds) regardless of the actual amount used. CostHelper readers report paying $115-$260 to have their air conditioning checked and either topped off or recharged, at an average cost of $162.
  • If leaks are detected, it typically costs $150-$800 for minor repairs to a vehicle's air conditioning system and then recharging it. This generally includes replacing a few parts like hoses, sensors, or either the compressor or condenser. CostHelper readers report paying $171-$727 for minor air conditioning repairs, at an average cost of $488.
  • Extensive auto air conditioning repairs can cost $1,000-$4,000 or more, depending on make and model. This can include replacing many or all of the air conditioning system's parts -- compressor, condenser, hoses, sensors, belts, pressure switch and valves -- and then recharging the refrigerant. For cars built before 1995, the refrigerant will need to be converted to a type that meets current environmental requirements. CostHelper readers report costs of $1,000-$3,700 for major air conditioning repairs, with an average of $1,829.
  • Installing air conditioning in a vehicle that doesn't have any can cost $1,500-$4,000 or more, depending on location and the vehicle's year, make and model; luxury vehicles can cost even more. For example, Summit Racing Equipment sells complete air conditioning kits[3] for classic cars and trucks for $1,150-$1,395 for just the parts; installation by an experienced technician can take 12-22 hours at about $50-$100 an hour, bringing total costs to install those kits to $1,750-$3,595.
Related articles: Tune-up, Flushing a Transmission, Oil Change, Window Tinting, Radiator Flush, Replacing a Water Pump

What should be included:
  • Motor vehicle air conditioning repairs are governed by federal and state environmental regulations, and must be done by a certified technician using specialized equipment. The Environmental Protection Agency explains how automotive air conditioning affects climate change[4] .
  • Repairs typically involve locating and stopping leaks; it can be tricky to find a small, slow leak in a hard-to-reach area, so it sometimes requires several attempts to fix the system. The EPA discusses the difference between topping off and recharging[5] and DriverSide.com explains the typical steps for servicing auto air conditioning[6] .
  • To add an air conditioning system to a vehicle that doesn't have one, installation typically includes cutting through the firewall, replacing the heater core, installing new under-hood components, modifying the dashboard and adapting the existing ventilation controls.
Additional costs:
  • For vehicles built before 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates it can cost $100-$800 to convert from using CFC-12 refrigerant (brand name Freon)[7] to an approved substitute, depending on the make, model and age of the vehicle. However, if the conversion is done with other repair work, the EPA estimates it will add less than $200 to the total cost. The use of CFC-12 is not banned, but it is no longer manufactured in the US because it depletes the ozone layer and there are dwindling supplies of CFC-12 available.
Discounts:
  • Do-it-yourselfers can refresh an aging auto air conditioning system by topping if off with a recharge kit that typically costs about $40-$60. CNET[8] reviews the A/C Pro system, calling it a good DIY first step before consulting a mechanic.
Shopping for car air conditioning:
  • Montgomery County, MD explains what to expect[9] from auto air conditioning servicing and repairs.
  • Air conditioning repairs are available from car dealerships; automotive care chains like Firestone[10] , Midas[11] , Meinecke[12] or Sears[13] ; or at independent repair shops. Search the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence[14] or the International Automotive Technicians Network[15] for local repair shops.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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AC was cool not cold
Amount: $15.95
Posted by: Ruger in Pleasanton, TX.Posted: September 12th, 2019 07:09PM
Make: HyundaiModel: Elantra
Shop: NAPA
Replaced the cabin air filter and now it blows cold again. Youtube your make and model to see instructions for the DIYer.
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AC repair
Amount: $847.56
Posted by: Frustrated mom in Abbeville, SC.Posted: August 20th, 2019 03:08PM
Make: DodgeModel: Dakota 2003
Shop: Dependant auto
AC was blowing only cool air not cold. Took driving 15 miles before cabin of truck cooled down. Mechanic thought it just needed freon but that was not the case. It needed the whole new system. My price paid is not nearly as expensive as others listed here. Work was done by a certified mechanic that is very good and backs up his work.
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AC Repair
Amount: $1,500.00
Posted by: a user in Houston, TX.Posted: August 19th, 2019 11:08AM
Make: FordModel: 2009 Fusion
Shop: Russell & Smith
I went to an official Ford service location to fix the AC in my car. The staff there fixed it but I regret now that I paid 1500 just to fix a leaking issue. The parts they installed are new condenser, condenser to fender line and low side charge port valve. 675$ parts + 824$ labor.
I wish that I had taken to another auto service before paying 1500$ "just" to fix the AC in my car.
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replacing AC compressor
Amount: $400.00
Posted by: a user in oklahoma, OK.Posted: August 1st, 2019 11:08AM
Make: 2003Model: Honda Accord
whats a reasonable price for the labor?
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Replace the A-C
Amount: $1,900.00
Posted by: Demodex in EDINBURG, TX.Posted: June 18th, 2019 01:06PM
Make: 2007 ToyotaModel: Corolla
Shop: Pueblo Tires
Where I live, a person can't exist without a working A-C unit in the car. I tried, but finally decided I needed to do something. Someone recommended Pueblo Tires, and I'm glad they did. They're replacing the whole thing for $1900 parts and labor, and I'm also replacing my tires since they're almost six years old. I feel like I am dealing with some honest mechanics for a change. That's a good feeling.
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2 Hours Diagnostics $144
Amount: $144.00
Posted by: honda drriver in CAmpbell, CA.Posted: July 26th, 2018 04:07AM
Shop: Stevens Creek Honda
It's a weekend during a heat wave so of course my car AC stops working. The AC light went green when I turn the air dial, but no air came out, so I figured it was the fan. After poking around the Internet, I figured I should just take it to a dealer.
Anyway, it turned out a cable had come loose so just tightening it fixed the problem, although they claimed it took them 2 hour of diagnostics to figure that out.
They charged me $160 with 10% off for a "mature car" discount (cars over 90k miles have a coupon on their website). Seemed pretty steep to me, but at least the prices for the other work was good, and the 2 hours did also include fixing some other small items (like replacing a knob that had broken).
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Average cost
Amount: $1,396.00
Posted by: One hot soul in Greer, SC.Posted: June 22nd, 2018 08:06AM
Shop: Firestone
Compressor on Ford Expedition 2004 went out, compressor, dryer, and labor.
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AC not blowing hot
Amount: $448.00
Posted by: MATTHEW VAUGHN in MCKINNEY, TX.Posted: June 10th, 2018 01:06PM
Make: NissanModel: Altima 2007
Shop: Firestone
AC is not fixed still blowing hot air. $450.00 totally ripped off by Firestone, they added the coolant and said they tightened the hose and did a test total rip off the car is not fixed. Please please please do not use Firestone.
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1998 Honda Accord Air Conditioning
Amount: $1,400.00
Posted by: madge in Sugar Land, TX.Posted: June 3rd, 2018 04:06PM
Make: HondaModel: Accord LX
Shop: First Tire & Auto - Greatwood
They replaced the air conditioning in one day of giving me a quote. Not sure if I paid a reasonable price or not but the service was performed well.
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Complete AC kit work done on a 2006 Ford Freestyle
Amount: $970.00
Posted by: Susan Hetrick in AZLE, TX.Posted: May 28th, 2018 07:05AM
Shop: Private mechanic
He did a awesome job as far as I am concerned. It took him a long day to fix it .Temps were hot and he was in a non air conditioned shop.
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2004 chevy Tahoe belt repair on AC
Amount: $220.00
Posted by: K Robinson in Apex, NC.Posted: May 25th, 2018 09:05AM
Make: ChevyModel: Tahoe
Shop: GMP Automotive
Replaced AC tensioner belt, and refreshed refrigerant
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2007 camry a/c condensor leak
Amount: $2,600.00
Posted by: robert martin in Mobile, AL.Posted: March 10th, 2017 10:03AM
Make: toyotaModel: camry
Shop: palmer's (dealer)
Said my condenser was dead/leaking. to repair was $2,600 most of which was labor because they have to tear the dash apart
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Replace lines in my Toyota
Amount: $1,100.00
Posted by: Keith 5352 in Upper Darby, PA.Posted: August 17th, 2016 08:08AM
Shop: Havertown
Need to replace all my lines and tubes for my ac unit. Is this seem like a fair price for parts and labor.
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Insulation of a new AC Compressor in a car
Amount: $490.00
Posted by: Earl McDowell in Brooklyn, NY.Posted: August 17th, 2016 04:08AM
Shop: Auto Repair Shop
Is that a fair price?
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A/C 1998 subaru legacy wagon
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: barbara koch in TOWSON, MD.Posted: July 18th, 2016 09:07AM
Make: 1998 subaruModel: legacy
no a/c good car has 105,000 miles just need last kid to use for senior year college. just did brake job tires.... blowing hot air tried charging did not work do not want to spend a fortune have appointment with a/c car shop this week How much??? looking for best advice.
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Diagnostics and Refrigerant Recharged
Amount: $141.00
Posted by: Debbie Lai in Sebring, FL.Posted: July 10th, 2016 07:07AM
Make: HondaModel: Civic
Shop: Tire Kingdom
2009 Honda Civic: They tested with dye and no leak noted, recharged and told to run a/c on high to force to see if there is a change in temperature and if so there may be a leak. Bring back if needed and they'll run extensive leak tests.
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2004 Ford Taurus
Amount: $215.00
Posted by: Handlegrip.. in Las Vegas, NV.Posted: September 12th, 2015 02:09PM
Shop: Me auto care
Air conditioner speed working. Compressor would not even kick on. Freon got to low. They did Lube and dye to check for leaks. Remove and replacedo what freon was in the system.
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AC do-it-yourself
Amount: $394.00
Posted by: If they can do it I can in Lorton, VA.Posted: August 20th, 2015 08:08PM
Make: FordModel: Mustang
Shop: Tree in driveway
Replaced all O rings,flushed system, brought vacuum and manifold gauges $99 dollars, accumulator $28.00, O rings $10.00 Amazon. Compressor $130.00 had Pep Boys coupon, eBay liquid line $28.00, Advance Auto 134a oil and refrigerant $ 50.00, flush kit $19.00 and dye $10.00. Misc $20.00 gloves etc. Advance and Pep Boys takes 20-40% off if ordered online. If you borrow the vacuum and gauges subtract $99.00.
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A/C Repair
Amount: $1,300.00
Posted by: Stu in Harker Height, TX.Posted: July 23rd, 2015 12:07PM
Shop: Precision Tune-Harker Heights,TX
A/C finally gave out on my old'99 Ram 1500. Would cool when it wanted to, and not so much sometimes. The shop found a small leak at a service valve, and a pressure switch, then recharged the system. $300 Not bad for cool air. But it shortly stopped working again. The shop determined it was a bad compressor ( and other associated components ) Add $900. Ouch. But Texas summers require A/C, and the nice folks at the shop made the experience tolerable, and my old truck inhabitable. Overall not to bad, based on other comments here. My Precision Tune shop has done a lot of work for me, and I have always been satisfied
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ML320 2002, AC repair, Ontario
Amount: $0.00
Posted by: a user in Burlington, Other.Posted: May 2nd, 2015 12:05PM
Make: MercedesModel: ML320, 2002
There was nothing wrong with system only Refrigerant needed to be added; two capsules, cost me $100...
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External Resources:
  1.  auto.howstuffworks.com/automotive-air-conditioning3.htm
  2.  www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/recharge.html#q2
  3.  www.summitracing.com/search/part-type/air-conditioning-kits
  4.  www.epa.gov/appdstar/pdf/maccppfinal.pdf
  5.  www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/recharge.html#q1
  6.  www.driverside.com/auto-library/whats_involved_in_servicing_your_cars_air_conditio...
  7.  www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/wantknow.html#q1
  8.  reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57478304-48/a-c-pro-recharge-kit-a-diy-fix-for-aging...
  9.  www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/ocptmpl.asp?url=/content/ocp/consumer/air_cond_repairs...
  10.  www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/maintain/acservice.jsp
  11.  www.midas.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx
  12.  www.meineke.com/services/acondition.aspx
  13.  www.sears.com/nbsp-air-conditioning-system-recharge/p-09051022000P
  14.  www.ase.com/Landing-Pages/Car-Owners/Find-a-Repair-Shop/Shop-Locator.aspx
  15.  autorepair.iatn.net/
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