AC Compressor Replacement Cost

Fixing an AC compressor is easier said than done because it has a lot of moving parts to it. For those who don’t know, a compressor is the main working unit in an AC. It can wear down with age, leading to an expensive repair. Of course, it can be remedied with an easy procedure too.

For instance, if it’s only the clutch of the AC compressor that needs to be fixed and not the compressor itself, you can get away by spending only a few hundred dollars. In such a scenario, you can take a minute or two to admire your luck. If it’s determined that the compressor needs a replacement, then the cost will increase by many folds.

Now, we hear you saying that’s exactly you don’t wish for. But, if the unthinkable happens, do you know the cost that you will incur? Let’s discuss the cost.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace The AC Compressor?

The cost of replacing an AC compressor would vary a lot, depending on the model of your car because some cars make it extremely difficult to change the compressor, which bumps up the labor cost. Of course, whether you repair it yourself or take it to a repair shop would also alter the price quite a bit.

Not to mention that dealers usually charge more than independent shop owners because of the quality of service they offer. To give you a general idea over here, the cost of replacing a compressor would vary from $400 to $1500, depending on the reasons outlined above.

Auto CenterPrice
$400 – $1200
Pep Boys
$450 – $1300
Your Mechanic
$500 – $1500
Midas$600 – $1400

Should You Repair or Replace an AC compressor?

Generally speaking, an AC compressor can easily last for eight to ten years. Basically, it can last for the entire lifespan of your vehicle. So, before installing a new unit, it helps to investigate what caused it to fail in the first place. An experienced mechanic will be able to isolate the part that is causing the problem to have it fixed, saving you the trouble of replacing the compressor itself. So, not all compressor issues are bound to be catastrophic.

What’s also worth pointing out over here is that AC parts have gotten quite expensive over the years. So, there is a likelihood that the cost of repair would exceed the cost of an AC compressor replacement.

Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to go for a repair work over here. In such cases, most shop owners would simply install a new AC compressor rather than attempting a complex repair that would cost an arm and a leg.

How Will You Know of AC Compressor Faults?

The fact that an AC compressor has a lot of moving parts to it, a lot can go wrong in the middle of an ordinary driving day. If you hear noise coming out of your AC compressor, it could be an indication that something is not right. Some parts of the compressor could have been deprived of the care they deserved.

Basically, insufficient lubrication can dry up the internal parts and components, causing the AC compressor to make a squeaking noise. A poor cooling system is another sign of a failing compressor, where you will notice the AC blowing hot air as opposed to cold air.

What is the AC Compressor Replacement Procedure?

  • Changing a compressor requires a high level of practice. It’s usually done by someone who has the right knowledge and tools by his side because most of the parts are usually sealed or located internally.
    First and foremost, a specialist will troubleshoot the problem to see if it’s a mechanical lockup, refrigerator leak, or some other issue.
  • If the car mechanic is able to isolate the part that’s causing the issue, he will start working on fixing or replacing the problematic part.
  • If the compressor itself is found to be faulty, then the mechanic will have a lot of work to do. The mechanic will usually start by draining all the refrigerant from the system.
  • Then, he will remove the old compressor, rubber O-ring, expansion value, and the receiver drier from the system. Any foreign material and debris will also be removed from the system.
  • Finally, the new compression will be installed. If needed, a new receiver dryer and orifice tube will also be fitted. These steps will take care of the AC compressor installation process.
  • Once everything is done, the car will be turned on, and the engine will be allowed to run for five minutes. Then the car’s AC will be turned on to its maximum capacity to inspect whether or not everything is working fine.

How Long Does It Take to Replace an AC Compressor?

Generally speaking, it takes no more than four to six hours to replace an AC compressor properly, depending on how easy or difficult it is to access the compressor in your car. Of course, a mechanic’s skill set and experience would also matter over here.

As expected, untrained or lazy technicians will take longer than usual to get the job done. That said, your car will be mostly returned to you on the same day, of course, if it’s attended on the day of the visit.

However, a few scenarios can delay the delivery process, even if your car is handed over to a competent technician. For instance, some old compressors may no longer be available in the market. To find an equivalent replacement can take many days.

Important Tips for Choosing a Compressor:

If you take the responsibility of finding a new compressor for your car, you should ensure that it’s the right fit. First and foremost, you need to inspect whether your car accepts reciprocating or single-stage compressor. Once you figure out this information, you need to find out what size the replacement compression should be. Don’t leave anything to guesswork over here.

If you have any doubts, look for the model identification date to find out everything that you need to know about the compressor, such as the make, model, name, etc., allowing you to easily search for a specific model on the web.

Important Information: If possible, try to replace the old AC compressor with an OEM part, or a model from the former manufacturer itself. Of course, don’t forget to check the warranty coverage offered on the new model to protect your investment on the compressor.

How Can you Save Money on AC Compressor Replacement/Repair?

In a job of this nature, you can save some money by ordering the replacement parts online to do the repair yourself. Of course, do yourself a favor and check relevant videos of the procedure that needs to be carried out before you attempt a repair.

It goes without saying, you need to get all the relevant parts from highly reputable sites to get the best parts at competitive prices. If you are someone who is afraid to get under the hood, you can save money by getting quotes from numerous reputable auto repair stores. You can compare the quotes and choose an affordable provider with a verifiable reputation.

Over here, don’t be surprised if you witness a price difference of a few hundred dollars, which will be subject to the shop’s labor rate, the profit margin on parts, location of the service center, and so on.

Alternatively, you can check with the mechanic what parts need to be replaced. Then, you can buy the parts online and ask the mechanic to install it. Much to the dislike of the car mechanic, you will be able to save some money without doing the repair with your own hands by simply ordering the parts by yourself.

Final Words:

If you have no mechanic ability whatsoever or zero understanding of how the air conditioning units work, then you shouldn’t attempt to fix things on your own. By all means, you should take your car to a repair shop to get the work completed by an expert technician. After all, if you get the repair wrong, you will make the vehicle unfit for driving.

Not to mention that you will have to spend more to fix things that went wrong during the DIY attempt. In summary, a self-repair should be attempted only by those guys who are confident that they can handle the task. If you are someone who doesn’t know where the spark plugs are located in your vehicle, you are probably not the guy to take on this complicated project.

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