Car Air Conditioner Repair: Common Failures and Costs


Late spring and summer are here, and the temperatures rise, making car air conditioners more important on certain days. You expect cold air to cool the car when you turn on your air conditioner. However, sometimes systems fail and hot air can blow out of the vents.

How can your air conditioner blow hot air? And how much does it cost to fix it? There are many problems that can occur and possible costs. We outline some common repairs for car air conditioners.

Car Air Conditioner Repair: What are the Common Problems?

There are many reasons your car’s air conditioner could fail. However, there are some that are more common than others. Let’s take a look at these common problems with air conditioning, along with their symptoms and average repair costs.

Refrigerant Leak

A refrigerant is found in all cars’ air conditioners. Freon, also known as Freon, is a common refrigerant brand. Freon produces the chill that you feel through your air conditioner vents.

Air conditioning systems are fully sealed and do not use any refrigerant during normal operation. This means that the refrigerant level should not change unless there is a leak. These leaks are usually located near the connection point, where a seal, O-ring, or seal may have become weak. However, rust and physical damage can be done to other components (evaporator cores, accumulators, compressors, etc.). Leakage can also be caused by rust.

The technician must first locate the leak in the car’s A/C system. The technician will inject a dye into your system and pressurize it. After that, he or she will use a black light to locate the source of the dye. To locate leaks, many car air conditioning technicians use a “sniffer” or refrigerant detector. This detects when the refrigerant escapes from the system.

You can expect to pay between $150 and $200 for the initial diagnosis and leak test by an auto air conditioning technician certified in the repair of your system. This will depend on the severity of the leak.

The exact cause of the leak depends on which component is leaking. An O-ring is a simple repair that can be done with minimal labor and costs only a few dollars, while a new condenser or air conditioner can run hundreds of dollars. A leak repair will cost you anywhere from $150 to $500 on average.

Faulty Condenser Fan

Many newer vehicles will have two fans. Some only have one fan to do both the condenser and radiator fan. This fan cools the refrigerant as it passes through the condenser and exits the compressor. The cooling converts the refrigerant into a high temperature, high pressure gas before it is passed through the rest.

If the fan stops working, the refrigerant can’t convert to liquid and the air conditioner cannot cool the air. A faulty condenser can cause lukewarm temperatures in the air conditioner, lower temperatures at higher speeds and overheating at idle.

First, the auto technician will need to diagnose the problem. This includes determining whether the fan is not working due to a defective fan, fuse or relay, switch, wiring, or other problems. It will typically cost between $150 and $200 to perform the diagnostic. The cost of replacing the fan would be $550 to $650 plus parts and labour.

If you are lucky enough to find it is a simple switch, relay or fuse, you might be able to get the door open for $300, plus the diagnostics.

Faulty Compressor for Air Conditioning

The heart of every automotive air conditioner system is the compressor. The compressor takes the cool, low pressure gas formed after the refrigerant has cooled the air and re-pressurizes the cabin. This transforms the refrigerant to the hot, high-pressure liquid that flows into condenser.

An electrically controlled clutch system controls the compressor’s air conditioning. It cycles on and off to cool down the refrigerant as necessary. Your compressor will blow warm air if the clutch or any other parts fail.

Apart from constant warm air, other signs that an A/C compressor is failing include loud grinding sounds coming from the front of your engine and no clicking sound of the clutch moving.

The technician will first need to perform a $150-200 diagnostic in order to begin the repair. The technician will then be able to determine if the problem is with the compressor or other components such as a failing pressure switch or defective drive belt.

You can expect to spend $300-500 for labour and parts if you need a compressor rebuilt. There may be additional costs if the compressor stops working.

Sometimes you might only have a bad pressure switch or fuse. You may be able to pay less depending on the part and the labour.

Faulty Electronics

The air conditioning system in today’s vehicles is full of electronics. There are many places where the electrical system can fail, from the sensors under the hood to relays and fuse to the climate control interface within the vehicle.

Because of all the diagnostic work involved in finding the cause of an issue, electrical failures can be a more complicated issue. While an auto shop may be able to fix the problem by replacing the defective part, a diagnostic will ensure that the air conditioner service centre is able to identify any other issues that could cause the part’s failure.

An average A/C system diagnostic will cost $150-200, but this usually covers only about one to 1.5 hours labor. The technician will then charge by the hour to diagnose the problem.

There will be a wide range of air conditioning repairs for your vehicle. A simple relay or fuse may cost $100, plus the diagnostic fee. For more serious problems, like severe wiring failures, or interior control panel failures, you may need to pay $500 plus the diagnostic fee at the car centre.

Don’t Worry About Car Air Conditioner Repairs With a Quality Clutch Vehicle

Buying a used vehicle is not easy. There are many mysteries surrounding its maintenance and what components might be in danger. It’s difficult to gauge the functionality of an air conditioner because it is the only way you can tell if it is blowing cold air.

You might find yourself needing car air conditioner repair in Calgary within days of buying your vehicle. Clutch is Canada’s first online retailer of pre-owned vehicles. All pre-owned vehicles undergo a thorough 210-point inspection including the A/C system.

We also offer a 90 day or 6,000 km warranty to address any unexpected issues. You also get a 10-day, 750-km or 10-hour test-own period. You can return your Clutch vehicle for a refund, or exchange it if you aren’t satisfied with it.

You can browse our huge inventory of quality preowned cars today. Then, select the one that you like and apply for auto financing. We will prepare and deliver the vehicle to you with all paperwork.

Leave a reply