The Average Cost for AC Compressor Replacement Is $812-$1,042, but It Depends on Whether You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your specific make and model. Related repairs or maintenance (like recharging your car’s air conditioner or replacing the AC refrigerant line, AC compressor clutch, or the AC receiver drier assembly) may also be necessary. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate for your AC compressor replacement cost using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $812-$1,042
Replacing your vehicle’s AC compressor will take at least three hours. The mechanic will need to evacuate the system to remove air and moisture, remove the old compressor, and install the new part. This process could take longer depending on your AC compressor’s location and how large the compressor is. At most, replacing the AC compressor could take six hours.
Replace your AC compressor only when it starts to fail. Most car AC compressors will last 8-10 years or 60,000-70,000 miles. However, that range will vary depending on how often you use your car’s AC and the conditions when you use it. Your AC compressor may fail sooner if the system develops a clog, a refrigerant leak, or moisture in the lines because these issues will cause the AC compressor to wear down more quickly.
Cost to DIY: $651-$838
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
You can save roughly $200 by performing this repair yourself. However, it’s not a good task for beginners, and it requires tools that most DIYers will have on hand, like a vacuum pump. You will also need to take your vehicle to an AC shop to remove the refrigerant. Replacing your vehicle’s AC compressor should take three to five hours, depending on your mechanical skill. Also, note that your vehicle’s warranty may require you to replace the receiver drier and orifice tube together.
What Is an AC Compressor?
The AC compressor is part of your vehicle’s HVAC system. A serpentine belt runs the compressor, which pressurizes the refrigerant and pushes it through the HVAC system. The compressor draws the low-pressure refrigerant from the evaporator and pushes it into the condenser. The condenser removes heat and moisture from the interior of the car and transfers it into the refrigerant, which is then pumped away. After going through some other components the refrigerant arrives at the evaporator, typically located at the front of the car. This releases heat, humidity, and refrigerant pressure. It then returns to the compressor to repeat the cycle.
What Does an AC Compressor Replacement Involve?
Replacing your vehicle’s AC compressor typically involves a few basic steps. First, remove all the refrigerant from your car’s HVAC system via a recovery machine. Then you can remove the old AC compressor and replace it with the new compressor. Next, remove all the air and moisture from the system via a vacuum pump. The final step is to recharge the AC.
An experienced mechanic can perform this replacement within three to six hours, but it depends on your vehicle. For instance, a smaller compressor is easier to remove than a large one, and the vehicle’s design can make it simple or relatively difficult to reach the AC compressor. Your mechanic might recommend replacing the orifice tube and receiver drier at the same time because a faulty AC compressor will often affect these parts.
How Often to Get Your AC Compressor Replaced
You only need to replace an AC compressor when it is malfunctioning. When a malfunction occurs, you will notice warm air coming from the vents even when turning on your AC or windshield defroster. In some cases, your AC may only need a recharge. It’s also possible that your vehicle has a refrigerant leak. However, if recharging your AC and adding refrigerant does not fix the issue, the AC compressor or other components are likely the culprits.
If your vehicle has over 60,000 miles or is more than eight years old, your AC compressor may be nearing the end of its lifespan. Your compressor may also need replacement sooner if it experiences higher-than-normal use or a clog or leak in the system strains the compressor. Check your owner’s manual or use the free FIXD app to see maintenance schedules if you need more specific information.
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What Happens If You Don’t Replace Your AC Compressor?
A vehicle with a broken AC compressor is still perfectly safe to drive. Because this component only affects your vehicle’s heating and air conditioning system, replacing it is usually a matter of comfort more than necessity. If the AC compressor is not working, your car’s AC system will not function properly. That could make for some very uncomfortable drives on hot days.
If you hear a grinding sound associated with your vehicle’s HVAC system, you’ll need a more urgent repair. A faulty bearing could knock the serpentine belt that drives the compressor loose. If that happens, your vehicle’s battery warning light will turn on.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace Your AC Compressor
- AC blowing warm air
- Squealing, clicking, or grinding noise
- Code P0645 AC clutch relay control circuit
- Code P0647 AC clutch relay circuit high
- Code P0646 AC clutch relay circuit low
Related Maintenance Services
A mechanic might perform the following services along with an AC compressor replacement:
- AC recharge
- Serpentine belt replacement
- AC refrigerant line replacement
- AC receiver drier replacement
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