Costopedia / Automotive / How Much Does Car Air Conditioning Cost?

How Much Does Car Air Conditioning Cost?

$ Minor Repairs: $150 to $800 $ $ Major Repairs: $1,000 to $4,000+ $ $ $ AC Install: $1,500 to $4,000+

As a car owner, I think one of the worst things that can happen, especially on a hot summer day, is to get into the car and realize the AC is not working (or blowing hot air which is worst!).

The air conditioning system of a car, AC for short, although is not vital to get the car working, is an important part of the comfort we expect.

So, when there’s an issue with it, definitely it’s a moment that will make you start sweating, literally.

Now, What To Do When The Air Conditioning Is Not Working?

The AC is a system, which means that is made up of different parts, and any of them could be the one that’s damaged.

It’s important to know the different parts that composed the AC system because depending on what’s damaged the price of the repair and the costs of the replacements vary.

The major components of an AC system are the refrigerant which carries the heat; the compressor which moves along the refrigerant; the condenser which expels heat; the expansion valve which regulates refrigerant flow; and the drier/evaporator which cools the car by blowing hot interior air across the refrigerant.

Minor AC repairs can cost from $150 to $800, this includes recharging the AC and replacing a few parts like hoses, sensors, the compressor, or the condenser.

Major AC repairs can cost from $1,000 to $4,000, or even more depending on the make and model of your vehicle, and the pieces that need replacement which usually are almost all the AC system’s parts.

And there’s a thing you need to be aware of; if you have a car built before 1995, the refrigerant will need to be converted to a type that meets current environmental requirements; they use an R12 refrigerant that’s no longer made.

Also, installing an AC in a car that doesn’t have any can cost from $1,500 to $4,000 or more, depending on location and the vehicle’s make and model.

So, your final price will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, the labor, and what’s damaged (some can also charge for the inspection and diagnostic, which can go from $100 to $300).

Top Automotive Care Chains

You can get your car’s AC checked and fixed at Firestone, JiffyLube, PepBoys, Sears, Meineke, and also Midas.

Things to Consider

Before buying:

  1. Your AC is not working or it’s just not cooling as before? If the latest is the case, then you probably have a leak. The solution? An AC recharge, your car needs refrigerant.
  2. If the only thing your AC needs is refrigerant, then you should start looking for the one that suits your car the best. This page has some good refrigerants’ reviews.
  3. If you think you are good at DIY then you can do it yourself for cheaper, usually from $40 to $80. There are many kits like the A/C Pro that tell you exactly how to do it yourself and cost around $35. But if you don’t then a professional recharge it’s your go-to, which can cost you from $150 to $300.
  4. If your AC is just not working properly then we encourage you to go to a professional that can diagnose what’s the problem and solve it the best way possible. Now there are some environmental regulations that must be followed when repairing a car’s AC.

When Buying: 

  1. Usually, when you get your car to the mechanic, he has many refrigerant options in case you are going to do a professional recharge of your AC. But you can purchase the refrigerant beforehand and give it to the mechanic.
  2. The professional will make a diagnosis on your AC to see what’s wrong with it and what needs to be repaired. This is important because leaks may not always be because of the refrigerant.
  3. After finishing the repair, the technician will test the AC system again to see that everything is working properly.

After Buying:

  1. Don’t let your AC stop working again by learning the signs that tell you when it’s time to go to the mechanic again. If you hear loud noises coming from the AC system, if you see what seems like refrigerant leaking out from under your car, or if you spot damaged wiring while looking at your auto AC system, then it might be the time to pay a visit to the mechanic.
Giovanna Soto