In some parts of the country, driving a car without air conditioning is simply not an option. With temperatures rising above 100 degrees in the summer in states like Florida, the temperature inside the car can get much higher. Driving that car without air conditioning is an unbearable task.
Car Air Conditioner Service Cost
Your car’s air conditioner is a heart exchange system, much like your refrigerator. It moves heat from inside your car to the outside air, replacing it with cooler refrigerated air. Fixing a failing car air conditioning system is expensive. Having it serviced regularly is affordable, and can help you to avoid more expensive problems later. Ideally, your car’s air conditioning system should be serviced and inspected every year before the temperatures rise. Many service companies will run specials during the late winter and early spring to encourage customers to have their systems inspected. Inspecting and fixing hoses and clamps, and flushing and refilling the system with coolant can prevent further catastrophic damage.
For $250 or less, you can have your air conditioning system inspected and tested for leaks. If any minor repairs need to be done, that might raise the price a little bit. The service technicians, who should be ASE certified, will check all seals, hoses, and lines for leaks. They will also look for cracks or damage to the drive belt. They will also perform a test on the compressor to make sure it is working properly as well. Many service shops will perform multiple point inspections of your vehicle to look for any other potential issues. Expect the process to take 3 to 4 hours.
Car Air Conditioner Repair Cost
You will be paying between $50 and $100 an hour for labor to service your air conditioner system and have small problems repaired. Air conditioner repair generally includes locating and stopping leaks. Because some of these leaks are in hard to reach places, finding them can be a time consuming chore. Repair costs can run in excess of $1200 for older model cars. This car air conditioner repair cost is driven by the need for upgrading various parts of the air conditioning system so that they conform to the latest governmental regulations. Freon is no longer manufactured in the United States as it has been shown to deplete the ozone layer. Thus, cars with Freon based systems need to be upgraded, as Freon is no longer available for use to recharge those systems.
When you are in need of air conditioning repair, do not just stop at the nearest repair shop. Repairing a car’s air conditioning system can become expensive very quickly, so only deal with mechanics you know and trust. If you do not know of any mechanics, then a good place to start is asking your friends and neighbors for referrals. It is best to look for a repair shop before you actually need one. This gives you plenty of time to check out their credentials and references.
Car Air Conditioner Compressor Cost
The compressor is the heart of your car’s air conditioning system. The system works by using differences in air pressure to move refrigerant through the system. The air conditioner compressor runs off of the car’s engine with a belt. This eliminates the need for a separate motor. The difference in air pressure allows the hot air in the car to be removed and replaced with cooler air.
A car air conditioning compressor will cost you about $400. This is a high cost repair, and many people with older cars decide not to invest that kind of money into their vehicle. One thing to consider is that if the only thing wrong with the car is the compressor, and you can get it fixed for $400, then you have made one $400 payment for your car that year. Buying another vehicle will certainly cost you more than that.
Car Air Conditioner Recharge Cost
Some service technicians will tell you that you merely need to have your air conditioning system recharged. The fallacy in this statement is that you shouldn’t need to recharge a system that is working properly. The need for a recharge is evidence of a leak somewhere in the system. If you choose to have the system recharged, know that you will simply have to have this done again unless the leak is fixed as well.
Some mechanics will advise you to have your system recharged because they cannot determine the site of the leak. If this is the case, then you need to take your car to a different mechanic for a second opinion. While it is certainly true that some pinhole leaks can be extremely difficult to find, a mechanic will have much better luck if he is using one of the newest approved electronic leak detectors.
You can choose to either have your refrigerant topped off, or to have the system evacuated and recharged. Evacuating the system takes out all remaining refrigerant and cleans the system of any impurities. Evacuating and recharging is a better air conditioner recharge cost option. This way, you will be sure to have the proper amount of refrigerant in your system according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If you are having the system topped off, it is impossible to accurately tell how mush refrigerant is still in the system, so you cannot be sure that you will have the proper amount after the recharge.
A Few Final Words Of Advice
There are some national chains that specialize in air conditioning repair. Meineke and Midas are two national chains that provide this service. Because these national chains are often franchises, it is still important to check out your local shops with the Better Business Bureau. The good reputation of a national company might not necessarily apply to your local franchise. One benefit of these national chains is that they generally do a thorough job inspecting your car for any other possible mechanical problems. Yes, they do this to keep you coming back. However, the information can be valuable in helping you to determine whether you want to have the car repaired or you want to replace the vehicle instead because repairing all that is wrong is cost prohibitive.