Automotive Column 6 from Under The Hood A/C Failure and Cost
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Air Conditioning is one of the most desirable options in vehicles today but if it fails it can also be one of the most expensive options to repair. With some simple maintenance you may be able to prevent an unwanted failure and save yourself a lot of money.
CAR QUESTIONS TAKEN FROM
OUR WEEKLY TALK RADIO SHOW
Dear Motor Medics,
My air conditioner compressor has failed on my 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. I took it in for repairs and was so surprised by the estimate that I have put off repairs until I could find out more about it. I trust my shop but can’t believe something as simple as air conditioning can cost so much to replace. Talk about bad luck. They tell me it will run $1800.00 to repair because the failed compressor left a large amount of metal contaminating the system and everything but the evaporator needs to be replaced. Is this possible and is the price fair? I appreciate your advice and listen to your car-talk show with my co-workers every weak.
Scott in Pierre South Dakota
Air conditioning is a specialty area of ours and we have seen more than our fair share fail; many similar to the failure of your model. The refrigeration system of air conditioning is not complicated technologically but it does include many parts. These parts can be quite costly to replace when there is a major failure in the system. There is a lot of labor involved and the parts can add up, often to the range you are describing or more. What has happened is that your compressor failed possibly from age, failed fans or relays, or leakage. Maybe the fans had an issue quite some time ago and weakened the compressor and now it failed under the high temperature loads outside. Whatever the cause they are correct, with metal contaminating the system it will need extensive repair.
Take care, the Motor Medics
©Nordstrom's® Automotive Inc. 2012 No content of this site may be reproduced without our written permission. You may link back to this site.
Do you have a car question to talk about?
Give the Under The Hood Show a call at
We have fun while we give great free automotive repair advice over the air weekly.
Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. In order to make an accurate diagnosis a qualified technician should make a hands-on diagnosis. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.