Car Air Conditioner Compressor Repair Cost

Car air conditioner compressor repair cost depends on the make, model, and age of your car. Repairing an AC compressor can cost between $500-$1,200. Standard auto insurance doesn't cover air conditioner repair, but if you have the right mechanical breakdown insurance it might be covered.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jan 14, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • Common indicators of an AC compressor repair: excess moisture, clogged pipes, lower quality construction, extended use. 
  • Average range of AC compressor repair labor costs is $300 to $500. 
  • Total costs of a car air conditioner compressor repair is $500 to $1,200.

Anyone who has ever sat in a sweltering car without working air conditioning knows that AC is not a luxury but a necessity. Unfortunately, AC units are notorious for two things: not always working and being expensive to repair.

This goes double when it’s the air conditioner compressor. So what does a car air conditioner compressor repair cost? 

Read on to find out what AC compressors are, why yours may need to be replaced, and the average repair cost for an AC compressor.

Before you do, take a moment to save some money on car insurance by entering your ZIP code above for free quotes from top companies.

What is an AC compressor?

Your car’s air conditioner has a lot of moving parts, and one of the most important is the car AC compressor. The compressor is the first component in a series that uses refrigerant gas, commonly Freon gas, to cool your car down.

The compressor moves refrigerant gas through the AC unit using pressure. Low-pressure, low-temperature refrigerant is compressed, pushing it through a series of chambers that turn it into a high-pressure, high-temperature refrigerant. The gas is then carried on to the other parts of the air conditioning unit.

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What are the signs my AC compressor needs repair?

Air conditioner compressor failure is more common than you might think. Your car AC compressor can fail for multiple reasons:

  • Excess moisture in the compressor
  • Clogged pipes
  • Lower quality construction, particularly in older vehicles
  • Extended use, usually correlated with high mileage 

There are several easy ways to tell that your AC compressor needs a repair or replacement:

  • Only warm air is coming from the AC vents rather than cool air.
  • The AC makes squealing or grinding noises.
  • Following grinding noises, the battery warning light appears on the dashboard or, worse, the engine stalls.

If you experience these symptoms, your car’s AC compressor is a likely culprit.

What does it cost to repair an AC compressor?

Because a broken compressor causes a whole-system malfunction in your air conditioning unit, you will need to have it fixed before you can get back to enjoying cool air in your car. Car air conditioner compressor repair costs can be broken down into the cost of parts and the cost of labor.

If you have the right car repair insurance, otherwise known as mechanical breakdown insurance, you may be able to get your AC repair covered. Standard auto insurance, however, doesn’t cover it.

The Cost of AC Parts

A new AC compressor replacement can cost between $200 and $700.

The cost of a part of your car depends on several factors:

  • Your car’s year, make, and model
  • Where you go to buy the part (dealership vs. independent mechanic)
  • Whether the part is brand new, used, aftermarket, or remanufactured
  • Whether the part is a brand name or a generic part

Although some options may be cheaper than others, it’s important to remember that quality can be associated with cost. Buying the cheapest option available, such as a used part from a junkyard, can result in even more costs later if the part breaks. In extreme cases, a faulty part can contaminate the entire air conditioning system and necessitate much more expensive repairs.

Labor Costs for AC Repair

The cost of labor for an AC compressor repair has an average range of $300 to $500.

  • Labor hours – The number of hours a mechanic has to spend to replace the compressor will heavily influence the cost. Depending on the make and model of your car, it can take between half an hour and five hours to complete the process.
  • Size of your vehicle – Smaller cars may cost more than larger cars. Smaller cars are more compact, which can make things more difficult to access. This means mechanics will have to spend more time and effort to reach and replace a compressor.
  • Where you go for repairs – Going to a dealership is frequently more expensive than an independent mechanic or service provider. Specialists who are concentrated in AC repair will also likely be more expensive than a regular mechanic.

Total Cost of AC Compressor Repair

Accounting for both parts and labor, the price range for car air conditioner compressor repair is $500 to $1,200.

Why should I replace my compressor rather than just repairing it?

If your compressor is broken, your options are either replacement or repair. Repair involves diagnosing and fixing the problems within the small, delicate components of your compressor.

If your mechanic determines that your AC compressor is causing your AC unit to malfunction, they’ll likely recommend replacing the entire compressor instead of repairing it. Replacement is less time-consuming, less expensive, and less difficult.

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The Cost of AC Compressor Repair: The Bottom Line

If you need to have your car’s air conditioner compressor repaired, you can expect it to cost up to $1,200. Car insurance covers repairs only if you have mechanical breakdown insurance or if the damage was the result of a covered claim.

Unfortunately, if your air conditioner compressor is already broken, it’s too late to take out a policy to cover it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save money on car insurance and also look for a policy that covers future repairs.

Now that you know what it costs to repair an air conditioner compressor, take a moment to compare rates on auto insurance. Enter your ZIP code below now for free auto insurance quotes from top companies.

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