Air conditioner problems can have many causes. The most common reason why AC stops working is one or more leaks in the system. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about fixing the AC in your car, as well as how you can discover what the cause of the problem is. In most cases the problem is due to one of the following:
- Leaks in the AC system
- Faulty AC compressor
- Clogged filter
- Other faulty components
Before we jump into the reasons why an AC might stop working, understanding the process of cooling your cabin will give you a better chance of finding the root cause of the problem. An air conditioning system works by changing the refrigerant from gas to a liquid state. This process requires the help of a few components.
At the start of the process, the AC compressor is connected to the engine’s crankshaft by a belt. Inside the compressor, several pistons compress the air, resulting in heat and high pressure. The hot and pressurized gas then moves into the condenser where the gas cools and changes into a liquid form.
The liquid then passes through the dryer, which ensures that there is no gas present before the fluid continues to the thermal expansion valve. When the liquid reaches the expansion valve, it is cooled to become a gas again, which then goes through an evaporator. The heater fan blows air from outside the car through the cold evaporator, thus introducing cold air into the cabin.
Cost To Fix A Faulty AC
As previously mentioned, there are many possible reasons why an AC might not work properly. These possible reasons include a problem in one of the components or a leak in one of the many hoses. It is important to note that a faulty AC should be fixed in a professional repair shop. By law, no refrigerant is allowed to be released into the atmosphere.
If it turns out that the system is leaking in one place, it is necessary to replace the component that is leaking. Unfortunately, almost any component of the AC might leak. If the compressor runs with a low amount of refrigerant for an extended period, it will eventually break and you will require a new compressor.
If the O-rings are leaking, which could be the case if the car is newer, they will need to be replaced. O-rings are a relatively small and cheap component but because the whole system has to be depressurized and evacuated, the labor cost will be high.
A pack of O-rings will cost on average around $10, while a compressor might go for several hundred dollars. The labor cost will vary depending on the part that has to be fixed. Expect the labor cost to be anywhere from $150 to $500. This means the total cost, depending on the part that must be replaced, could be anywhere from $160 to $1000 or more.