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Tech Talk

How Pricing Is Determined For A Car Air Conditioning Service

The price of a car air conditioning service varies based on where the problem lies and what type of vehicle you own. Car air conditioning systems can be complex, parts are not always inexpensive, and if you’ve ignored a problem with your AC and put off repairs for a while, it could have led to major damage and a higher repair bill. Below, the mechanics at Brake Works share the causes behind the costs you may find on your bill for your car air conditioning service. As with any automotive repair, the final price for a car air conditioning service is determined by the diagnostics, service, and parts.


Finding where the problem lies is the first step towards getting things operating properly again, so the diagnostics and service make up the first portion of your bill. The air conditioner in your car isn’t one solid piece; it is comprised of several different components that work together to produce the cold air that comes out of your car’s vents. Some of these components are vital pieces of your engine, and some are not easy to get to or repair. A dysfunctional air conditioner might be the first symptom of a larger issue with your engine’s cooling system, but this is usually a worst-case scenario. Most of the time the issue is caused by something related directly to the air conditioning system itself.


Locating the malfunctioning component can take time, even if the problem is simple. In some models, the different pieces of the system are spread all over the engine compartment, and some may be located behind a larger part that needs to be removed before your mechanic can find the issue. The ease or difficulty involved in finding the problem and performing the repairs can play a factor in your bill for a car air conditioning service.


Replacement and repair of the major parts of a vehicle’s air conditioning system is fairly common, and prices vary based on year, model, and availability. Below is a list of the major components of your car’s system, with a description of what each part does. The way it works is similar to the way your home’s refrigerator functions: gas is heated, condensed and evaporated, and a blower then moves the cold air from the system into the area that needs to be kept cool.


1. Refrigerant gas is a chemical that cools the air surrounding it. This gas is commonly referred to as Freon after one of the more popular brands, but many cars use a chemical called R-134a. A recharge is sometimes the only car air conditioning service you need to keep the cab cold; think of it as a fill-up for your A/C’s gas tank.


2. The compressor puts the refrigerant gas under pressure to heat it up, and is vital for the function of your system. The hot gas then moves into the condenser.


3. In the condenser, some of the gas reaches a liquid state, while the remaining portion stays gaseous. This process expels heat from the vehicle as it vaporizes.


4. The evaporator is comprised of coils, and this is where the combination of liquid and gas makes its way to after being in the condenser. The gas loses pressure while the liquid cools and evaporates.


5. The blower circulates air away from the cold coils and into the cabin to cool you down. The blower also works to pump warm air into the cab and keep you warm during colder weather.


These main elements are linked together by a system of valves, hoses, and miscellaneous pieces, and each part performs its own task. Failures within these minor components are generally easy to fix, but not necessarily easy to find. Faulty wiring or bad fuses can also pose an issue. A trustworthy mechanic who is experienced in performing a car air conditioning service will check every element for the simple fixes before moving to the more complicated parts.


If you have noticed an issue with your vehicle’s air conditioning system, call Brake Works to have it serviced, before greater damage is done and your repair bill goes up.