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AC Compressor Relay Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your AC compressor relay replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard™ to get fair cost estimate for your AC compressor relay replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace an AC compressor relay?

Your exact repair costs will depend on your car and location, but the average cost for an AC compressor relay replacement is $62. We can break that price down into $20 for replacement parts and $43 for the technician’s labor costs.
How long does it take to replace an AC compressor relay? Replacing the relay is relatively easy and straightforward. Most mechanics should take less than 30 minutes to perform the service, but they may need to spend some time troubleshooting before they can pinpoint the relay as the cause of your problem. 
Here’s a breakdown of AC compressor relay replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 17, 2024
Subaru Impreza
$88
$50
$38
0.3 Hours
May 14, 2024
Toyota RAV4
$87
$50
$37
0.3 Hours
May 14, 2024
Chevrolet Monte Carlo
$87
$50
$37
0.3 Hours
May 11, 2024
Oldsmobile Cutlass
$83
$50
$33
0.3 Hours
May 8, 2024
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
$89
$50
$39
0.3 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my AC compressor relay replacement?

The only part you need for an AC compressor relay replacement is the new relay itself. Prices can vary, but you should be able to get a new one for between $10 and $50.
Some reputable brands we recommend for reliable AC compressor relays include ACDelco, Standard Motor Products, and Bosch. You can typically purchase these brands from retailers such as AutoZone, Amazon, RockAuto, and O'Reilly Auto Parts. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle's specific year, make, and model.
For most automotive repairs, you should go with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts if possible, especially if you drive a newer car. 
OEM parts are produced specifically for your vehicle. They come with a manufacturer’s warranty and are made from high-quality materials. The downside to OEM parts is they can be expensive and difficult to find.
Aftermarket parts can be a good option for older vehicles and drivers looking to save some money on repair costs. The quality of aftermarket parts can vary, and budget to premium options are available. If you choose to purchase an aftermarket part, search for a product with good reviews and check the part number to confirm it works with your car.
You can buy OEM parts from your local dealership or an authorized parts supplier. Aftermarket parts are available at a wide variety of auto parts stores—like O'Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone—and online retailers like RockAuto and Amazon.

Where can I get my AC compressor relay replaced?

Finding a trustworthy auto repair shop can be difficult. Fortunately, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
lets you compare repair estimates and hourly rates from thousands of shops around the U.S.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ uses actual hourly rates from shops in your area to generate fair price estimates. Use it to plan for future maintenance work, learn about diagnostic charges, and find shops near you with the best reviews.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to search for quality repair services in your neighborhood.
118 Reviews
Laurel Heights Automotive
address
9109 E Gregory Blvd #6407, Raytown, MO
AC Compressor Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$130
(Parts - $17, Labor - $113)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$50
107 Reviews
Steve's Tire and Auto - East
address
4811 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN
AC Compressor Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$147
(Parts - $17, Labor - $130)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
129 Reviews
I & A Automotive
address
24850 Aurora Rd Ste G, Bedford Heights, OH
AC Compressor Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$102
(Parts - $17, Labor - $85)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$79.99
118 Reviews
Cottman Transmission and Total Auto Care of Woodbury Heights
address
230 Glassboro Rd, Camden, NJ
AC Compressor Relay Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$112
(Parts - $17, Labor - $95)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my AC compressor relay?

Your mechanic will follow these steps to replace your AC compressor relay:
  • Locate the AC compressor relay (in most cars, the relay is in the engine bay fuse box)
  • Remove the old relay
  • Install the new AC compressor relay
  • Start the engine and check to make sure the AC system blows cool air

What happens if I don’t replace my AC compressor relay?

If you don’t replace a bad AC compressor relay, you’ll likely face the following problems:
  • AC system failure: The AC compressor relay controls the operation of the air conditioning compressor. If the relay fails, the compressor may stop working, leading to an inoperable AC system.
  • Intermittent cooling: A failing relay can cause the compressor to work intermittently. You might notice the AC works sometimes but not others. 
  • AC compressor damage: A bad relay can send abnormal electrical currents through the compressor. Over time, this can lead to compressor damage and expensive AC repairs.
  • Overheating relay: A bad relay can overheat and melt. This can cause damage to other electrical components and may result in expensive damage.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency: A bad relay can put extra strain on the compressor and engine, leading to decreased gas mileage.

What is an AC compressor relay?

An AC compressor relay is an electric switch that controls the operation of your car’s AC compressor. It serves as a bridge between your AC controls and the compressor, allowing an electrical signal to activate the compressor when you turn on the AC system. This setup enables you to control the temperature settings and airflow from inside the cabin. 

When should I replace the AC compressor relay on my car?

There isn’t a fixed replacement schedule for the AC compressor relay. Instead, you only need to replace it when it fails. Here are the most common signs of AC compressor relay failure:
  • Inconsistent cooling: If the relay is failing, your compressor may turn on sometimes but not other times. You may notice weak or inconsistent airflow. 
  • The compressor doesn’t turn on: Normally, when you turn on your car’s AC system, you can hear the compressor kick into gear and activate. If the relay is bad, the compressor won’t start, and you won’t hear the compressor clutch engage. 
  • AC system failure: If the AC compressor relay is bad, the HVAC system won’t be able to cool your car’s cabin. You’ll likely notice that hot air flows from the vents in this case.
Keep in mind: These issues can indicate other problems with your car’s AC unit, including a refrigerant leak, bad evaporator, faulty expansion valve, or even clogged cabin air filter. The best way to accurately diagnose the problem is to contact a mechanic. 

How often should I replace my AC compressor relay?

There are no fixed intervals for replacing the AC compressor relay, but the part is subject to wear and tear and will likely fail over time. You should replace your ac compressor relay when it stops working correctly. 
The most common signs of AC compressor relay failure include warm air from the AC system and intermittent cooling. 

Can I replace my AC compressor relay myself?

Yes—an AC compressor relay replacement is an excellent DIY project. It requires minimal automotive experience and no special tools. 
You can use your vehicle
owner’s manual
or a repair guide to identify the location of the relay—from there, it’s as simple as pulling the old one out and plugging in the new one.
All that said, if you’re uncomfortable performing the repair yourself, you should contact a professional mechanic to help you.

FAQs

You may have a bad AC compressor relay if you experience any of the following issues:
  • No cold air from the vents
  • Intermittent cooling
  • Clicking sounds from the fuse box
  • The compressor doesn’t activate
  • Electrical burning smell
  • A melted or burnt relay
The average lifespan of a relay can vary depending on its usage and type. 
For electromechanical relays, the average lifespan is around 100,000 to 500,000 cycles. A cycle refers to one complete actuation of the relay—when the relay turns the AC compressor on, and then off, one cycle is complete.
Solid-state relays, on the other hand, use semiconductor technology, resulting in drastically increased lifespans. These relays can last for tens of millions of cycles.
Yes—a bad AC compressor relay can drain your car battery due to the following reasons:
  • Increased engine stress
  • Increased alternator load
  • Continuous engagement
  • Electrical shorts
Each of the above issues can be a result of a faulty relay, and each will contribute to increased stress and drain on your car battery.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.