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AC Compressor Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your AC compressor replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your AC compressor replacement.
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John Davis
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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?

Your exact repair costs will depend on your car’s make and model and your location but the average cost for an AC compressor replacement is $1,408. That price breaks down into $705 for replacement parts and $703 for the mechanic’s labor costs.
How long does it take to replace an AC compressor? While replacement times can vary between cars, a trained technician should generally complete the service in two to four hours. 
Here’s a breakdown of AC compressor replacement costs for different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
July 8, 2024
Subaru Crosstrek
$1,178
$500
$679
5.7 Hours
July 6, 2024
Isuzu Ascender
$1,215
$500
$715
5.7 Hours
July 5, 2024
Cadillac DeVille
$1,114
$430
$684
5.7 Hours
July 4, 2024
BMW 525
$1,281
$430
$851
5.7 Hours
June 29, 2024
Infiniti Q60
$1,254
$484
$770
5.7 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 replacement, and how much do those parts cost?

For model-specific HVAC system information, you should consult your vehicle repair guide and
owner’s manual
. But here’s a basic breakdown of the parts you may need:
  • Air conditioning compressor: The replacement compressor is the primary part you’re going to replace. Compressor prices can vary based on the vehicle and whether you choose OEM or aftermarket parts. But, on average, a new AC compressor costs between $200 and $700. Recommended brands are Denso, Four Seasons, and UAC (Universal Air Conditioner).
  • AC accumulator/receiver-drier: This part is responsible for filtering out moisture, debris, and contaminants from your car’s AC system. Most experts recommend replacing the accumulator any time you open the AC system for repairs. A new one can cost between $20 and $100. We recommend brands like UAC (Universal Air Conditioner), Four Seasons, and ACDelco.
  • AC refrigerant: After you replace the compressor, you’ll need to recharge the AC system with refrigerant. Cans of refrigerant can cost $20 to $50 or more. We recommend reputable brands like InterDynamics, A/C Pro, and FJC.
  • AC system oil: The AC unit will require fresh oil after your replacement. This typically costs between $10 and $30. Recommended brands include FJC, InterDynamics, and UAC (Universal Air Conditioner).
  • O-rings and seals: You should replace the AC line o-rings and seals during your compressor replacement, especially if they are brittle or cracked. These parts are relatively cheap and should cost between $1 and $10. Three brands we recommend are Fel-Pro, Victor Reinz, and Mahle.
You can buy all these parts for your AC compressor replacement from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Keep in mind that the best options for your AC compressor parts will vary depending on your’s year, make, and model.
When it comes to automotive repairs, you should generally go with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts if possible—especially if you drive a newer vehicle.
OEM parts are designed specifically to fit your car. They are made from high-quality materials and come with a strong manufacturer’s warranty. But OEM parts can be pricey and may be difficult to locate depending on your car’s age.
Aftermarket parts are a solid choice for older vehicles and for drivers looking to cut down on repair costs. They’re available in budget and premium options and are typically easier to find.
If you plan to purchase OEM parts, you’ll have to visit your local dealership or contact an authorized parts supplier. You can buy aftermarket parts from most auto parts stores—like NAPA Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts and AutoZone—or online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto.

Where can I get my AC compressor replaced?

Finding the right auto repair shop can be challenging. Luckily, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
lets you compare repair estimates and hourly rates from more than 2,500 shops around the U.S.
Jerry's GarageGuard™ generates fair price estimates using the actual hourly rates from shops near you. Use it to plan for future maintenance projects, discover diagnostic fees, and find the shops in your area with the best customer reviews.
Check out some of our excellent vetted shops below and download the app to find quality repair services near you.
113 Reviews
Kwik Kar Ridgmar
address
6510 Westworth Blvd, Fort Worth, TX
AC Compressor Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$1,282
(Parts - $610, Labor - $672)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$120
140 Reviews
Exo Auto Works
address
124 S El Paso St STE B, Colorado Springs, CO
AC Compressor Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$1,250
(Parts - $610, Labor - $640)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$55
163 Reviews
Velasquez Auto Care - Hampton
address
7623 W Hampton Ave, Milwaukee, WI
AC Compressor Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$1,282
(Parts - $610, Labor - $672)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$35
177 Reviews
Pep Boys Auto Parts & Service - Washington Blvd #612
address
1200 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
AC Compressor Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$1,487
(Parts - $610, Labor - $877)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
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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?

These are the general steps a mechanic will follow to replace your AC compressor:
  • Locate the compressor—it will be at the front of the engine bay with the other belt-driven engine accessories
  • Evacuate the AC system refrigerant—do not release the refrigerant into the atmosphere as it is illegal and extremely harmful to the environment
  • Loosen the serpentine belt tensioner and then remove the belt
  • Disconnect the compressor’s electrical connectors
  • Disconnect the compressor’s pressure hoses
  • Remove the mounting bolts from the compressor
  • Remove the old compressor
  • Prepare the new AC compressor by removing the dust caps and adding the specified amount and type of oil
  • Replace the o-rings on the pressure hoses
  • Position the new compressor and install the mounting bolts
  • Reinstall the pressure hoses
  • Reinstall the electrical connectors
  • Replace the serpentine belt and tighten the tensioner
  • Recharge the AC system
  • Start the car to ensure the system works properly and blows cold air

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

If you have a bad AC compressor and don’t replace it, you’ll likely face the following issues:
  • Loss of cooling ability: The primary symptom of a faulty compressor is a loss of AC cooling functionality. Warm air will blow through your vents, making driving uncomfortable during warm months.
  • Strain on other AC components: A bad compressor can lead to damage to other components, like the compressor clutch, serpentine belt, and pressure hoses.
  • Refrigerant leaks: A faulty compressor can cause refrigerant leaks. This will cause the system to perform even worse, in addition to being extremely harmful to the environment.
  • AC system contamination: It’s common for a failed AC compressor to shed metal particles or debris into the AC system. This can cause damage to other components, resulting in increased repair costs.

What is an AC compressor?

Your car’s air conditioner compressor is an integral part of the AC system. It’s responsible for compressing liquid refrigerant into gas and circulating that gas through the AC system. 
The compressor sends high-pressure, high-temperature gas to the condenser, where it releases heat and returns to a liquid state. The liquid refrigerant then flows through an expansion valve or orifice tube, where it turns back into a low-pressure, low-temperature mixture of liquid and gas. From there, the refrigerant travels to the evaporator coil, absorbing heat from the cabin and cooling it before returning to the compressor, where the process starts again. 

When should I replace the AC compressor in my car?

There are no set replacement intervals for AC compressors. In fact, your compressor may even last for your vehicle’s lifespan. That said, they can wear out over time, and you’ll need to replace yours when it fails. 
Here are the most common signs of a faulty AC compressor:
  • Warm airflow from vents: The most common sign of a faulty compressor is a lack of cold air flowing from the vents. 
  • Strange noises: A malfunctioning compressor can make strange noises, like grinding, rattling, squealing, or clunking sounds.
  • Delayed or intermittent cooling: If your AC system takes a long time to begin blowing cold air or the system works erratically, you may need a new AC compressor. 
  • Refrigerant leaks: A damaged compressor can develop leaks. This can result in decreased cooling abilities.
  • Foul smells: A faulty compressor can release strange odors due to leaking refrigerant or a burned-out clutch. 
  • Vibrations: If you notice vibrations from the engine bay while driving, it may be an indicator that you have a bad AC compressor.
  • The AC compressor clutch doesn’t engage: If the AC compressor clutch doesn’t engage when you turn on the AC system, it could be a sign of a bad compressor.
Keep in mind: These symptoms can indicate other HVAC issues, like a bad accumulator, a faulty condenser, or even a clogged cabin air filter. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to visit a certified mechanic. 

FAQs

Automotive AC compressors are designed to last for many years. While there is no set lifespan, it’s common for car compressors to last for more than 15 years when maintained properly.
A variety of issues can cause AC compressor failure, including:
  • Lack of maintenance
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Electrical problems
  • Excessive wear and tear
  • Debris and contaminants
  • Overheating
  • Age and mileage
  • Vibrations and physical impacts
  • Incorrect refrigerant
Automotive AC compressor repair is generally not possible. You can sometimes replace the AC compressor clutch independent of the compressor, but that’s only possible for some types of compressors. In most cases, you’ll have to replace the compressor if it goes bad.

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.