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AC Recharge Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your AC recharge? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard™ to get fair cost estimate for your AC recharge.
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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 recharge the AC?

The average AC recharge cost is $249, with $84 for parts and $165 for mechanic labor. Repair costs vary depending on your vehicle and labor costs in your area.
How long does it take to recharge the AC? It typically takes a certified mechanic about 1.4 hours to look for refrigerant leaks, check the refrigerant levels, make a diagnosis, and recharge the central AC unit.
Check out this overview of average costs to recharge different vehicles:
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 24, 2024
Dodge Caliber
$263
$85
$178
1.4 Hours
May 21, 2024
Cadillac CTS-V
$258
$85
$173
1.4 Hours
May 14, 2024
Jeep Wrangler
$259
$85
$174
1.4 Hours
May 14, 2024
Ford Fusion
$239
$85
$153
1.4 Hours
May 12, 2024
Lexus RX
$246
$85
$161
1.4 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 recharge?

If your car is low on coolant, there’s a good chance that it’s been leaking because of a broken or worn-out HVAC part. It’s vital that you fix the part that’s causing the coolant to leak before you recharge the system. 
To help you calculate home AC recharge costs, here’s a basic overview of the main AC parts and the cost to replace them:
  1. Compressor: The compressor pressurizes the coolant gas into a liquid so that it can move through the system. If you have to replace the compressor, it costs around $800 or $900.
  2. Condenser: The condenser cools the coolant and releases heat. A replacement condenser costs about $250 to $320.
  3. Receiver dryer: When the coolant reaches the receiver dryer, moisture and contaminants are filtered out. A replacement dryer part costs about $20.
  4. Evaporator: The coolant passes through the evaporator to cool the air before it blows into the cabin. Replacing the evaporator will set you back $900 to $1,200.
  5. AC hoses and lines: The coolant flows and passes through these to reach the various parts of the AC unit. Hoses and lines usually cost a few hundred dollars.
If you aren’t doing the repair work yourself, remember to factor in labor costs.
You can purchase various components for your car's air conditioning system from retailers like AutoZone, Amazon, and RockAuto. Some reputable brands we recommend include Denso, Four Seasons, UAC, TYC, Spectra Premium, and ACDelco.
If your car simply needs a recharge of coolant, you won’t need to worry about the OEM or aftermarket part issue. However, if the mechanic finds a damaged AC component like a worn-out AC hose, a broken AC compressor, or a faulty condenser, ask yourself if your car is still under warranty and needs the OEM. Otherwise, you can typically save money by installing an aftermarket replacement part.
Most mechanics and auto shops offer AC repair and AC recharge services. You can also add this service to your vehicle at most oil change shops.

Where can I get my AC recharge?

It’s not hard to find a garage or repair shop that also offers AC recharging. In fact, you might be overwhelmed by your options! Let Jerry's
GarageGuard™
narrow your options. Download the app to compare fair price estimates from over 2,500 vetted repair shops in the US.
You’ll see each shop’s hourly labor rate, find out what’s included in the estimate, and get reviews from real customers so that you can make an informed choice. With Jerry's GarageGuard™, you can
keep your car cool in the summer
without breaking the bank! 
Take a peek at a few of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes near you.
154 Reviews
61 Auto Center
address
1226 Centre Ave, Reading, PA
AC Recharge Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$139
(Parts - $69, Labor - $70)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$70
156 Reviews
Otwell's Auto and Tire Care
address
7304 Indiana Ave # 1, Riverside, CA
AC Recharge Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$223
(Parts - $69, Labor - $154)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
153 Reviews
John Nolan Auto Service
address
15 E 4th St, Newport, Cincinnati, OH
AC Recharge Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$216
(Parts - $69, Labor - $147)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$100
178 Reviews
Florida Tire of Powerline Road Inc
address
6767 Powerline Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL
AC Recharge Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$207
(Parts - $69, Labor - $138)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$50
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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 recharge the AC?

Once an HVAC technician checks the amount of refrigerant to see if there’s a freon leak, they’ll do a full diagnostic of the air conditioning system. This includes inspecting the refrigerant lines and the AC parts. Here’s how they’ll recharge the system:
  1. Check the refrigerant pressure: The mechanic will also take out some of the AC components for easy access.
  2. Evacuate the old coolant: Next, they’ll hook up a coolant recovery machine to your vehicle, so they can safely remove the existing coolant.
  3. Repair or replace damaged parts: This includes checking broken seals that might be causing the coolant to leak.
  4. Reinstall the AC components: The mechanic works in reverse order to put the AC system back in place.
  5. Refill the AC coolant: Your car will get a fresh dose of coolant before the mechanic checks the pressure levels and looks for leaks.
  6. Test the AC: Finally, the mechanic turns on the vehicle and switches on the AC to check that it’s consistently blowing cold air.

Can you drive with low refrigerant?

Certainly! It all comes down to how comfortable you are without a working AC in your car. If you don’t drive much or live in a mild climate, you might not rush out to get the system recharged. This won’t cause any problems as long as you keep the AC turned off. Otherwise, running the system with low refrigerant could damage other AC components.
However, if driving without cool air is a deal breaker, you’ll probably want to get the air conditioning unit inspected and recharged as soon as possible.
Keep in mind: If you drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, it might require a functioning AC in order to help cool its high-voltage battery pack. Driving without a working AC could damage the battery, which is an expensive repair!

What is an AC recharge?

Your car’s air conditioning relies on refrigerant, which is also called coolant or freon. There are different types of refrigerant, so you need to know what type your vehicle uses. 
An AC recharge simply means draining and refilling your car’s refrigerant. Usually, you only do this process if your car’s air conditioning system isn’t making cold air.
The AC might stop producing cold air if there’s a breach in the HVAC system, like a worn-out seal or broken evaporator coil or condenser coil. In this case, it’s important to get the whole system inspected so that you can repair the mechanical issue. Otherwise, recharging the system will be a temporary fix. 

How do I know if my car is low on refrigerant?

Here are the most common symptoms of low coolant levels:
  1. AC doesn’t work at all: If you turn on the AC unit, it just blows hot air or warm air. This can also be a sign that any number of AC components need to be repaired, which is why it’s so important to get an inspection.
  2. AC starts cold but doesn’t stay cold: Schedule an inspection if your car’s thermostat starts out cool when the AC runs but begins to heat up after a few minutes.
  3. Coolant leaks near the AC refrigerant lines: Pop the hood and take a look at the air conditioning lines. If you spot frost or wet spots on them, take your vehicle in for an inspection.
  4. Clicking sounds with no functioning AC: You might hear a click when you try to turn on the AC, but if no cool air blows, it means the AC clutch isn’t engaging. The clutch can’t work if the refrigerant level is too low, so your car might be due for a recharge.

How long should an AC freon last in a car?

The coolant in your car’s AC lasts almost indefinitely since it’s a closed-loop system. It won’t get used up or go bad. Your car only needs a freon recharge if it’s been leaking—in which case, you’ll also need to figure out which AC component needs to be repaired or replaced.

Can I replace the AC coolant in my car myself?

You’ve probably seen DIY AC recharge kits for sale at auto parts stores. While this can be a quick fix, it’s not recommended. Refrigerant is incredibly dangerous and the EPA regulates its handling. Plus, if your car was built before 1995, it uses a refrigerant that’s no longer produced, so recharge kits won’t work for it.
To ensure proper disposal and charging, leave the AC recharge to certified HVAC professionals. Most importantly, they can check for leaks or underlying problems with the AC that might be causing the refrigerant to leak in the first place.

FAQs

Since the AC is essentially a closed loop, you only need to recharge the coolant if it’s leaking. Remember that first, you’ll need to make the necessary repairs to stop the leaking.
Freon is just a particular brand of coolant, which is also called refrigerant. Cars used to use an older refrigerant called R-22 freon. However, researchers found that R-22 refrigerant depleted the ozone layer, so the EPA strictly regulates its use.

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.