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Air Compressor Relay Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your air compressor relay replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your air compressor relay 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 air compressor relay?

The average cost to swap out compressor relays is $105-$130.
How long does it take to replace an air compressor relay? Fortunately, this is a quick repair job! It usually takes a certified mechanic around 1-1.5 hours to do the replacement. This includes the time it takes to inspect and diagnose the AC.
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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 air compressor relay replacement and how much do those parts cost?

Really, the only part you need to pick up is the replacement air conditioning compressor relay, which costs around $10 to $20. You don’t even need fancy tools or equipment to do the replacement, although wearing eye protection is always advised whenever you pop your car’s hood.
You can buy replacement parts for your air compressor relay from auto parts stores like AutoZone, NAPA Auto Parts, and Advance Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three brands we recommend for their reliability are Dorman, ACDelco, and Standard Motor Products. Keep in mind that the best options for your air compressor relay parts will vary depending on your’s year, make, and model.
First, find out if your car is still under warranty, since installing aftermarket replacement parts risks voiding your warranty. If it’s not, feel free to use an aftermarket air compressor relay if it fits your budget better. This isn’t a very expensive part, so you won’t save a ton of money, but you might have an easier time shopping for an aftermarket relay.
Before you start shopping, check your owner’s manual for your air compressor relay part number. Take this number with you to any auto part store or use it to buy the relay online.
We recommend checking out local auto parts shops like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts or online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto.

Where can I get my air compressor relay replaced?

Not big on automotive DIY? No problem! Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can help you research car repair shops near you. Download the app to compare fair price estimates from over 2,500 vetted repair shops in the US.
You’ll also see each shop’s hourly labor rate, find out what’s included in the estimates, and be able to read customer reviews. With GarageGuard™, you’ll know you’re choosing the best service at a price that works for you.
Through some of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes near you.
195 Reviews
Tune Up Plus - Virginia Beach
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5225-A, Indian River Rd, Virginia Beach, VA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
115 Reviews
Velasquez Auto Care - Cesar Chavez
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709 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee, WI
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$35
123 Reviews
Zimmerman Automotive LLC
address
7638 Airpark Rd A, Great Falls, VA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$50
148 Reviews
Mobileworks Auto Maintenance
address
7216 Whispering Pines Dr, Dallas, TX
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
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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 air compressor relay?

As far as repair services go, replacing the compressor relay is a quick fix! A technician who is skilled in working with AC systems will follow these steps:
  1. Locate the AC compressor relay: Usually, the fuse box sits inside the engine bay, although this relay might be near the compressor.
  2. Remove the bad air compressor relay: After locating the relay, the mechanic simply pulls it up and out of the fuse box.
  3. Install the new air compressor relay: Next, the mechanic aligns the terminals with the slots in the fuse box before they push the new relay in.
  4. Test the AC: All that’s left is to switch on the system and check that cold air blows through the cabin.

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

You can drive without a working air compressor relay, but your AC won’t work, and who wants to drive in the summer without a cool cabin? Keep in mind that driving without a functioning compressor also affects your car’s ability to defrost foggy windows, so it’s a good idea to get this replacement done.

What is an air compressor relay?

A relay is a switch that sends power to the AC compressor. You might also see the part called a compressor clutch relay or relay switch. The air compressor relay plugs into a fuse box. 
The compressor is the AC component that pressurizes the refrigerant (also called coolant), so it can move through the system and create cool air to blow throughout your car’s cabin. If the compressor doesn’t get the power it needs, the whole system struggles to work.

How do I know if my air compressor relay is bad?

Air conditioning problems can be tricky to diagnose since faulty parts may show the same symptoms. If your compressor relay is damaged or broken, look for these common signs:
  • Air compressor doesn’t switch on: When the AC compressor works, you’ll hear it click, and then the AC blows cool air. If the relay is bad, you won’t hear a click, and the system will blow hot or warm air.
  • AC works off and on: If the AC works sometimes but not all the time, it’s a sign that the compressor relay needs to be replaced.
  • AC doesn’t blow cold air: The AC won’t work at all if the relay isn’t sending power to the compressor.
The symptoms of a bad air compressor relay could also point to another problem with your vehicle’s air conditioning system, such as the AC compressor, condensing unit, blower motor, or evaporator. Troubleshooting AC problems can be complicated, so bring the car to a certified AC professional if you’re not sure what’s causing the problem. 

How long do air compressor relays last?

Unlike many car parts, compressor relays are measured in cycles of how many times you turn them on and off—not miles or years. A replacement air compressor relay should last for up to 50,000 cycles. Most drivers find that this works out to around ten years’ worth of driving.
Keep in mind: Air compressor relays aren’t inspected during regular car maintenance. If you suspect something is wrong with the compressor relay, ask to get it checked out (along with the rest of your air conditioning system).

Can I replace the AC compressor relay?

If you know your way around your car’s fuse box, you can save on labor costs while doing the car AC repairs yourself. It’s as simple as swapping out switches! 
However, if you’re not sure that the air compressor relay is causing the problems with your AC unit, you may want an HVAC professional to make a diagnosis first.

FAQs

Relays can wear out over years of wear and tear. The compressor relay may overheat if there’s a problem with a different air conditioning part and too much electricity flows through the relay.
It typically costs around $1,000 or more to replace an AC compressor. Repair costs for a bad AC compressor relay are considerably lower, so start by fixing the relay and move on to the compressor if necessary.

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.