How Much Does Car Air Conditioning Repair Cost?

Updated November, 2020
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Unfortunately, AC repairs are some of the most expensive repairs car owners have to make. They range anywhere between $300-$4,000 depending on the nature of the issue, plus driving long-term causes irrevocable damage to your air conditioning system. Thankfully, many repairs are minor, such as leakage or lack of freon, substantially reducing the cost.

Signs your AC needs fixing

Air conditioning problems are some of the worst issues you can experience as a car owner. So much so that it could lead to a little paranoia on your part (especially in the summer!) Here are a few tell-tale signs your AC needs fixing.

It's blowing warm air

If your AC has recently started blowing warm air, it's a sign there's little-to-no freon left, or it's indicative of something more serious. Either way, it's the trademark sign of a bad AC, and a hint that you'll be spending a few hours at the mechanic's shortly.


This is a bad sign. While it could mean a few different things, it generally hints that if you're not already experiencing warm air, it's just on the horizon. The good thing about this sign is that it usually happens before the AC gives out altogether.

Bad smell

If your car blows foul-smelling air at you, there's something wrong. The exciting thing here is that you won't always experience this in conjunction with the AC actually giving out. It may be a sign well in advance, or merely an indication your AC isn't working optimally.

What's the cost of repairing the AC system?

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common and most expensive repairs your car could need. Generally, it costs anywhere between $100-$300 just to have your vehicle evaluated. Here are a few more statistics:

  • The repairs themselves average between $150-$800, depending on the issue
  • Extensive repairs can exceed $1,000, capping out at about $4,000
  • Installing air conditioning in cars that never had them can cost up to $4,000

How long can I expect repairs to take?

Despite the intimidating cost, the repairs themselves typically don't take too long. Most mechanics can have your car back to you same day; the whole ordeal taking approximately 5 hours. At most, you could be asked to leave your vehicle overnight.

Is it okay to drive with a broken AC system?

Despite the fact it's not great for your comfort, driving with a broken AC for long periods can cause irreversible damage. Remember, you're dealing with materials that corrode. Therefore, you have to take careful consideration before letting the problem go on for too long. Otherwise, when you finally decide to repair your air conditioning, your problem that would have cost a couple hundred dollars could become a problem that costs several thousand.

Does my insurance pay for maintenance and repairs?

If the stereo was damaged because of a crash where you were not at fault, the other driver's liability insurance should cover the damage to your AC. However, if the damage wasn't incurred by an accident, it could still be covered by your insurance if you have comprehensive insurance and it was damaged as a result of a non-driving incident such as fire, weather, or theft.

Unfortunately, insurance doesn't cover normal wear and tear, so if this isn't what's happened to you, your policy won't cover the damage. However, considering how expensive AC repairs are, it's a prime example of why it's so essential to purchase supplemental insurance plans.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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