How Much Does an AC Compressor Clutch Replacement Cost?
The air conditioner compressor clutch is an electromagnetic clutch found on the front of the compressor which uses a magnetic field to turn on and off the car’s air conditioning. Without this clutch, the compressor will not be able to attach to the clutch plate, which in turn, will not allow the system to run.
How much is it?
- You should expect to spend roughly between $75 to $250 or more for the part alone. However, if you need to buy the compressor, this could cost around $600 to $1,000. Used and rebuilt compressors, on average, can cost $200 to $700. This does not include the professional labor. If the labor is included, this can bring the total up to $1,500 to $2,000.
- For example, some users on Clutchfans.net claimed that their labor costs were around $1,800.
- However, another user on the website Anandtech.com claimed that you should be prepared to budget $1,200 for the whole job.
What is going to be included?
- The AC compressor receives energy from the constantly spinning belt drive attached to the engine. The belt, while spinning, turns a rotor to which is attached a friction plate. The electromagnet near the rotor produces a powerful magnetic field when electrical power is applied to the clutch, which then engages to turn the compressor. The air conditioner is powered by another friction plate attached to the rotor.
- The magnetic field produced magnetizes the air conditioner’s rotor and the fan belt motor. What makes the air conditioner rotor spin is the friction between the two plates, although the compressor friction plate does not turn initially when the rotor friction is turning.
- The movement of the compressor stops when the friction plates spring apart after the electromagnet is turned off.
- If you are paying for the parts and labor, the price of AC compressor clutch replacement should include the diagnosis of the problem, the parts that are needed, and the repair of the problem. Once the repair is completed, the shop should give you some type of guarantee that it will last for a certain period of time.
What are the extra costs?
- The extra costs to consider include the tools to use and the labor fee. However, if you are doing it yourself (assuming you know how to rebuild an AC compressor), then the labor cost is excluded.
- If there are any other problems detected when the mechanic is fixing the AC compressor clutch, you may have to pay more to have them repaired at the same time.
Tips to know:
- Before buying the AC compressor clutch, it is important to verify whether the clutch’s failure was caused by compressor problems, whether it had enough power to it, and if the system had sufficient refrigerant power to trip the switch of the clutch safety. If you fail to identify the root of the problem, then replacing the AC compressor clutch will not fix the problem.
- It is also crucial to know the year and engine classification of your vehicle since not all parts are the same, which means that they do not fit all vehicles. The mechanic that you go to or the auto parts store from which you purchase the parts should be able to tell you the specific type that you need for your car. You may also be able to get this information from the car’s manual.
How can I save money?
- If you are going to have the professionals do the replacement of the AC compressor clutch, try to get at least three quotes. If you are certain you know that this is the problem, most mechanics will be more than happy to provide a quote over the phone.
- Those who have limited knowledge of cars should consider doing the job themselves. By performing the job on your own, this can save you upwards of at least one thousand dollars. For instance, this LegacyGT.com guide shows you how to replace the A/C compressor clutch.
- If you do not mind purchasing second-hand parts, consider checking the local junkyard or eBay. This type of car part can be easily salvaged from a car that was totaled in an accident or stopped working for other reasons.
- Try to stay away from car dealerships unless your car is under warranty. They are almost always more expensive than a local mechanic.