Posted under Engine

You may take for granted that your car’s air conditioning system will keep you cool and comfortable even on the hottest of days. But what if, suddenly, it doesn’t? You’d be eager to get it repaired, and you’d be wondering how much does it cost to fix the AC in a car.


To better understand AC recharge cost and other air conditioning repairs, let’s focus on the workings of your car’s climate control system.

Technically known as the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system, it doesn’t just cool a hot car by blowing air into the passenger compartment. HVAC is more complex, changing refrigerant from gas to liquid. 

  1. The compressor is connected to the crankshaft by a belt. This belt contains several pistons that compress the refrigerant gas, resulting in heat and high pressure.
  2. This heated, pressurized gas moves into the condenser, which cools the gas and changes it into liquid form.
  3. The liquid passes through the dryer, which helps ensure no gas is present when the liquid continues to a flow control device (thermal expansion valve, orifice tube, etc.).
  4. The liquid moves through the flow control device to the evaporator. This is where the liquid absorbs heat from the car’s interior and turns it from a liquid to a gas.
  5. A fan blows air from the outside through the evaporator. The fan can also recirculate interior air.
  6. From the evaporator, the gas returns to the compressor, and the process starts all over again.

So, you can see why, if your AC is to work correctly, it must be free of contaminants and have the proper amount of refrigerant. 


The answer depends on the problem and where the work is done. 

Here are common reasons why the AC isn’t cooling the way it should.


The AC system operates under high pressure, so the hoses and other components must be tightly sealed. 

It’s normal for the refrigerant to leak a little (less than an ounce per year). But a significant leak can result in trouble. Leaks can occur when excess pressure, heat, and age take a toll on sealing materials.

The cost of repairing the leak depends on the origin.

  • If the O-rings are leaking, they will require replacement. O-rings are a relatively inexpensive component — a pack often costs around $10 — but because the entire system requires depressurization and evacuation, the labor cost will affect the price. 
  • If the compressor has been running with a low amount of refrigerant for an extended period, it will eventually fail and require replacement. A compressor is a more expensive component than an O-ring.
  • Labor costs will vary and can run between $200 and $500, depending upon the component that requires servicing/replacing.

This means that the total cost of repairing the leak could be anywhere from $100 to $1,000, or more.


No cool air coming into the cabin, unusual noises, and fluid leaks are among the symptoms of a malfunctioning compressor.

The ac repair/replacement of the compressor should be handled properly, and by a trained technician as special tools are required and completing this work may be labor intensive. 

The cost for fixing a compressor:

  • On average, a new compressor costs $100 to $200
  • Labor costs are often between $300 and $800, depending on the make and model of the car


Is there insufficient airflow from the AC ducts? What if you notice dust, pollen, and pollutants entering through those ducts? You may have a clogged cabin filter.

  • Typically you should change the cabin air filter every 15,000 – 30,000 miles. You can find the recommended interval for your specific vehicle in your vehicle owner’s manual.
  • A new filter generally costs between $25 and $50.
  • In most cases, the cabin air filter can be changed in just a few minutes. You may even want to DIY (Do It Yourself). But if you’re one of the many drivers who just doesn’t have the time or desire to get in there and change the filter yourself, you can always visit your local Jiffy Lube service center. 


Remember how we described the HVAC system as “complex?” That indicates that it has multiple components — like the evaporator, condenser, dryer, etc. — that can require repair and/or replacement. 

  • Each of these components must be serviced carefully, with professional tools, to ensure that the entire system doesn’t get contaminated. 
  • The repair/replacement of these parts can be labor intensive and expensive. 


When you bring your car in for AC Evacuation and Recharge, Jiffy Lube technicians will:

  • Visually inspect components for cracks, leaks, and damage
  • Check the operation of the air conditioning compressor
  • Test the function of the compressor and other AC components
  • Evacuate the refrigerant from the system
  • Vacuum test the system
  • Recharge the AC system with the appropriate refrigerant, as specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer
JLI Service member replacing a clogged cabin filter with a clean one to help cool a hot car


Now you know how important the cabin air filter is. Find out how often it should be changed here.

Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit for specific services offered.