2003 Buick Encore AC won't start without opening hood

Need to open and close the hood for A/C to start. I can hear a click when the hood closes. I need to know where under the hood this switch is located. Dealer wants $200 to run a diagnostic scan (scam?).

Not a scam . Do you work for free , well neither do they. There is not a switch that the hood can effect on the air conditioner operation. Just find an independent shop .

1 Like
  1. It’s a 2003! No diagnostic code for a/c problems. That’s the
    “scam”! I have a scanner and there is NO CODE. Even the fancy one the
    dealer has won’t help.
  2. It’s the physical SHOCK that seems to affect the switch. A bump in
    the road, like a speed bump, can do the same thing.
  3. I grew up building hot rods and race cars. I have always worked on
    car and motorcycles, but now I am 78 and a disabled veteran that can no
    longer even change the oil myself.
  4. Sorry that there was not enough room in the comment section to fully
    explain the situation.
  5. I had my own businesses, before and after my military service. I
    don’t need to be lectured about a business needing to be paid. I also
    know that you don’t stay in business by ripping off “customers” by
    treating them a suckers.
  6. Your comment was not only not helpful, it was insulting and not
    worthy of CAR TALK.

If that wasn’t then lets try this one. Your vehicle is 15 years old so a dealer will be more costly then an independent shop that specializes in air conditioners.


@WesHedges of course no one here knows your history. Perhaps someone else has an idea about your hypothesis.

@VOLVO_V70, easy with that sarcasm.

So the car is running with the ac on and not working then you slam the hood and the compressor kicks in? Try whacking the compressor with a rubber mallet and see if it kicks on.


Then if it were I, I would try wiggling a few wires or as @Barkydog said, try giving the compressor a wack.

You pretty much diagnosed it your self.

I would think that all your years working on “Hot Rods” you could figure this one out.
Sounds pretty simple to me!!!
Either a wire is loose/corroded and not making contact, or the compressor clutch is not engaging like it should.

As for @VOLVO_V70 comments: he was just being honest. There may not be a scan to do to get any codes that are stored in the computer for AC…but the service tech would diagnose the problem and he should get paid!!!
Most service writers would not know how to add air to a tire…and would not know if there were AC codes to begin with. He most likely tells people they will scan their computer to find out why their antenna fell off on the highway. He has not clue!!!

Though $200 does seem high.

And for being a member who just joined “car talk” …one day ago…I don’t think you can judge weather @VOLVO_V70 's comments were not worthy…@VOLVO_V70 has been here for many years and has given many people who come here good advise.



The space provided to describe my problem didn’t allow for a
comprehensive description. I’ll take the heat for not explaining it more
completely. I have two more responses. One was nice, the other ??.
Volvo_V70’s attitude has spoiled this site for me. I have enjoyed
reading CAR TALK in my newspaper for many years but now …

Good try. Didn’t work. But there is a “black box” on the right front
fender. That whack did the trick. Now I have to see if there is a
switch or relay inside that can be replaced. I can not find a switch of
relay in the electric schematic - but gotta be something there. Thanks.
Obviously you’ve gotten your hands “in the grease”. I have to play
supervisor to younger hands these days.

@WesHedges your initial post had little info while accusing your mechanic of wanting to scam you. You are free to believe the cost more than you think fair and decline the service.

No one on this forum is a mind reader. And in my opinion @VOLVO_V70’s response was fair. Just as you feel being charged that price for diagnosis is unfair, @VOLVO_V70 is free to consider your statement inferring that charging for time and labor being a scam is unfair of you.

This forum is full of folks who volunteer their time, knowledge, experience, and expertise for free to help people. Now you want to bad mouth the entire forum because you started out with a hostile attitude.

Please consider that once you actually gave relevant details you received relevant advice. Just because you are pissed off at your mechanic need not be taken out on folks here.

Take some time to read multiple discussion threads and discover the good worth of the forum’s regulars, including @VOLVO_V70.

1 Like

barkydog helped. The old hot rods (50’s and 60’s) didn’t have a lot of
complicated wiring and a/c was for the rich folks. Truthfully, I’ve
never been a fan of “whacking” as a diagnostic tool. But will defer to
barkydog. Same with wiggling wires. But if someone else wants to do that
on their vehicles, fine with me.
I believe I HAD identified the problem as a faulty switch (or relay -
same effect) and was hoping that one of you younger geniuses could point
me to WHERE it might be.

I did decline the service. I thought site was for “car people” who
actually worked on their cars. My bad. I would have put a lot more info
in my post if there was space for it.
Charging $200 up front for something that is not going to do any good
or help fix the problem IS A SCAM. The owner of the dealership has now
called me and informed me that I was NOT treated in accordance with
their policy and standards. I DO NOT OBJECT TO PAYING AUTO MECHANICS, OR

That black box that you whacked contains the relays. If the inside of the cover does not list which relay is which, your owners manual will list them. Look under Fuses in the index.

As for the articles in your news paper; they are reprints from years ago.
One brother is retired and one dies about 7 years ago.
This site is all car enthusiasts that donate their time to try to help owners with their cars a try to get them back on the road. @cdaquila is our moderator who keeps us "On track and civil.
We all welcome you and hope that you read some of the other posts to get a better judgment of the site.

Stick around as we have a lot of people around here that are in your age group that participate and were raised in the era of 6 volt batteries, “ballast resistors & carburetors”. I’m in that same group!!!

From the sites “About the Car Talk Plaza category” page.

Community Trust

It’s great to meet you! As you participate here, over time we’ll get to know you, and your temporary new user limitations will be lifted. Keep participating, and over time you’ll gain new trust levels that include special abilities to help us manage our community together.

We believe in civilized community behavior at all times.

Enjoy your stay!

We hope you stay around and participate in the discussions



Thank you. That is EXACTLY the information I was seeking. I did not
anticipate being attacked as a cheapskate.
I have outlived half a dozen INDEPENDENT MECHANICS. Three years ago my
last INDEPENDENT MECHANIC replaced the the front CV/axle/hub/brake/shock
assemblies on both sides. He was scheduled do the same to to the rear
when he passed away. FYI. The reason I still drive my '03 and my wife
gets a new car is simply that mine has expensive handicap modifications.
So she can’t drive mine and I can’t driver hers. I plan on the '03 being
my last automobile.

I thank the two individuals who kindly responded with helpful
assistance. Those of you who assumed that I had any intention of
personally defrauding or accusing any working mechanic of their
livelihood - I refer you to the famous quote of Mr. Davey Crockett.

This is my final contact with this site.

I don’t know if you found the problem with your AC, but I had the same problem with my 1990 Ford Aerostar minivan. My problem was the blower motor. If I opened and shut the hood, the motor would come on. I also found that hitting the motor with a rubber mallet would get it to work. On the Aerostar the motor for the AC was under the hood.
My problem was easy to diagnose as the Aerostar had rear air as well and the rear AC worked.

If I had that problem the first thing I’d want to know is whether the hood opening event was related to the compressor clutch becoming engaged. It may require the front end be lifted so someone can watch from under the car. If opening the hood starts the compressor for some reason, then you’d have a clue where to start the sleuthing.

Well the OP did not believe in wiggling wires or giving the compressor a wack with a rubber mallet so he’s never had to deal with broken wires or stuck solenoids. He was so adamant that we were nuts by suggesting something like this, but I giess he finally did givew something a wack and it steered him in the right direction.

Sounds that he felt that if it is not a something he can visually see broken…it’s not broken.

I don’t know how many things under the hood that I’ve had to give a rap to diagnose a problem. A bad starter, sticky IAC valve, etc etc.
And it’s not unusual to find a broken wire or just a bad connection on a car that’s already 15 years old.

I hope he got it fixed.


I have a thought on the shop owner contacting OP

I don’t see it as any kind of admission of wrong doing, improper procedures, etc.

I see it as “Let’s talk to this guy. Even though we did everything properly, he’s upset. Let’s try to defuse the situation, because we’re worried he’s going to slam us on yelp or google reviews”

I read a lot of professional trade magazines, and that is often the subject of discussion. Social media can play a significant factor nowadays. A lot of people read online reviews, and a bad one can turn away many potential customers.

The advice given in these professional trade magazines is often to just appease the guy complaining, because it’s cheaper to do so, versus having that guy say negative things about you, which might cause you to NOT gain future customers, and, worse yet, might cause current customers to part ways with your business


Yep. The owner was just trying to defuse the situation, and I think the guy has a short fuse to begin with.

You could see that in his reply to everything that anyone said.



We had ways of checking continuity called meters. But if you prefer
hammers that’s fine wih me.