2006 Toyota Corolla air conditioner

My Ac quit working, and my mechanic has charged it twice and added the colorant to find a leak, but no leak yet. He says this could take 3 or 4 times. Then he said if the leak is in the condenser (?) behind the dashboard it could cost $1500 to fix. Yikes! In Hawaii, I can’t live without my car’s AC. The car has less than 40,000 miles on it, and no other issues. I just bought new tires (for the first time!) last year. Is this reasonable, or is he trying to take advantage of a grandma?

Nope, everything he told you is spot on. Your AC coil is buried deep inside a lot of interior parts that must be removed to reach. Given the cost of labor in Hawaii, that’s probably a good deal.

Here’s a four-part tutorial that’s pretty good at explaining how the car’s AC system works, why it fails, and what can be done to diagnose & fix it.


Note: The condenser is in the engine compartment; it’s the evaporator that’s behind the dash. Either can leak refrigerant. If you follow the articles, you’ll see that the AC can stop working for reasons besides refrigerant leaks. One common cause is the fans in the engine compartment stop working. So good idea check those before embarking on anything complicated.

You were driving around on 12 year old tires in a tropical climate? I wouldn’t. Age and sunlight degrade tires. Notice how parked RV’s have covers on the tires? I live in Southwest Florida. I would change my tires at 6 years or so regardless of miles. Just another paradise tax.