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99 Mazda Protege A/C

Hi,



I have a 1999 Mazda Protege and the air conditioning was blowing but not cold. I thought it might need freon, so I took it to a mechanic who said it was full of freon and the problem was the compressor wasn’t working and needed to be replaced ($1100-$1200). So I told him I couldn’t afford that and he said he’d have it put back together.



When I got in the A/C was working again and freezing cold. It worked for a few weeks. Then it started going in and out. It either blows really cold air or doesn’t blow anything cold.



I’m trying to decide if I should keep it or trade it in since it is fairly old, but it doesn’t even have 100,000 miles on it yet. Other than the A/C problems it seems to be running okay.



Does this really sound like the compressor? Or maybe something else?



I’d appreciate any advice/suggestions that you could offer as I’m not very good with car things.



Thank you

You did good questioning this situation. It doesn’t make sense in two ways, usually when a compressor goes completly bad there is mechanical damage to the compressor and it looses its charge yours didn’t. Second you get your car back and it works.

A better apprasisl needs to be done, all the way back to determining if the system is charged to the correct weight and if it is operating withing the designed parameters of low side,high side pressures and outlet temp.

A evaluation of any noises the compressor is making also needs to be done.

Your problem could be as simple as a low charge causing icing or somme other component failure cuasing icing.

You don’t mention mileage, I am discounting the possibility that the compressor is simply worn out based on what info I have,the cars mileage.

I have a similar problem in my van, but it isn’t the a/c system. On mine, there is a vacuum leak in the cold/hot control so that it sometimes starts adding hot air to the mix. If I’m right, you’ll find it always has nice cold a/c when you first start it for the day (cold engine) but as the engine warms up the cold air begins to mix with the warm air from the heater core.

If your temperature control is run on vacuum, you could have a bad temperature control, or a vacuum leak somewhere along the line. Either way, it’s a bit cheaper than replacing your a/c compressor

Based on my experience with a '97 Protege, I’d keep this car for sure. My '97 survived three years with my daughter from 160,000 to 185,000 miles on the odometer with essentially no maintenance other than a few oil changes. The car was hit hard from behind and they are still driving it. The engine still starts and runs flawlessly even though this car has been flogged hard. The cheapest car to own I’ve ever had. Get the A/C fixed and drive on.