AC not working, was quoted nearly $1K to repair 2008 Acura TL

I have an '08 Acura TL 3.5, just over 101,000 miles. Last summer the AC was blowing hot at first, then after a few drives it blew cold just fine. This summer it’s just been blowing hot air. I swapped the relays as a potential easy fix, didn’t fix it. Read online that AC issues aren’t so specific that you’d need to take it to a dealer.

I read some good things about Pep Boys and saw some good reviews, so I decided to get their deluxe AC recharge package for $140. I figured maybe the refrigerant all leaked out. They checked it and said only 4oz of refrigerant leaked out and they replaced it all. Also said the compressor clutch is not engaging and it’s visibly damaged. When I asked for clarification, they said it melted. Quoted me just under $1,000 for parts and labor to replace compressor. I declined, but they said they didn’t have the compressor in to change it now anyway.

Should I pay to get a second opinion? If necessary I’ll probably buy my own OE compressor and take it to a Honda dealer for labor. Does $1K ballpark sound fair? Any help appreciated!

Don’t have any idea where you saw that because that is not the normal feeling most people get.

Second you don’t buy parts and take them to a dealer because then they don’t have to put any warranty on the work. You just need to find a local independent air conditioner shop and have it repaired properly.


Ac issues that aren’t specific= is that code for you can’t figure out whats wrong by watching YouTube videos?

That’s not a good idea, The only warranty you have is that they installed the compressor correctly.

If the compressor is bad or goes bad, you’ll have to pay all the labor again to R&R the compressor.
And then deal with the compressor supplier on their warranty, which they may deny claiming it was improperly installed, good luck proving it.

Some years ago, I had the AC repaired in a Pontiac. IIRC the job ran about $600 at a local independent shop. $1000 in today’s money is probably about right.


Getting repair advice from Pep Boys is the automotive equivalent of getting medical advice from the cashier at CVS or Walgreens.


A dealership will almost surely refuse to accept parts that you carry in. The same applies to many/most indy mechanics. If you can find a mechanic who will allow you to do this, there will be NO warranty from that mechanic, and if the repair fails to work, you will be on the hook for the full cost of the next repair attempt.

When it comes to the issue of bringing parts to your mechanic, my opinion is…
You can’t afford to save money that way.


So you read good reviews about Pep Boys? I guess there is a first time for everything.

They took your $145 and recharged your system with a visibly damaged compressor. What kind of revue would give them?

These national chains prey on people like you who hope one of their prepriced specials will fix your car because you think a real mechanic will be too expensive. Now you have wasted a day and $145 and still need a mechanic and have to hope Pep Boys did not do any additional damage.


Never really did AC work so cant really help you there.

But for your second opinion thing, here’s what i always do, I think it’s really good advice.
step one: get the mechanic to do the diagnoses, if you first fix doesn’t work, or your not sure.
step two: once you know the issue, its SUPER easy to get quotes from 5 different places now
simply go on google find mechanic shops 4 stars or above or just go to places you trust and ask how much for compressor replacement for this, then after 10 minutes of calling around i would usually have price range of places wanting around $850-$1100.

plus if you call you can ask how long the wait is (few days RSVP needed) or were not busy bring it in. So depending on if its an emergency repair, or if you have an important event an need your car etc you can find time frames calling around too.

last, now you know the issue, you can google how much part is and watch how complicated or easy it is on youtube.

also second opinion doesn’t hurt depending on if check up is free or will cost $20-80, sometimes a mechanic can be wrong or say you need more work then what needs to be done, just kinda the business if your an unsuspecting customer.

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Worry about a real mechanic being too expensive? In all honesty, the cost of it had nothing to do with my decision to go to Pep Boys. I intentionally opted for their most expensive AC package because I thought it would get the job done. It was more the ease of setting up the online appointment and the convenience of the location, among other things, that led me to Pep Boys. I’ll think twice before going to a chain store for repair work again. You live and you learn.

I’ve been lucky to have this car for 6 years with this being my first real expensive thing to break. I assumed it would be a quick and easy refrigerant recharge to fix it, and I was obviously wrong. I’ll be the first admit I don’t know much about cars, that’s why I’m here asking for help. And as I said, any help is appreciated.

Back to your original question, $1K to replace an AC compressor is not out of line.

You don’t need to take your vehicle to a dealer to correctly repair this. You will likely get your repair performed correctly at a dealer, but do understand they have an inherent higher cost model. It might cost more at a dealer.

There are many good local and trusted independent garages who can do this repair correctly as well. It will take homework on your part to find a trusted garage.

I would steer away from the chain shops, as you just learned.


Great analogy.


There’s a lot more to repairing ac than swapping in a new compressor. There are many other potential issues that a pro ac specialist can diagnose, and they also would know if special procedures like flushing out contamination is needed.

Ps - NOT Pep Boys


You guys beat me to it. My Acuras never went anywhere other than the dealer but they were usually under warranty. I would never have PepBoys work on my AC though.

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