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AC repair by a mechanic

Recently my Honda Civic 2006 AC hasn’t been producing cold air, so I took it to a shop. They topped off the Freon for $80; that didn’t help. They then found the relay to be bad and tested a working relay, but then found a bad wire to the air compressor. In the end, they quoted $220 to replace the relay and repair the wiring. They said it is a several hour job.

My first question is can they actually tell the relay is bad without the wiring working? Secondly, does all this sound “right”?

I had a mouse chew through the wiring for the compressor on a '98 Civic. Dealer found and fixed it and never had another problem. Tasty compressor wire?

To answer the question, yes you can check a relay with out it even being plugged into the car. But in my opinion which has little or no bearing on this, they should have checked out why the compressor wasn’t getting power before jumping right to topping the system off.

How did the shop ‘top off’ the freon when the compressor wasn’t operating?

PvtPublic, that’s how I felt as well. The fact that the Freon was half full (as opposed to completely empty) should have clued that something else was the immediate problem (there is still likely a leak, but it’s not what’s causing the lack of cold air at the moment). It is for this reason I’m not sure if I should trust them to do the repair or try another shop.

Well the relay is a $5-15 part and just plugs in so no big deal. One of the first things to look at though when a compressor fails to come on is the pressure switch which is a $25 part. I guess I’d want to know if they checked the pressure switch first and wonder how the wiring could be faulty. Can they show you the bad wiring and they say that caused the relay problem? Or the relay problem caused the wire to overheat or something? I dunno but it sure sounds like they are just kind of shotgunning the thing. If you replace everything, you’re bound to solve the problem. Good point too how they filled it with the compressor not working, and if it was working, how was that a wiring problem?

We all are making assumptions here. None of us were present at shop for repair. You turn on a/c. Does compressor engage? What pressures does system produce? Based on ambient air temp, what is high side pressure and low side pressure?

Your mechanic is going about this backwards. Topping off the system is the last step, not the first. In my experience about half of the A/C complaints I see are purely electrical in nature and don’t require topping off the system. But your car is 8 years old and I see nothing unusual about the system being a little low if it hasn’t been serviced before.

Is the system fixed? Does it blow cold air as it should? If so then you got your system repaired and serviced for $220 which sounds like quite a fair price to me.