AC Repair

Approximately what should the cost for repair and labor be to replace ac in 2000 Ford Focus? Being a widow in a new town, not sure if I get the correct info.

To replace the AC compressor you are in the $550 to $800 range, but other parts may need to be replaced. The condenser and evaporator can easily double this. Before you let anyone work on it, get estimates from 2 or 3 shops to compare prices. To find a shop, look at ‘Mechanics Files’ in the header above, put in your zip code and you will get a list of shops that folks on this site have recommended. Avoid chains, their competency varies widely and is usually on the low end, though some are very good. A good independent mechanic has to make their living on their reputation so they generally do better work.

What is wrong with your AC? Why do you think it needs to be replaced? It may only need a re charge, less than $100. If you already had it recharged and it won’t hold a charge, the repair can be pricey.

Automobile air conditioners are not like home window air conditioners. With a home window unit, you throw it away and replace it with a new unit. With a car system, you replace the defective part or parts.

It depends on what you’re replacing. If the system suffered catastrophic compressor failure and is need of almost complete system replacement, I can see that going $1500. But prices vary widely depending on location. Hourly labor rates across the country vary from $80 to $160 per hour.

“replace ac in 2000 Ford Focus”

I’m sorry, but that just isn’t specific enough . . . not even close

I’ll assume the ac isn’t blowing cold

Do you even know what part is leaking and/or defective?

If you don’t know, then we can’t really give you a meaningful answer

A recover, evacuate, recharge shouldn’t be too expensive

To replace an ac compressor will easily set you back a few hundred to several hundred

To replace an evaporator will set you back even more, because of the labor typically involved

Bottom line . . . we need details, and lots of them. Then we can give you some ballpark estimates

Depending what needs to be done, I’d guess the bid will be around $1250 to $1500.

Suggest to ask friends, co-workers, relatives etc who live in the locale which independent shop they use for AC repairs. From that list choose one, then tell the shop owner who it was that recommended you to them. There’s no need to use a dealership for this, unless your polling shows the dealership is the best shop in the vicinity for this repair.

If the compressor catastrophically let go and the system is now contaminated with metal debris, it’s going to be a pricey repair

And for a 2000 Focus, it may not make economic sense, because it’s not worth much. But if the car is in excellent condition, has reasonably low mileage, has no rust, and has had excellent maintenance from the beginning . . . most especially transmission services every 30K . . . it might be worth such a repair

If the ac compressor did let go, and OP absolutely needs to keep driving the car for some time, but can’t/won’t pay for the complete and proper repair, a bypass pulley and bracket setup may be a cheap way to keep the car alive. Because if the compressor is toast, it may throw the belt, even if you’re not trying to engage the ac compressor

My compressor is locked. If I try to turn on the defroster, the car dies. Really not interested in totally replacing now, but is it possible to bypass an air conditioner so that I can have a heater and defroster for winter?

If the compressor is driven by its own exclusive belt, you can remove (probably most easily cut off) that belt, so the compressor is just sitting there inert.

If the compressor shares a belt, you can unplug something in its control system (maybe the compresor clutch wires) so it will not engage with any setting of the heater controls. That presumes the clutch bearing is OK and allows the pulley to spin freely.

Your defroster action will be somewhat impaired without the AC drying the air, but you can ptetty well compensate by turning up the heat and/or the fan speed. Be sure to keep your heater system set on Fresh, not on Recirculate, so moisture build-up in the cabin is reduced.

There is a relay that turns on the coil for the magnetic clutch, simply remove the relay ad the compressor will not come on. No need to mess with the belts. The relay will most likely be in the underhood fuse and relay panel and is usually well labeled as AC. Any competent mechanic can remove it for you in seconds.

Ask for recommendations from coworkers, neighbors, friends etc for a good mechanic an give him a try. If things work out, use this mechanic for everything from oil changes to repairs. If at the first meeting, he finds about $1000 of needed repairs, leave and find the next recommended mechanic.

Although a new compressor may run up to $1000 so I am talking about other repairs that add up to $1000.

Keith is right - no need to mess with belts if the pulley on the compressor is running freely.

This summer the pulley on my 1999 Honda got noisy and rough. I cut off the belt, which was quite burnt and glazed, to stop the chaos. The pulley was off kilter, the bearings obviously shot. I was lucky in that only the clutch section had disintegrated, not the actual compressor, so no debris got into the AC system. A used compressor with functioning clutch took care of it. That plus a new belt and some R134a. May our OP experience similar good luck!