Ac service high cost

Hello everyone.

Just wanted to share the cost to clean my 2018 Lexus IS 300 fsport AC.

I’ll never be using the dealership after this. I promise.

This week a very strong foul smell was coming out of the AC vents. Even with the AC turns off. So I took it to the Toyota dealership instead of Lexus to save on cost.

I was billed $549.

It’s on my credit card.

2 days after the service the odor seems to be returning. So I’m talking it back to the dealer.

Or should I wait for things to settle?

According to Toyota, they had to remove the blower motor to clean out the fan, replace the filter, deodorize, disinfect the ventilation system.

I just can’t fantom the cost.

Unfortunately, newer vehicles are susceptible to bacterial growth leading to unpleasant odors from the A/C, compared to those from the 1980s and 1990s. And unfortunately, the labor time needed to access the evaporator and drain pan for cleaning is much higher as well.


Do take it back, in my opinion they missed something.
Cost seems reasonable considering what they did, removing the blower motor involves a lot of time.


Get used to it. It will only get worse.


Take it back and ask for additional service. If they haven’t done it already, they may have to replace all of the ventilation system that is wetted by air if they haven’t done that already. Make sure the odor hasn’t transferred to surfaces inside the cabin of your IS300. They may want you to wait a while but at least you will have alerted them to the continued odor. No matter what they do, make sure you get a receipt so that the Toyota dealer can’t claim they didn’t look at the car again.

Watched a few videos on air duct cleaning. A suv usually has under hood air intake filter. A sedan usually has a filter mounted near glovebox. Removing a fan assy is usually not hard but I could see several hrs labor for fiddling around. Did they disinfect the evaporator? Not sure on process for your car.

Shop time in my area (new jersey) now costs an average of $200 per hour. That can add up very quickly.


Blower motor assembly R&R is only 0.6 hours labor so pretty easy, however that does not include recover, evacuate and charge system if necessary…

Unfortunately given your health issues I don’t think there is not much you would be able to do yourself to be trying to deodorize your vehicle, so given you ways to do it yourself may not be an option…

Like others said above, probably best to take back to the dealer and let them know the smell is back what do you need to do next… Don’t be rude at 1st, you might have to get to that point, but not at 1st… lol


I guess I was not over charged then. Things are becoming expensive these days.

It costs a service business, be it part of a dealership or independent, a lot of money for rent and other occupancy expenses, insurance, supplies, utilities, administrative costs and other items, aside from the direct labor costs of the mechanics.

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IIRC Ray suggested to a caller with similar problem to turn the hvac to fresh air, fan on “high”, and spray some disinfectant (Lysol I think) at the fresh air inlet vents at the bottom of the windshield. Probably worth a try.

As far as $549 fee for removing the blower motor, cleaning the fan area, etc … hmm … that job probably took a couple of hours for the tech to complete. Probably a fixed $150 shop rate (for any job, supplies, space your car is taking in the shop, etc), so around $400 for the labor?
Suggests they are billing around $200 per hour for labor. That wouldn’t be very much out of line in this area for dealership labor, but does seem a little on the high side.

Temperatures are in the 90’s where I live, half of the customer vehicles have stinky A/C systems. The main problem is all late model Lexus vehicles automatically switch the A/C system to recirculate when the ambient temperature is over 75 F to save fuel. Customers forget to switch the system to fresh air or worse, they keep the temperature setting on “LO”. Breathing the same air over and over again will foul up the A/C evaporator.

There is a cleaning process that involves injecting a foam cleaning solution into the evaporator case via the evaporator drain tube. Unfortunately, the evaporator drain tube is not accessible on the Lexus IS, it is located above the transmission.

An alternative method would be to remove the blower motor and inject the cleaning solution through that opening, this explains the additional labor.

It is only a matter of time before the customer gets the evaporator dirty again, so this is a service I like to avoid.

Why did you agree to it? There are do-it-yourself methods of disinfecting an A/C system.

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How does one go about switching the AC to fresh air ? I’ve never heard of this before. Please educate me.

That will be in your owners manual .

Hi Volvo. Most of your suggestions are to consult the cars user manual, a very thick book containing a lot of information. I never found it to be helpful but rather exhausting as I hate to spend hours searching just for a simple answer.

Maybe you are familiar with fresh air and re-circulating features? If yes, it’ll be better to tell me what you know about it, what the buttons look like, so that you can be a bit more helpful.

Well , the owners manual will have a picture of the dash and will show what each one does . There might be other buttons that you are Clueless about.

I can guarantee that one of the buttons for your HVAC system allows you to toggle between outside air and recirculated air. While the placement of this button varies from one model to another, all of them use a similar symbol for that function. Normally, if you have selected “recirculate” there will be a small LED that is illuminated. When outside air is selected, there is no LED illuminated.

Anyway, here is a pic of a typical Recirculate button:


Thank you very much. I see this button in my car. It is always selected on off.

Maybe that’s why my AC stinks? Outside air coming in ?

Those who continually use recirculated air are more likely to wind-up with odors… as well as fogged-up windows in the winter. The likely causes of stinky A/C include mold/mildew in the ducts, or–sometimes–a dead rodent in the duct.


As VDC said. Usually when you select outside air you will get more airflow if you open a window a 1/2 inch, I open the rear passenger side window to minimize noise.
I f you choose to try spraying Lysol into the air intake be sure to have HVAC controls set to outside air.
Check your carpets for any damp spots, that might be the source of the odor, when in recirculating mode air is drawn in under the dash.

But, aside from that, take it back to the dealership explaining that the AC still has an odor. In my humble opinion, they should honor their work.