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Air Condition Problem

Hello all,

I have a Honda Accord 2003 EX (4 Cylinder) with 106,000 miles on it. A couple of days back, while driving, my AC suddenly stopped working; the fan is still working and is blowing air. Took it to Sears autoshop and they said that probably the freon is gone due to a leakage and they will put in a dye to diagnose the problem.
However, even after the recharge, they said that the AC is not working and the compressor needs to be replaced. Along with that the serpentine belts need to be changed as it looks frayed. The total cost for the repairs will be around $1250. I did not get the work done since somehow I was not very convinced by their diagnosis.
Later I talked to a couple of Honda dealerships and they said that it is difficult for them to give me an estimate for repairs without taking a look at the car which itself would cost around $200.
I am not very sure what is the best way to repair the AC, given the diagnosis from Sears. Also I am reluctant to leave it unrepaired.
It will be very helpful to get your advise and suggestions regarding this problem.
P.S.: Also do you foresee any other problems cropping from the broken down AC system or the frayed serpentine belt?
Thank you all so much…regards.

First of all, stay away from Sears for auto repair.

It’s possible what they told you is true, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. The fact that the AC stopped all of a sudden could indicate a bad compressor, but there are other possibilities, as well, and you don’t want to pay for a new compressor if you don’t have to.

I suggest you find a local, independent shop that specializes in automotive HVAC systems. These places usually also do radiator and cooling system work, and they are the experts.

Be aware, there is nothing cheap about automotive AC work, so be prepared to spend some money to get things working correctly. You could easily spend $1,250 or more, but you want to make sure the work is done correctly.

If the compressor has, indeed, failed, there may be more parts that need to be replaced because of contamination from the failed compressor, but there’s no way to know without further testing.

If you live in a hot area; FL, AZ, for example; you might find some AC specialty repair shops. If so, that’s where I’d take the car for a diagnosis. Sears, Pep Boys, etc. are not my first choice for repairs.

Thank you very much McParadise and UT.

I think you’re being given an incorrect diagnosis by Sears and I agree, find an A/C specialty shop.

The 200 dollar estimate to take a look at this thing sounds a bit high to me. I would think someone should have a pretty good idea of what’s wrong with it inside of 10 or 15 minutes.

Thanks Ok4450!