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Honda Fit - Air conditioner problem

I drive a 2007 automatic Honda Fit with almost 188,000 miles on it. I live in the Deep South. Recently the air conditioner has been taking from 10 – 20 miles of travel before it starts to cool… I had Freon checked and put some in about a week ago. Seemed to help very briefly. Now back to taking some time to start cooling. Took it back to the mechanic yesterday and now they said it needs a new compressor – cost $1,500. I was horrified. My husband talked with them and again explained how it acts – when it does finally start cooling it does great and we have to actually back off the A/C – gets too cold quickly. Anyway they are now planning on checking and replacing some sort of valve first on Monday – cost around $250. So what do you think? Does it need the more expensive compressor? Could it be something else? We do NOT live close to a Honda dealer and they are almost always more expensive. It is not yet extremely hot here, but will be soon. I travel a lot for my job and have to have A/C.

Does the system hold pressure? The high side pressure should remain the same long after a recharge. If not, then seals or a leaky valve are the issue. As long as the compressor runs, the only way it could be a problem is if the internal seals are shot and the unit cannot completely compress the fluid. Then it won’t expand enough to drop the temperature as it should.

Sounds like what the technician did was check the refrigerant pressures and found it running low pressures so he added refrigerant to the system. After adding the refrigerant, the suction pressure did not go up, or make it cool any better. So know he is thinking that the problem is a defective expansion valve that is restricting the flow of refrigerant, which is possible, because expansion valves do fail. However the problem could also be that the compressor is in fact starting to fail which is slowly grinding itself apart sending small shards of metal particles through the system, which is clogging up the expansion valve or screen in the expansion valve causing the restriction. In which case the compressor would need replaced along with the expansion valve receiver/drier and possibly other parts which could add up to the $1,500 or more.

So at this point he is going to recover the refrigerant open up the system, remove the expansion valve, and hopefully inspect the inside for debris, and then be able to better determine the problem. Thats when you might get the call saying sorry it needs a new compressor and will cost you $1,500.

@babara did the mechanic say the compressor was leaking? It it was, I would get it replaced, along with that expansion valve.

What is he replacing for $1500??? That is very, very, very high for just a compressor… Usually they are in the 700 range to replace, and that includes a new dryer,

@gsragtop some AC compressors are EXTREMELY expensive just for the part alone, if you’re buying a factory part. Factor in a dryer/accumulator, R-134a, seals, labor, tax, etc, and I’m beginning to see the $1500.

@db4690 no way not a Honda fit, it’s not a Lexus or high end vechical. I have found compressors online from 150-450. For this job $1000 is probably as high as you should go and that’s high… I replaced the compressor in my crv for 350 in parts…

@gsragtop according to rockauto.com there are three engine available
1.2
1.3
1.5

The Delphi compressor for the 1.2 is over $500. I don’t know what engine the OP has. But if a Delphi branded compressor costs over $500 on rockauto, can you imagine what the part would cost if it had that Honda sticker on it?!
You probably used aftermarket parts and installed it yourself, right?
It sounds like the OP can’t do that.
Also, a lot of independent shops mark up the parts like nobody’s business.

The valve they’re talking about is the expansion valve at the evaporator.And this could be the problem. The expansion valve meters the amount of refrigerant that enters the evaporator as a gas. And this is what creates the cold air out of the vents.

If at some point cold air comes out of the vents it means there’s nothing wrong with the compressor and the system has enough refrigerant. So the problem is most likely with the expansion valve.

Tester

The OP never mentioned if the compressor was externally leaking.

The charge could be about right after parts, labor, chemicals, etc is all added up but like DB I’m also wondering if it has a leak based on the recharged part of the statement.

It would be interesting to know how much refrigerant it took on the charge and if the choice of the word Freon is the OPs or the shop. With the latter, that could be nitpicking but if it’s the latter and not used as slang that might lead to some questions.

Another possibility (just throwing it out there) is a blend door that is iffy. At 188k miles anything is subject to failure.

Im assuming the op is in the USA, where the fit only has one motor the 1.3… I think the 1.2 is a euro diesel…

I think the U.S version is the 1.5 liter engine