How Dangerous is it?

The A/C on my 2001 CRV (119000+ miles) no longer works. According to the dealer, the bolt sheared off the A/C compressor, and the mechanism itself must be on the road somewhere. After quoting me over $1000 for parts alone, the dealer indicated this was a safety issue as more pieces might go flying off into the works of the car. When I tried to find out how serious a safety issue it was, the guy hedged. So, do I spend big bucks to fix the car or do I let it go until I have to? Can I repair it with used parts or do I have to suck it up and go with the dealer?

According to the dealer

There is no reason to take your car to a dealer, with very few exceptions.

I would find a local A/C place and have them take a look at it. (Note: Local A/C place is not a nationwide chain.) Many local A/C shops hide out as radiator shops during the off season.

They will likely be cheaper and do as well or better job.

Avoid all chains.

Do you mean that your A/C compressor fell of while you were driving and you didn’t notice it? Can you post a picture of your engine bay for us? I can’t believe that an entire compressor came off the engine by shearing off one bolt, fell into the engine bay, bounced around, fell through to the ground, didn’t bounce up and hit the underside of the car, and you didn’t notice anything. And what about the drive belt? Is it just flopping around in there? Anything else use this drive belt with the A/C compressor? Rocketman

How badly do you want AC?

There is MORE to this story…Most modern cars use a serpentine belt to drive ALL the accessories including the A/C…If the compressor “fell out”, NOTHING would work, you could not drive the car…Also the hoses would prevent the compressor from falling out on the road.

So take it to an independent mechanic and find out what REALLY happened…

Just based on what the OP has stated it sounds to me like the center retaining bolt for the outer clutch plate broke and this part fell off. This would leave the inner clutch coil/bearing assembly still in place and retained by a snap ring.

Odds of this part falling off are slim but if the bearing was to seize it’s entirely possible the rest of the assembly could disentegrate.

The guy is hedging not because he’s trying to hide anything; it’s because you’re asking a question that he (or anyone else) has the answer to. He’s not psychic.

You can repair it with used parts but if you go this route and have someone else do the work do not get upset and try to lay the blame on them if the used part turns out to have a problem or two.

Thanks all for the replies. I took Mr Meehan’s advice and took it to a local radiator / AC repair shop; they had a look-see and yes it is the faceplate that OK4450 refers to that is actually missing and yes, it needs repair because of the serpentine belt that Caddyman refers to. (The guys at the shop were also ‘we gotta see this if the compressor is missing’)… but in any event entire repair is going to be less than the cost for parts the dealer quoted, so the repair is scheduled for this week.

This problem is often caused by the compressor itself failing due to seizure. (lack of oil and this can snap the belt also)
This means that not only should the compressor be replaced but the entire system should be thoroughly flushed and the accumulator replaced also. Failing to do this just guarantees trouble so make sure this gets done.

The independent shop is generally cheaper than a dealer because the dealer normally uses (in this case) Honda OEM parts and the labor rates are higher out of necessity. It’s not because they’re gouging.
Some people are under the misconception that the dealer procures the parts from Honda at a near scrap metal price due to wholesale, etc. and this is not the case. Honda Motor Company is charging and charging the dealer plenty for those parts.