Mechanics can't fix my AC please help me!

Hello, I have a Honda civic 2005 LX, 170,000 miles. I love this car as I went through my tough time with it. I don’t want to give it up until it dies if possible. Only issue of this care is AC does not work when temperature is hot. It works really good when it’s cold/rain. When I turn on the car and AC in the morning, the compressor works fine for 5-10 minutes and it turns off when the engine is normal temp.(below mid line). I went to one local mechanic and I was told Freon level is good. They spend about an hour to figure out what’s going on and they told me that I need to change my entire compressor, which costs about $1,000. I felt they just can’t figure out what exactly causes it and want to just scare me with big $, to make me give it up. (because compressor works fine when it’s cold. I think something with temperature) I recently changed my Thermostat, filled up coolant, and changed crutch-AC relay fuse but no change in the AC symptoms. Can anyone help me with this please? I will need AC for sure when I move into Arizona next summer! Thank you

Your compressor may have a thermal limit switch.

The thermal limit switch cuts power to the compressor clutch if the compressor should be begin to run too hot.

Years ago you could order a new thermal limit switch for the compressor and replace it if that was the problem. But these days, if the thermal limit switch is the problem, the compressor is replaced.



We need some more information

Why does the car need a new compressor?

Compressor housing leaking?

Compressor clutch failed?

By the way, a vehicle with a low refrigerant charge will blow cold air on a cool morning. But it will fall flat on its face on a 95 degree day

How does the mechanic know for sure you have the correct refrigerant charge? Did he do an evacuate, recover, recharge? Or is he just guessing the charge is correct, based on the hi and low side gauges?

A/C problems are extremely difficult to diagnose over the internet without knowing both high and low side pressures; at idle and at elevated RPMs.
It would also help to know the dashboard vent outlet air temperature.

Whether or not this was notated on your copy of a repair order I have no idea but it should be.
Unfortunately, this is seldom done and leaves a lot of murkiness later.

The only reason a compressor should be needed would be if it’s noisy, leaking refrigerant, or system pressures are not what they should be because the compressor is just worn out.

You should not read too much into the works fine when it’s cold outside part of this.

@Tester: Thank you for your opinion. I wasn’t aware of the thermal limit switch. @db4690: the mechanic said there is very slow leak of the refrigerant. He evacuated and recharged. But the mechanic thought it was not refrigerant as symptoms continued after he recharged. @ok4450: Thank you for your opinion!

It’s quite normal for an aged automotive A/C system to leak a little refrigerant. A leaky system can work fine for years as long as the refrigerant, refrigerant oil, and system pressures are kept at least close to what they should be.

If @tester; is right about the thermal limit switch, you could check to see if a used compressor is avaivable from a salvage yard.
That could save you quite a bit for the price of a compressor itself.

JUst checked on a new one*15824

AC seems always expensive to fix.

Now that you know what the problem is…the compressor…maybe you should shop around.

Or…I’m not well versed on AC repair but, I think that when they evacuate a system they weight the refrigerant, then when they recharge it they bill you only for the amount that they had to add to top it off.

So maybe someone like Tester could chime in.
Could the OP…have it evacuated…replace the pump her/himself…and take it back to be recharged after it’s put under vacuum.

Saving the labor costs of R&R and buying a pump her/himself.


I agree with @ok4450 on this. I have owned vehicles for years that needed a shot of refrigerant to keep the AC going through the summer. If I ever have to replace the AC compressor then it’s time to replace the vehicle.

Thank you all. @ok4450, @Yosemite, and @missileman. I checked with one local mechanic and he said he will replace it with $300 labor. I see the OEM compressor itself is around $150-$200. Do you guys think $300 labor is reasonable? Thank you all again especially @Tester.

Does this price include rechargeing the system too. Or is that another charge!!!