Replacing an A/C compressor in a 2000 Toyota Camry

I’ve been told that my A/C compressor needs replacing, the cost of which comes to around $1000 - 1200. Is this the kind of job that I, with the right tools and the parts can do myself? I’ve worked on cars before - back in the 80’s granted - and have common sense etc. but acknowledge that I’m only an enthusiastic amateur. Does this require special tools and instruments to make sure all is assembled/lined up/etc. properly, belts tight enough, a degree in computer science or anything else beyond the range of a good socket set, torque wrench and all the other basics? Do I just need the compressor itself or are there other related parts that need replacing at the same time?

Thanks - David Miller

go to and price out the compressor and everything else. you can do this yourself, but can opt to have help with the final steps, like recharging the empty/new system. if you are not good and installation, then you could potentially have leaks at the connections. which you will wish you just paid the pros.

but if you are good and replacement of existing parts, this is nothing to shy away from…except maybe the recharge part as that requires a strong vaccuum first with some sort of device, before refilling the R34 ect. I’d say go for it.

It depends in what manner the compressor failed.

If the clutch bearing on the compressor failed, then it’s just a matter of replacing the compressor and then drawing a vacuum on the system and rechaging the system.

If however the compressor failed internally then it’s a little more complicated. When a compressor fails internally, the burnt oil and metal debris contaminates the entire system. This is called black death. This means the entire AC system must be disassembled so the hoses, condenser, and evaporator can flushed to remove this debris. And in some cases the condenser can’t be flushed but must be replaced. The accumulator/drier and expansion valve must be replaced as these are contaminated with the debris.

Then each component has oil added to them before reassembly. For example you add two ounces to the condenser, and one ounce to the evaporator and hose assembly. Then the system is reassembled, a vacuum is pulled on the system to remove the moisture/air, and the system is recharged.


Hard to diagnose from my enthusiastic but ignorant amateur perspective. Plenty of cold air is still being pumped so all good from that viewpoint. When I set the fan to one of the ‘on’ positions with the A/C on then I hear a loud whining that increases/decreases to the extent that the car speeds up/down. No crunchy noises or anything else like that - just the whining. It goes away after I reach a fast enough speed, it whines mainly as I initially accelerate - goes away if the fan is turned off or the A/C button is deselected.

Thanks - David

fan is turned off? so a/c is switched off when fan is set to off? some cars hvac is like that. or pushing the a/c switch from on to off does the same thing. what is cost break down on repair? 400 for compressor, 155 for accum, or receiver dryer. 300 for labor to evac and recharge system? 1k for a comp swapout is not out of line