10+ year old cars=What is the average cost of A/C repairs on the Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by ski.dive, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    Our Prius is getting old
    When the A/C breaks=What is the average cost of A/C repairs on the Prius?
     
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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    "Breaks"? Or a regular "ac service". The former, depends. The latter: $150.
     
  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    My 2007 is running great... I'd like to do preventative maintenance sometime soon... @lech auto air conditionin on here does really top notch work. Read through some of his posts about proper AC maintenance. He'll give you the info you need to know to make it easy to steer clear of AC maintenance folk that have no idea what they're doing.
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    $2,351.79
     
  5. cthindi

    cthindi Member

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    My 2005 is running great including AC with 366K miles. Catalytic converter is failing and HV battery is showing signs of end of life. But not the AC. It still provides hot and cold air. I have not even charged refrigerant in it. I though avoid using it on big mountain climbs to give Engine and HV battery a break.
     
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  6. Graeme1949

    Graeme1949 Member

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    I dont know. Our 2004 is still going strong and there have bee zero problems with heat or air conditioning, or the traction battery. We purchased the car in May 2004.


    -Graeme-
    2004 Prius with >190,000 miles.
    Sent ?.
     
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  7. lech auto air conditionin

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    Always good to hear when someone has good a/c after 200K to 300K+

    Just a few days ago I was working on a 1969 Mercedes got its first compressor replacement because of leaking not failure. It could’ve been rebuilt just all seals replaced and go another 50 years. But nobody rebuilds those old compressors in big cities anymore it’s not worth the labor and most technicians were not born when those compressors were installed.
    I used to rebuild when I was a kid for my father for summer time extra money when I was on summer time break.

    As for a average cost to repair a Prius AC system when it breaks. Let’s ask that question in a different phrase.
    Why let it break in the first place. If we’re talking about the AC compressor breaking or burning up that’s usually caused by one of two things partially a third thing.
    1: When the customer, let’s the refrigerant level go low, and keep putting off recharging the system when he first started to notice the very first early stage signs that it’s just not getting as cool as it used to. By this time the compressor is already cooking really hot from lack of refrigerant and oil return some people get lucky and can do this a few times.

    2: Second unfortunate the customer takes it in to get maintenance it all sounds good but unfortunately the place that services the air-conditioning causes the problem for the air compressor to break later on.

    3: this is not actually the cause but a small leak developing somewhere on a Prius it’s usually the condenser. As the refrigerant level slowly incrementally drops over a long period of time and the customer does not know it at first especially until summer comes around the compressor starts going into refrigerant to oil starvation slowly and lack of cooling and starts overheating.
    But this goes back to reason number one. It’s not the initial cause of the compressor failing. The compressor failing it’s just a symptom of another problem.

    I was just in a mechanical repair shop this morning getting a smog for my California smog certificate so I can get my yearly license plate registration sticker. You’re in California we do it once every four years.
    I notice on the shop labor rate and mechanical repair sign they had one line that notated air conditioning service $170.
    The owner of the shop over the years knows who I am they do not use my service because they perform their own air-conditioning maintenance in the house. I ask why is your air-conditioning service charge so cheap !?. The owner stated to me,
    (“we do everything in the charge actually includes the refrigerant. Many shops advertise $69 with a little Asterix and then charge extra for the refrigerant for the dye for the oil and then the price skyrockets from there.”
    Now let’s look at it what do you get for that $170 at this and many other particular shops. At this particular shop we’re talking about they do not even own a Refrigerant Recovery ,recycle, recharge machine. There method of leak detection is an old cheap cps corona discharge type leak detector that I know for a fact is no longer sensitive or works very well. Their other method is using refrigerant dye of not the highest quality with a very cheap UV blacklight to try to help find a leak.

    As for recharging equipment 20 to 30 year old set of gauges with the canned tap adapter on the end of a hose. This is the standard for most shops if you’re lucky they purchased one of the cheaper machines that are not very accurate not serviced and have not replaced filter dryers replaced to keep the refrigerant moisture free and contaminants free.
    Unlike most technicians who learn from another technician and keep passing that old information down the line possibly reading a magazine article or a old Automotive air-conditioning book addition # seven that has been reprinted since the 1970s. And they were told you charge by looking at pressures maybe Lucky enough to go by the ambient temperature plus a certain number of psi and maybe use a PT chart (pressure temperature) or if they were told that you were supposed to reach a certain duct Dash temperature outlet. Or even better or worse yet until the sight glass bubbles go away and you have a clear column of refrigerant in the site glass this is the most dangerous way.

    In all cases mentioned above your compressor will operate and you will have cold air out of your dash vents. So therefore that must mean it was done properly the customer is happy the shop collects money and the customer drives away. happily ever after. But not all the time the ticking time bomb that will be a very expensive repair later has started.
    I’m located in San Francisco one of the most expensive cities in the US.
    My particular charge for an AC service is $270. And for some people who live in states where you can still buy a small piece of land with a house on it for $80,000-$100,000 and your minimum wage is still around seven dollars an hour that probably sounds like a lot.
    But I don’t use a 20 to 30-year-old set a refrigerant gages ( or Harbor freight or eBay, Amazon )with a can tap on the end of the hose and I do not charge by the above three mentioned methods. My leak detection equipment and methods cost more than some shops machines for recharging.

    As mentioned above by somebody else after a compressor burn out and you have to fix a broken air-conditioning system (burned compressor ) on a Prius $2300 and above is a good starting price.
    Money can be saved by hopefully a good used compressor from a wrecking yard sometimes lucky sometimes not.

    After 30 years of owning refrigerant identifiers testing the purity of refrigerant that I use on every vehicle.
    I have yet to find a vehicle that was recharged by one of the big automatic refrigerant charge machines that was several years old by other shops that was not contaminated with air.
    And 90% of shops buy the cheap machines under $4000 or $5000
    The better refrigerant recovery recharge machines have built-in refrigerant identifiers in them that automatically shut down the machine in the presence of any contamination. That can also test the recycled refrigerant that is not contaminated with air or other gases.

    It is so easy to get cold air to come out the dash with only a small can and one hose. It’s true but I’m being facetious. Just watch YouTube.
     
    #7 lech auto air conditionin, Feb 1, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2020
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  8. ChrisFaehrtPrius

    ChrisFaehrtPrius New Member

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  9. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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  10. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    'quote'=I dont know. Our 2004 is still going strong and there have bee zero problems with heat or air conditioning, or the traction battery. We purchased the car in May 2004.
    -Graeme-
    2004 Prius with >190,000 miles.

    Wow!!!=The Original traction battery on a 16 year old Prius,must be a record!!!


    So what repairs have you done to your 2004 Prius?

     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I parted with my 2001 in 2016 at 23x,xxx with the original battery. I had replaced brakes, two wheel bearings, front sway links, and some light bulbs. Also, I had replaced the shims at the A/C pulley, which is something every Gen 1 around that age will need, and costs a dollar.

    (Later generations do not have a one-dollar replaceable A/C clutch shim. But then they also don't have an A/C clutch.)

    Seven years and 140,000 miles after the warranty expired, I got a letter from Toyota that they weren't happy with the way their original steering racks were holding up, so when I sold the 15 year old car it had just three years and 40,000 miles on the shiny replacement steering rack all courtesy of Toyota.
     
  12. Graeme1949

    Graeme1949 Member

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    Routine service intervals (every 5,000 miles) for all the mechanical systems, by a dealer.

    All recall service requirements, by a dealer.

    Replaced spark plugs and coils a few months ago because the dealer that serviced the car at the appropriate time neglected to do it. (Not the dealer I use now.) The engine started missing at a stop light. The dealership was within sight so I scrapped the rest of the day's schedule & went there to get it fixed.

    Brake service as required, by the dealer (first time done was about 6 months ago.)

    Tire replacement as needed, by a local tire shop.

    Collision repair as needed (only once, and the other person's insurance paid for it.)

    Replaced the 12 V battery twice. (First battery died at some point; second battery replaced when it was getting close to that same time interval.)

    I have replaced both tail light assemblies myself.

    [Note: a long time ago I used to do most of my own car service. I was trained - in the late 1960's - as a heavy equipment and motor vehicle mechanic by the US Marines. I started doing less service when they started putting sealed carburetors on the engines. The final straw was about 1990 when we got a new car and I found that in order to do any troubleshooting or diagnosis I had to first buy a computerized system for something like half the cost of the car. Since then I have always used the dealer service departments, unless it is something I know that another service place is competent to to. Our hybrids have only had dealer service, with the exception of tire replacement or simple parts replacement I can do myself.]

    Another note: I was raised with sports cars in the family, and for a while my father was an amateur weekend racer. I tend to push vehicles to higher performance than the majority of people (while staying legal). I don't have a feather foot (or a lead foot unless it is really needed.) Speed suggestions for curves are merely suggestions in good weather. I have learned that I have to be careful leaving an intersection in the Prius, because there is so much torque to the front wheels that they easily spin on the crosswalk and other markings.



    -Graeme-
    2004 Prius with >190,000 miles.
    Sent ?.
     
  13. cthindi

    cthindi Member

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    My REPAIRS so far at 366K miles have been

    1) 3 Way coolant valve.
    2) Plugs and coils
    3) Tie rods
    4) Wheel mounting stud.
    5) Serpentine belt twice
    6) Brakes everything (drums , shoes, rotors, pads) once. I am lucky with the brake actuator.
    7) Water pump for engine done as preventive, and other replaced in recall.
    8) PCV valve as preventive.
    9) All fluids on multiple occasions.
    10) Wheel alignment and balancing

    I have never had to tow the car. Though with bad coil and related misfire, I could drive the car limited distance / speed to get it repaired.
     
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