5 Symptoms of a Bad Car Condenser and Replacement Cost

Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by themechanic

The car condenser is the air conditioning condenser of your vehicle. This is just one of many components which make up the air conditioning system. Some of the other components include the compressor, receiver dryer, hoses, and evaporator. But what makes the car condenser so special is that it transforms refrigerant from a gas into a liquid. Since there is a lot of heat in this area, a functional condenser stays cooled to successfully make this conversion. If it were too hot, then gas wouldn’t be able to transform into a liquid.

5 Bad Symptoms

Liquid refrigerant is needed for the air conditioner to produce cool air for the passengers and driver. But if you have a bad condenser, then it cannot produce liquid refrigerant from the gases in the system. As a result, your air conditioner cannot do its job properly and keep people cooled. This is just one of several symptoms you can expect to experience when your car condenser goes bad. Let’s take a look at all of them.

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad car condenser.

1) No Cool Air

The most obvious symptom will be when there is no cool air coming out of the air vents in your dashboard. If you turn your air conditioner on full and you’re only getting lukewarm air blown in your face, then you obviously have a problem in your air conditioning system. In many cases, it will be a bad car condenser.

2) Hot Engine

The air condenser has a fan which keeps it cooled down. If the fan were to malfunction, it could overheat both the air conditioning system and the internal combustion engine. This will usually happen when the engine is idle, and the vehicle is not moving. Once you start moving again, the airflow to the engine and condenser will increase because of the motion of the vehicle. Unless you stay idle for a long time with the engine running, you should not see the engine overheat completely. But if you check the temperature gauge, you will see it gradually getting hotter the longer you remain idle.

3) Burning Odor

With all the heat generated from a bad air condenser, the air condition system will emit a burning odor into the cabin as you attempt to blow air through the vents. You can temporarily stop this by turning off the air conditioner. Then just have the condenser replaced to permanently fix the problem.

4) Check Engine Warning Light

Although it is kind of rare, there are some cases where the Check Engine warning light might come on if you have a bad air condenser. For instance, let’s say you’re sitting in bumper to bumper traffic and staying idle very dozens of minutes. If the temperature gauge’s needle enters the red zone and starts to overheat, your engine control unit may respond with the Check Engine warning light being activated.

5) Not Cool Enough

The early stages of a weakening car condenser may be air that is not cool enough. If you turn on the air conditioner and the air coming out is not as cold as it should be, then replace the condenser before there is no cool air coming out at all.

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Replacement Cost

If you want to start having cool air come out of your air conditioner again, then you need to replace the condenser. The total replacement cost of a car condenser is anywhere from $435 to $600. The parts cost alone is about $245 to $350 while the labor cost is anywhere from $190 to $250. Other fees and tax charges will be added onto the total as well. Try to shop around to find the best deal because so mechanics charge more per hour than others.

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