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Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for an air conditioning refrigerant line replacement is between $403 and $429. Labor costs are estimated between $96 and $122 while parts are priced at $307. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: This service is typically done as part of a bigger, more expensive repair, so the estimate you see above may not represent your total cost. Some of these bigger related repairs are listed in the table below. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs may be right for you.

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What is a Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line?

Air conditioning refrigerant lines are aluminum tubes or flexible rubber hoses that carry refrigerant between the various components of the air conditioning system in a car, truck, or SUV.

How does an Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line work?

The air conditioning compressor forces refrigerant through the refrigerant lines to the other air conditioning system components - the condenser, the drier, the expansion valve, and the evaporator - and back to the compressor. Depending on their placement in the system, refrigerant lines channel the refrigerant in liquid or gaseous form, under low or high pressure. The flexible rubber hoses included in the system accommodate moving parts in the engine compartment. The air conditioning system is a closed system, meaning the refrigerant is contained in the system and constantly reused.

What are the symptoms of a bad Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line?

If the air conditioner is switched on and the air coming from the vents is no longer cold - or not as cold as it should be - the air conditioning refrigerant line might be worn or damaged. If a refrigerant line cracks or breaks, or if the o-ring seals at the connecting ends of a line have deteriorated, the refrigerant can escape. When this happens, the system will not operate properly. If the refrigerant level inside the system becomes too low, the air conditioning compressor will not operate when the AC switch is turned on. And if a line becomes bent or pinched, the refrigerant flow will be restricted, preventing proper operation of the AC system.

Can I drive with a bad Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line?

A damaged or broken air conditioning refrigerant line will likely cause the air conditioner to stop working properly. This can be an inconvenience. It does not present an immediate safety concern. The vehicle can be driven with a compromised refrigerant line. However, the longer the problem is left unrepaired, especially if the refrigerant has leaked out of the system or the flow of refrigerant is restricted, the higher the likelihood that moisture will enter the air conditioning system and compromise the integrity of the components, leading to premature failure.

How often do Air Conditioning Refrigerant Lines need replacement?

The air conditioning refrigerant lines should last the lifetime of the vehicle. However, it is not uncommon for the o-ring seals at the connecting ends of a line to deteriorate over time and cause refrigerant to leak out. It is possible for the refrigerant lines to become damaged if the vehicle is in a crash, or during careless service of other components in the engine compartment.

How are Air Conditioning Refrigerant Lines diagnosed?

By using specialized equipment, a technician may place a vacuum on the air conditioning system to determine if the system is leaking. If a leak is present, the technician can gently pressurize the system and employ one or more techniques to determine the location of the leak. Oil that is present in the refrigerant under normal circumstances may be present at a leak site. The oil may be especially noticeable if the leak is on the condenser. A soap and water mixture can help locate where refrigerant is escaping from a line or connection. A dye can be injected into the system. This dye shows up under black light and can sometimes be seen escaping from a leak site. Finally, a tool called a leak detector can be used to "sniff" out leaking refrigerant.

Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for an Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line Replacement is between $403 and $429 but can vary from car to car.

How are Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line replaced?

Once a damaged or leaking air conditioning refrigerant line has been located, a technician will use specialized equipment to evacuate any remaining refrigerant in the air conditioning system. Any engine accessories or components that are in the way will need to be removed before the line is disconnected, removed, and replaced. It will also be necessary for the technician to determine how much refrigerant needs to be installed in the system after the refrigerant line has been installed.

RepairPal Recommendations for Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line issues

RepairPal recommends that the air conditioner be operated at least once a month to ensure that the refrigerant and oil in the system is circulated regularly. It should be noted that a puddle of water forming under the vehicle is a natural byproduct of condensation when the air conditioner is running. If a refrigerant line is found to be damaged (bent or crushed) but not leaking, it is recommended that the line be replaced as soon as possible to prevent restriction of the flow of refrigerant and premature AC compressor failure.

What to look out for when dealing with Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line issues

Can I replace the Air Conditioning Refrigerant Line myself?

Because it is illegal to vent refrigerant into the atmosphere, and because the Environmental Protection agency requires that a technician be certified to recover refrigerants, it is advised that service of the air conditioning system be left to a professional. In addition, a technician must understand how much refrigerant to add at a given air temperature to prevent the common DIY repair problem of overcharging the system with too much refrigerant. This places a burden on the system that can cause premature failure. The correct type of refrigerant must be used and the proper equipment to evacuate, reclaim, and recharge the air conditioning system is necessary.

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