Summer road trips are an essential part of summer plans for many families. However, if you begin to experience issues with your car’s air conditioner, your exciting adventure could quickly turn into an uncomfortable journey.
If your car is covered under a manufacturer or factory warranty, repairs are generally covered at no cost to you. However, most manufacturer warranties only last a certain amount of time or mileage, with most standard factory warranties ending at 3 years or 36,000 miles. If your car’s A/C unexpectedly breaks and your manufacturer’s warranty expired, then you’ll left paying those costly repair bills on your own.
A new A/C evaporator in a Nissan Versa can cost up to $780 to replace, while Jeep Wrangler drivers are likely to have to fork out close to $679 to replace an A/C compressor. Even if you’re the owner of a sturdy vehicle that has never had any A/C issues in the past, it can be important to make sure your A/C components are covered.
Let’s review what types of car warranties or auto protection plans may cover your air conditioning system.
Understanding the Different Types of Warranties
When it comes to protecting your vehicle against the costs of maintenance and repairs, there are a number of options available. It’s well worth learning as much as you can about the different types of protection plans available to you, especially if you’re looking to get coverage for specific parts of your vehicle, such as the A/C.
While your insurance policy will cover you against theft or in the event of an accident, it won’t be any help if your transmission decides to give up one day. While new cars are sold with manufacturer warranties, older ones will no longer be protected, so you need to weigh up the cost of additional coverage—in the form of a vehicle service contract, also known as extended warranties—against the benefits. Typically, an extended warranty can fall under one of these main categories:
- Exclusionary: A comprehensive coverage plan that includes everything inside your vehicle, this kind of plan lists only those parts not included in the contract. It is rare that this type of plan will not cover your A/C unit, but it’s always worth checking to see what exactly is excluded, just in case.
- Inclusionary: A stated-component contract that lists all the parts covered. Whether your A/C is one of those parts depends purely on the company offering the warranty and the specific warranty level. Have a good read through the contract to find out. There will usually be an A/C component section listing which parts are covered.
- Bumper-to-bumper: The most common type of exclusionary coverage, a bumper-to-bumper plan protects all the parts of your vehicle between the bumpers—so pretty much everything. There are usually a few standard exclusions, but these don’t generally include the A/C, so you’re most likely covered. However, it is always good to be sure and to double-check.
- Powertrain: A simpler, streamlined package covering the major mechanical parts that make the car move, such as the engine, transmission, differential/transfer case, etc. This level of coverage will never include the A/C unit.
While each type of warranty and warranty provider offers different coverage and service levels, research can help make sure you’re getting the plan that works best for you and your budget. Check whether your chosen provider offers coverage for maintenance, such as the EnduranceAdvantage™ protection plan, or just repairs. Added perks come with any EnduranceAdvantage plan, including 1 year of free Endurance Elite Benefits, in which you’ll gain access to features like tire repairs or replacements, key fob replacements, and even collision discounts.
What Can Cause My A/C to Breakdown?
An air conditioning unit is a complicated part of any modern vehicle with many moving components. Some common air conditioning issues include:
A/C Condenser Problems
- What it is: One of the most vital parts of an A/C unit, the condenser returns the refrigerant to a liquid state and, in turn, extracts the heat.
- What causes it: Several things can affect the A/C condenser, such as deterioration of the seals and tubes, debris that can get into the A/C unit and block the flow of refrigerant, and ice crystals that can form and cause blockages inside the unit.
- How much it costs: This varies from vehicle and model type but can typically set you back somewhere in the region of $585 to $773.
A Broken Compressor
- What it is: The A/C compressor turns low-pressure, low-temperature refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas, making it a key component of your A/C unit.
- What causes it: A common compressor problem is a broken sealed bearing, which, when broken, makes a distinctive loud noise and means that no air will come out of the vents.
- How much it costs: Depending on your vehicle, the cost of a new A/C compressor can range from $200 to over $1,000.
- What it is: Also more commonly known as Freon, refrigerant absorbs heat in the compressor and turns it into cool gas.
- What causes it: If you notice your A/C is not blowing cold air, it may well be low on refrigerant. Generally, it’s advised that you replace or recharge your refrigerant every few years.
- How much it costs: Refilling your Freon at most garages will set you back between $187 and $261.
A Faulty Evaporator
- What it is: The evaporator helps to cool the Freon/refrigerant and also evaporates any excess water from the A/C system.
- What causes it: Common issues include a clogged expansion valve and liquid seeping into the vents.
- How much it costs: Expect the price to vary depending on what vehicle you drive, but a new evaporator could cost you anywhere from $850 to $1,100.
Air Filter Issues
- What it is: Usually located behind your car’s glove box, this component helps to remove any impure and potentially dangerous pollutants before they reach the cabin of your vehicle.
- What causes it: An old air filter will be jam-packed with dirt, grime, and contaminants. It’ll often give off a bad smell, which signals it’s probably well past time to change the filter.
- How much it costs: Not as costly as some of the other parts, new air filters can still set you back $50 or more, plus labor.
Protect Your Car’s A/C with Endurance
A faulty car air conditioner on a hot summer day can put a damper on any road trip. Make sure you have the proper auto protection in place, such as a plan from Endurance. Apart from our powertrain-level Secure plan, an Endurance protection plan can provide coverage for your vehicle’s A/C, with more components covered at different levels. For maximum A/C coverage and peace of mind, the EnduranceAdvantage plan can help, offering the most comprehensive coverage available and up to $3,500 in regular maintenance costs. Advantage covers essential preventative maintenance tasks like tire rotations, alignment checks, and more at no cost to you.
On top of market-leading component coverage, each Endurance plan comes with access to a year’s worth of free Endurance Elite Benefits such as tire repair/replacement, key fob replacement, and other great perks.