TTAC Commentator supaman writes:
Don’t have to say how much you and the B&B have helped me in the past with auto-related inquiries. Anyway, you need more material? Well here’s more. Up to perhaps a week ago, everything was fine on my STEED. I haven’t been using the A/C much because the weather has been much cooler but then it started to warm up. Got in the car to leave work and turned on the A/C to cool the car a bit and….nothing.
The air blows, but stiflingly hot air. After waiting for a few minutes to see if cool air would eventually surface i played with the auto-climate control and zoomed it down to 60 degrees….still nothing. Not having A/C is nothing new to me but quite annoying getting into a hot car. I took it to what was my usual mechanic (until the corporate GoodYear Service takeover) and their diagnosis was a compressor failure. Pardon my layman language but apparently some piece fell off the compressor (!?) that doesn’t allow it to engage once switched on. Also, because the compressor and drier (?) are usually built into one piece on my car (unlike others according to him) they have to be replaced together so I’m staring down the hole to the tune of $1300. With that amount of money at stake I’m willing to look for a second opinion (and a third). The mechanic did ask if I heard a loud *boom* while driving at any point and I can’t say I did. He also noted that several cars came into his shop for the same problem that week. Long and winded I know but could there be something else not causing the compressor to engage? A faulty fuse maybe?
Thanks as always: and on a completely separate note, you’re a car guy and so am I (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing you so often…lol) I started a car blog a few years ago and wondered if you could take a peek at it. I do it for fun mostly and share it with most anyone but since you’re more of a pro at this some pro advice would be greatly appreciated!
Dude, I’m no pro. I do what I do: 13 years on the forums and almost 7 rant-filled years here on TTAC.
About your blog: except for the Aston Martin background (make it generic, low resolution and low contrast) your blog is good, and I’m not just saying that because I know(ish) you. It’s good to see a personal blog with clever writing, good ledes and honest photography. And you don’t seem to say crazy shit that’ll get your ass blacklisted out of every fleet after two months of getting free press cars…perhaps I’ve said too much.
Back to that tasty lookin’ Mazda 6: the part that fell(?) off the A/C compressor is probably the clutch. I had one do something like that, and I simply gave up and let my mechanic install a new one, as I didn’t have the unique puller to do it in my driveway. It’s not the dryer, that’s normally a metal tube bolted to the passenger side firewall. Perhaps this infographic helps.
Your car is about 6 years old now, so depending on usage and mileage, needing a new A/C compressor isn’t totally ridiculous. But $1300 sounds a bit much, even for the real estate-challenged, labor intensive Duratec V6 model. Rockauto sells a remanufactured compressor with a new clutch for about $300. And I wouldn’t be surprised if those vendors aren’t stereotypical aftermarket junk, rather their stuff is made (or re-packaged) for Mazda/Ford themselves. I’ve seen it happen before on my Fox Bodies.
Odds are your mechanic diagnosed the right component, but get the breakdown on the labor hours and the cost of the part. And always ask the shop if they will install parts YOU give THEM. That’s a good way to see if their profit center is markup on parts.
Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.