Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube)

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Cost of Replacing a Bad or Failing Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube)

Common signs include the AC system working worse than usual, frost coming from the vents, or the AC compressor constantly running. Our certified technicians can come to you and diagnose the problem. You will receive a $30 credit towards any follow-up repairs that result from the diagnostic. Following are example prices for Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube) Replacement. Click on the button below to get an upfront quote for your car.

Cars Estimate Parts Cost Labor Cost Savings Average Dealer Price
2010 Mercury Milan $268 $135.35 $133.00 20% $339.60
2010 GMC Canyon $267 $147.95 $119.00 19% $330.70
2013 Kia Optima $211 $91.97 $119.00 23% $274.72
2006 Audi A4 $217 $91.35 $126.00 23% $284.85
2009 Mercedes-Benz CL550 $318 $135.91 $182.00 23% $415.41
2007 Porsche 911 $288 $133.79 $154.00 22% $370.29
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How to Diagnose a Bad or Failing Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube)?

expansion valve

An expansion valve is an AC component that is commonly found on many road going vehicles. It is usually installed at the evaporator inlet and works together with the orifice tube to regulate the flow of refrigerant through the vehicle’s AC system. Too much refrigerant flow and the evaporator core will freeze over; too little and the evaporator core will overheat and compromise the efficiency of the AC system. The expansion valve meters refrigerant flow according to evaporator temperature and the load and cooling demand of the AC system. When the expansion valve fails or has any issues, it can cause problems with the functionality and performance of the AC system. Usually a bad or failing AC expansion valve or orifice tube will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. AC system performing worse than usual and blowing warm air

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the AC expansion valve or orifice tube is an underperforming AC system. The AC expansion valve and orifice tube work together to regulate the flow of the AC system. If either component fails or has an issue, it can disturb the performance of the AC system, which can cause it to underperform. The AC system may begin to blow noticeably less cold than before and may even begin to blow warm air depending on the severity of the problem.

2. Frost on AC evaporator or coming from the vents

Another symptom of a potential problem with the vehicle’s AC expansion valve or orifice tube is frost coming from the vehicle’s vents. If the AC evaporator or orifice tube malfunctions, it can cause refrigerant to flow unmetered through the vehicle’s AC system. This can cause the evaporator to freeze over, or frost to form or come from the vehicle’s AC vents. Either symptom is a sign that the system is getting too much refrigerant, which will actually hinder its efficiency and performance.

3. AC compressor constantly running

A constantly running compressor is another symptom of a possible problem with the AC expansion valve. If the AC expansion valve fails or sticks open, it will cause the compressor to pump refrigerant through the vehicle’s AC system, even when it may be undesirable for it to do so. This will put an additional strain on the compressor and associated AC components, making them more susceptible to premature failure.

The AC expansion valve and orifice tube are important components to the proper operation of the AC system and any issues with them can lead to AC system problems and malfunctions. If you suspect that your expansion valve or orifice tube may be having an issue, have the vehicle’s air conditioning inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the car will need an AC expansion valve replacement or another repair.

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Recent Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube) Replacement reviews

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YourMechanic Expansion Valve (Orifice Tube) Replacement Service

Average Rating

5/5

Number of Reviews

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Joe

40 years of experience
576 reviews
Joe
40 years of experience
Joe is awesome. He went out of his way to work with me. His diagnostic skills are excellent, and his work is spot on.
2003 HONDA CR-V - EXPANSION VALVE (ORIFICE TUBE) - SAINT PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

Chris

19 years of experience
1240 reviews
Chris
19 years of experience
So much better than going to a shop. Chris quickly diagnosed the problem with my AC and scheduled a follow up to address the problem. I didn't have to leave my car at the shop while they worked on 20 other cars before mine. This process was very affordable and the minimum down time for a very busy family car.
2012 FORD ESCAPE - EXPANSION VALVE (ORIFICE TUBE) - LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA

TJ

23 years of experience
236 reviews
TJ
23 years of experience
Great!
2004 HONDA ACCORD - EXPANSION VALVE (ORIFICE TUBE) - NORTH PORT, FLORIDA

Fred

14 years of experience
240 reviews
Fred
14 years of experience
Fred was prompt and courteous. He has many years experience which is evident in his work. He fixed the air conditioning in my Lincoln Town Car and it is working like new again. He was clean and efficient leaving no mess. I will definitely use Fred again and recommend him to my family and friends.
2000 LINCOLN TOWN CAR - EXPANSION VALVE (ORIFICE TUBE) - CONROE, TEXAS

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