Q: when repairing the AC on a 2004 ford 150, do I need to replace all 3 - accumulator, compressor, and condensor?

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my AC went out. One mechanic suggested replacing all 3, but that is a $1300 repair job. Is it necessary or advisable to replace all 3? thanks

My car has 190000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Once the A/C system is opened you must replace the accumulator/dryer/filter because that part contains a desiccant. The desiccant has a finite service life. Condensers are ONLY replaced if they show evidence of significant external impact from road debris (other than minor fin damage which is repaired on the vehicle), are confirmed to be leaking (other than at the o-rings seals which are a 50 cent replaceable part), or are clogged internally from a major system failure. The compressor would have to be diagnosed to determine if replacement is necessary. If merely the external clutch on the compressor has failed, all you need to do is bolt on a new clutch. It is true that as compressors get older, leaks do develop, particularly at the compressor shaft seal, so if a clutch has failed, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to just replace the whole compressor, which will typically include the clutch. All seals in the system have to be carefully checked for leaks to make sure that whatever repair is performed is lasting. You can pressurize the system to 200 PSI with dry nitrogen (do not use air) and use an infrared leak detector (Fieldpiece) if you want to do it right. If you would like a second opinion, and cost estimate, simply request an a/c diagnostic or use YourMechanic’s A/C compressor replacement service page to get an idea of your cost if you just replaced the compressor and accumulator alone. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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