Your car’s AC system contains a bunch of different components that work together to keep the air coming through your car’s vents cool. If even just one of these components isn’t working the way it should, it could lead to your AC system not being able to provide you with enough cool air. The AC expansion valve is one of the many parts that’s responsible for helping to produce cool air for your car. You should keep a close eye on it over the years and look out for any signs of trouble. You should also learn about how much the AC expansion valve replacement cost will be in case yours ever goes bad. Find out more about the AC expansion valves in cars below.
What Is an AC Expansion Valve?
In a little while, we’re going to discuss the different signs that you might see when the AC expansion valve in your car’s AC system starts to go bad on you. But before we get into that, we want to spend some time talking about what exactly an AC expansion valve is and what it does to keep your car’s AC system humming along. It’s important for you to have a solid understanding of an AC expansion valve and how it works.
Generally speaking, an AC expansion valve is an AC component that is situated right at the inlet for an AC evaporator. It works in conjunction with the orifice tube in your car’s AC system to regulate how much refrigerant is able to flow through the system. It monitors the temperature in your evaporator as well as the demands of your AC system as a whole in order to determine how much refrigerant needs to make its way in the direction of your evaporator at any given time. This is what makes it such an important part of your car’s AC system.
Why Is an AC Expansion Valve Important to Your Car’s AC System?
If you have an AC expansion valve in your car’s AC system that isn’t working properly, there are a number of things that could go wrong. For example, you could find that you have too much refrigerant working its way into your evaporator core if your AC expansion valve isn’t doing its job. This could very well lead to your evaporator core freezing. On the other hand, you could also find that you don’t have enough refrigerant flowing into your evaporator if your AC expansion valve isn’t working like it should. This could lead to your evaporator core overheating and make your AC system less efficient than it should be.
Although you might be able to continue to use your car’s AC system when your AC expansion valve goes bad on you, it’s not going to be long before the performance of the system is going to start to suffer. You might not be able to get all of the cool air that you want into your car when you have a bad AC expansion valve. You might also find that your AC compressor will have to work extra hard to create cold air for your car, which will force it to run almost all the time. You’ll want to avoid finding yourself in these kinds of scenarios by replacing a bad AC expansion valve right away.
How Long Should an AC Expansion Valve Last?
While it’s important for you to monitor the effectiveness of your car’s AC expansion valve and replace it as necessary, one of the challenges you’re going to face is that it can be difficult to tell how long one is going to last. It’s pretty much impossible to predict when an AC expansion valve is going to give out on you and need to be replaced. There are some instances in which you might not ever have to worry about doing AC expansion valve replacement and others in which you’ll have to replace your car’s AC expansion valve several times throughout your time with it.
With this in mind, it’s imperative for you to know what signs you’ll have to look out for when it comes to the well-being of your AC expansion valve. If you ever notice that anything seems off with your AC expansion valve, you’ll want to spring into action immediately and have your AC expansion valve replaced. Otherwise, you could put a huge strain on your car’s AC system and stop it from being able to produce the cool air that you need. You could also cause other components of your AC system to wear down quicker than they should and have to do expensive AC repairs.
What Are the Symptoms of a Bad AC Expansion Valve?
Since it’s going to be hard for you to tell how much life your car’s AC expansion valve has left in it based on the age of your car, you’re going to want to get into the habit of looking for symptoms of a bad AC expansion valve. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to tell when your AC expansion valve is on its way out. There are going to be a series of problems that will plague your car when you need to have a new AC expansion valve put into it.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of a bad AC expansion valve:
- Your car’s AC system provides your car with almost nothing but warm air when you turn it on
- Your car’s AC system doesn’t seem to offer up the same kind of performance that it usually does
- Your car’s AC evaporator is covered with frost
- Your car’s vents have frost building up on the inside of them
- Your car’s AC compressor sounds like it’s running almost all the time
The good news is that, as you’ll find out here in a few seconds, replacing a bad AC expansion valve is a whole lot less expensive than replacing many of the other components found in your car’s AC system. But even still, you’re going to have to stop using your AC system and get your car to the shop immediately if you don’t want to have to drive around with your car blowing warm air when the AC expansion valve goes bad.
What Causes an AC Expansion Valve to Fail?
In order to keep your car out of the shop, you’re obviously going to want to do what you can to keep your AC expansion valve in good condition. If you have a car that’s on the newer side, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern since your AC expansion valve won’t have too much wear and tear on it. But over time, you’re going to put more wear and tear on your AC expansion valve, which is ultimately going to cause it to fail at some point in time.
So, how can you protect your AC expansion valve? The truth is that, to some degree, you can’t. Unless you’re going to keep your car’s AC system shut off for good, you’re going to put some wear and tear on your AC expansion valve every time you turn it on. But you can try to avoid pushing your AC expansion valve and your AC system as a whole too hard by giving it a break every now and then. When the temperatures in your area aren’t too high, you’re better off rolling your windows down rather than resorting to running your car’s AC system.
By doing this, you’ll eliminate some of the strain that you put on your car’s AC expansion valve every time you turn your AC system on. You’ll also eliminate the strain that you put on other parts of your AC system as well. This will reduce the chances of your AC expansion valve giving out on you and allow you to keep on using your car’s AC system for many years to come without experiencing any problems.
How Do You Fix an AC Expansion Valve?
If you believe that the AC expansion valve in your car’s AC system has gone bad, it’s a good idea for you to take it to a shop that you trust to have it fixed. This is important because some shops will misdiagnose AC expansion valve problems and do more harm than good to your car. It’s not uncommon at all for some shops to blame an issue with a bad AC expansion valve on an evaporator and recommend a much costlier repair that doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.
Rather than going this route, you should look for a reputable shop that has a long history with auto AC system repairs. They’ll be able to inspect your car’s AC system to see whether or not your AC expansion valve has actually gone bad. Then, if it has, they’ll be able to pull your AC system apart to remove your old AC expansion valve so that they can put a new one in its place. They’ll also see if there are any other AC system problems that you might want to fix while you’re at it.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an AC Expansion Valve?
As we alluded to earlier, one of the things that you’ll be happy to learn when replacing an AC expansion valve is that it’s on the lower end of the spectrum as far as price is concerned. You aren’t going to have to shell out over $1,000 to replace a bad AC expansion valve. But at the same time, it is going to require a little bit of an investment on your part.
How much money are we talking? Well, the total AC expansion valve replacement cost is going to depend on a number of factors, including which shop you call on for help and which parts you use to make the repair. But on average, car owners pay somewhere between $240 and $330 in most cases to do AC expansion valve replacement. That includes parts, which will run you right around $100, and labor, which will cost about twice that.
That number could very easily go up if you need to have AC expansion valve replacement done as part of a larger AC system repair. While replacing your AC expansion valve, an AC technician might find that you also need to have work done on your AC evaporator. But to start, you should only be looking at spending around $300 or so to put a new AC expansion valve into place in your vehicle.
Is the Cost to Replace an AC Expansion Valve Worth It?
If you plan on keeping the car that you’re driving right now and know that it’s going to be impossible to do it without a fully-functioning AC system, then the cost of replacing an AC expansion valve is going to be well worth it to you. The $300 that you’ll have to put into your car will seem like nothing when you’re able to sit in your car and feel the cool breeze coming from your vents on a hot day.
If, however, you don’t think that you’re going to hang on to your car for much longer and you don’t think replacing the AC expansion valve will do much for the value of it, you could be better off selling it. There isn’t much sense in dumping $300 into an older car that might also have other existing problems with it. Instead of spending more money on it, you should find out how to unload it so that you don’t have to worry about your bad AC expansion valve anymore.
Selling a Car With a Bad AC Expansion Valve: Is It Possible?
Are you wondering if there’s a way to sell a car that has a bad AC expansion valve in it? If so, you should know that you can do it, even if you don’t get many bites from private buyers. There are junk car buyers, like the ones from Cash Cars Buyer, that will gladly purchase your old car from you and pay top dollar for it. Despite the AC expansion valve troubles that you’ve been having, your car is still going to be worth something to junk car buyers.
Would you like to see what your car might be worth right now? Contact Cash Cars Buyer today to get an offer for your car, bad AC expansion valve and all.