The national average cost for an ac pressure switch replacement in 2023 is $161​

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National average cost of a an AC Pressure Switch Replacement
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Car Model

Avg. cost


What is an AC pressure switch and how does it work?

The AC pressure switch is part of the air conditioning (AC) system in your vehicle. Also known as a refrigerant pressure switch, this device senses when the pressure inside the AC system is either too high or too low and disables the AC compressor to prevent damage to the system.

As is the case with any AC system, including the one in your vehicle, refrigerant inside undergoes a series of pressure changes as it passes from a gas to a liquid and back again. The AC compressor compresses gaseous refrigerant and pumps it through a tube to the condenser, where the high-pressure gas becomes a high-pressure liquid. From there, the refrigerant travels to the expansion valve where it transforms into a low-pressure liquid. Finally, it goes to the evaporator and becomes a low pressure gas once more before returning to the compressor to begin its journey again.

It is in the evaporator that heat is drawn from the passenger compartment and cool air is blown in. But if, at any point in the process, the pressure of the refrigerant rises too high or falls too low, then damage can occur to the AC system. The AC pressure switch is in place to make sure this does not happen. Some vehicles rely on a low pressure switch, others a high pressure switch. Some include both.


How do I know if the AC pressure switch in my vehicle needs to be replaced?

If an AC pressure switch detects that refrigerant pressure is either too high (perhaps due to overcharging) or too low (often because of a leak), it will disable or switch off the AC compressor. This effectively disables the AC system. When the switch itself goes bad, the same could happen. Other signs that an AC pressure switch is failing include:

The AC system turns on and off intermittently when engaged

The AC system cycles on and off (AC compressor engages and disengages) frequently

Air coming from the vents is not cold or is inconsistent

The AC indicator light will not come on

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How is a an AC Pressure Switch Replacement done?

To replace an AC pressure switch, a technician will likely disconnect the battery, taking care to preserve the memory of your vehicle’s computers. From there, the task of replacing the switch itself is not, in and of itself, a complex repair on most vehicles. That said, it is important for the technician to have access to vehicle-specific repair information to determine whether or not the refrigerant must be evacuated from the AC system.

On most vehicles, the refrigerant does not need to be removed and replaced, as long as other components are not also being replaced along with the AC pressure switch. That is because its mount is typically equipped with a special valve that closes to keep the refrigerant in place when the switch is removed. Therefore, in order to replace the switch, a technician will unplug the wiring from the switch, use a wrench to unscrew the body of the switch from its mount, and insert a new switch in its place.

Once the wire has been plugged into the new switch, the technician will start your vehicle and run the AC system to verify that the repair was successful.

Other questions customers ask

Do you have to evacuate the AC system to change the pressure switch?
A vehicle air conditioning system is a closed loop; refrigerant is meant to remain inside the system. Most of the time, when an AC component must be replaced, it is necessary to remove or “evacuate” the refrigerant in a manner that keeps it from discharging into the atmosphere. State and federal laws govern the process of evacuating and recharging an AC system. Fortunately, most AC pressure switches can be replaced without evacuating the system due to the inclusion of a schrader valve at the point where the switch mounts. This valve prevents the refrigerant from escaping.
Where is the AC pressure switch located?
Some vehicles employ an AC pressure switch on the high-pressure side of the AC system. Others use a switch on the low-pressure side. Some rely on both. In general, an AC pressure switch is mounted on an aluminum refrigerant line in the engine compartment. Specifically where a switch is located depends on the vehicle and whether it is on the high side or the low side.
What is the difference between a high pressure switch and a low pressure switch?
In order to protect the AC system, high and low pressure switches detect the amount of refrigerant pressure inside the system. A high pressure switch is mounted in the high pressure side of the system, in the larger of the refrigerant lines. It senses when pressure has risen too high. A low pressure switch is mounted in the smaller of the refrigerant lines ahead of the compressor in the low pressure side. This switch senses when pressure in the system has dropped too low.

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