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A/C System Services | How To Propely Charge For A/C Repairs & Diagnostics

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A/C System Services | How To Propely Charge For A/C Repairs & Diagnostics

A/C Systems Can Sometimes Be a Challenge. As an Auto Repair Technician myself I love repairing A/C Systems and have repaired over 1000 A/C Systems all whilst maintaining very happy clients and very efficient A/C Systems. Ever had a client say I just filled my system 2 weeks ago and now it isn’t working? Let’s avoid that completely!

How to Charge For A/C System Diagnostics

Think about your process for a minute, How are you approaching the A/C System inspection process with your clients?

Are you charging for an initial inspection?

Are you charging for an Evacuate, Vacuum & Recharge at the start?

For years I have seen many clients starting with the Evacuate, Vacuum & Recharge system. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that although there is a better way. More and more A/C systems are advanced and only about 35% of systems are empty. Many times the A/C Systems have a control circuit fault of some sort and not the actual freon charge. Do you agree or disagree? I know what you are thinking.. How do you know the system is full? I don’t but what we do know is that if we have a couple key elements the A/C System should be operating regardless of charge.

My Approach

We have found this way to work the best.

Explain to the client the process. “We first start with an inspection of the A/C System. This includes looking at the current condition of all components related to the proper operation of the system. Then from there we can give you a better idea of the next steps required.”

We always explain that the potential next steps will require an Evacuate, Vacuum & Recharge. We always pre-authorize this service to speed up our process

Charge (0.5H) of your diagnostic labour rate if you have one.

During this half-hour what we want to do is go over the integrity of the A/C System.

  1. Install Manifold Gauges or A/C Machine Gauges
  2. Take a look at the static pressures. Make notes of pressure on work order, inspection sheet or customer concern whichever works easiest for your shops procedures.
  3. Is the system empty? What are the pressures reading? Over 60 PSI?
  4. If system is empty then we can continue with an Evacuate, Vacuum & Recharge.
  5. If system is over 50-60 psi (Depending on Ambient Temperature of course)
  6. What are the gauges now reading? Any changes in pressures?
  7. If pressures don’t change we have a control system fault that needs to be further diagnosed. Read up on the vehicles control system and call for the proper time required to analyze and diagnose the system. Send the quote to the client for authorization.
  8. If pressures change let’s continue to inspect the integrity. Is the low side going into Vacuum? Perform the recharge!


We could go on for hours about how to properly diagnose an A/C System. These are simply my thoughts on how to approach the diagnostic process and servicing of A/C Systems.

Tell Me What you Think!

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