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Are A/C Control Panels (the panel that controls the: Fan Speed, Temperature, and Head/Foot air flow direction) in cars are universal, similar to USB connections are for computers? For example, I would like to to take the the A/C Control Panel out of my 2013 Subaru and put it in my 1998 Pontiac (I know that the physical dimensions of the box won't fit without modification of the interior).

I believe that the Control Panels are an HVAC connection, but I don't know if there are different connections between new cars and older cars. Or if A/C Control are car specific, if newer cars are using digital connections compared to analog, etc.

  • Great question. I have absolutely no evidence to back this up, but I would imagine it might work between different cars of the same manufacturer and year (ex. 2013 Subaru Forester to 2013 Subaru Impreza), there may be a remote chance of it working between two cars with the same country of origin (Toyota to Subaru), and almost certainly would not work between cars from different countries (Japan to USA), especially considering the 15 year age difference. You may be able to find an affordable replacement if there are any auto scrap 'pick-a-part' yards in your area! Good luck! – MooseLucifer Sep 19 '16 at 19:59
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In a word No, not even close. Some are all mechanical, some vacuum, some completely electronic. some are combined with the infotainment device (radio) even the ones of the same type from the same manufacture might not cross. So you can't always take on out of on make Pontiac and put it in another make Pontiac of the same year.

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    Observation: My old car you could feel there was something mechanical behind the head/toe adjuster--it was obviously moving something that directed the air. My current car the control is digital and computer controllable, it can't be a simple mechanical diverter. – Loren Pechtel Sep 19 '16 at 22:25
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No. Sorry. Absolutely not. If you stay within the same marque/brand you might have half a shot.

For instance, a Chevy Cruze HVAC module has a better chance of working in your Pontiac, as GM, Ford, and many others like to share basic part properties across entire lines and platforms. Simple matter of saving money and cost of manufacture.

Your Subie HVAC controls probably fit every Subaru ever made, ostensibly there will be exceptions. Subaru, however, is known in some circles as the Lego car, due to the vast interchangeability of parts across the entire Fuji range.

Your Subaru control uses a cable; your Pontiac does not. There is no reason for any two HVAC controls to share a common interface like USB.

  • And even if they did share an interface at the physical and electrical level, there's no reason for them to speak the same protocol on top of that interface. Like how both a computer keyboard and an external hard disk can be connected over USB, but they have little else in common. – a CVn Sep 20 '16 at 15:34
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The chances of it actually working are about like the chances of taking the wheels off one car and putting them on another with no issues whatsoever. You have higher chances if they are the same brand or model, but even at that there is no 100% guarantee.

So I agree with the other answers: no, there is no universal A/C Control Panel.

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