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First Post: My 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid stopped blowing cold air. We took it in to the dealer to have it serviced. The dealer replaced the AC Compressor with non-warrantied Honda parts. After about 10 days, the Ac stopped cooling again. After taking it back in, we had a lengthy haggle about their not explaining the lack of a warranty or the possible use of Honda parts. They agreed to charge us just for the difference in condenser/clutch/coil parts. They now are telling us that the AC Condenser fan is not working and to replace it with Honda part will cost $586. I am confused as to how the fan stopped working while it was under their repair> Coincidence (our responsibility) or their work/responsibility. Any insights will be greatly appreciated.

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  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Aug 7, 2023 at 19:45
  • Why would a Honda dealer use non-Honda parts? Were they actually a Honda agent? It suggests 'no' so do they even know what they are doing or just making wild guesses? Many "dealers" have very little mechanical expertise beyond preparing cars for sale. Aug 7, 2023 at 20:55
  • Perhaps because of turn around time, lack of immediate parts, ?, they said they only had an after market AC compressor to install. When that did not work, we went back to have it corrected they told us the work was not under warranty and would they would have to charge us for a new after market compressor. We had a go-round until the manager agreed to charge us onl the price difference between the after market part and a Honda warrantied one. Does it seem likely the first repair caused the fan to stop working?
    – user217686
    Aug 7, 2023 at 23:13

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Perhaps you may have encountered another disreputable dealer's service department. Vehicle ac diagnosing, troubleshooting, and repairs are not rocket science although your descriptions very much appears as if this service department treats this as such. As a diyer with experience from r12 systems going back to the 70s, forced to change equipment gauges to r134a to service r134a systems, vehicle refrigeration remains the same and is not rocket science. With the addition of electronics replacing manual controls, refrigeration systems remain the same, using the same operating principles. Unfortunately, dishonest dealer services and repair shops prey on virtually every owner's lack of vehicle refrigeration knowledge and apply the greatest leverage of replacing unnecessary parts to pad repair bills for maximum profit regardless whether or not a repair restores ac back to factory specs (the aim of every ac repair).

In my humble opinion, ac compressors do not fail unless amateur repairs are made, unintentionally contaminating a new compressor using contaminated oil, sealant used by diyers in hopes of less costly repairs-in-a-can (refill kits sold everywhere), never replacing the combination accumulator/filter/drier, not replacing O-rings/flat seals where necessary, and never using an electric vacuum pump after replacing parts. Using refrigeration gauges requires knowledge to make repairs equal to or better than professional repairs from reputable repair shops.

Without any more information, this repair is very questionable from the beginning. Further complicating repairs is the end of life of the cooling fan. As you may or may not know, cooling fan(s) are always turned on when ac is used; the compressor generates heat compressing refrigerant gas, outputting hot gases into the condenser coil in front of the radiator. Hot gases need to cool down to change from gas to liquid form. If the cooling fan isn't running, hot condenser coil feeds heat to the radiator and allows overheating, hence the need for cooling fan operation to ensure correct ac operation by forced airflow for condenser coil and radiator. Guess what happens if the fan is intermittent, worn out or dead in hot and humid weather whether using ac or not? If you're in a region of high ac use, cooling fan(s) can wear out sooner than later. A 2005 cooling fan has lived a long life (18 years). It may be that the fan simply gave up after a long life and is worn out. Part of the high cost of replacing a fan; replacement difficulty if many parts are needed to be removed for clear access, labor rates, part cost and markup.

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  • The dealership has now stated that the condenser fan is now no longer made by Honda. They will install an after market one free of charge that will have no warranty on it. Their willingness to do so is a welcome surprise and perhaps indicative of correcting a prior mistake.
    – user217686
    Aug 9, 2023 at 10:46
  • They've already gouged you and perhaps your vocal concerns questioning their previous repair didn't correct the original problem. Rather than face possible consumer action via public forums, better business bureau, calls to a regional or national office to file a formal complaint of questionable repairs, they refocused their efforts to right a questionable initial repair. Ironic that they quoted a secondary repair cost of $586 and suddenly withdrew that cost and will install an aftermarket cooling fan. Hopefully this saga ends with you having your vehicle restored to factory condition.
    – F Dryer
    Aug 9, 2023 at 17:02

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