Do you mean needs TO BE replaced? Usually a do-it-yourselfer can do this job but you'll find out why they charge so much. Generally the radiator has to be removed, or, on some cars the bumper cover has to come off. That's not a big deal for dealership mechanics who do this all the time but for the rest of us it can be very time-consuming to find all the hidden fasteners and remove them without breaking them.
Part of the labor charge you're trying to avoid includes the provision that the mechanic does the work over again for free if he makes a mistake. If you install the condenser and the new part is defective, (which does happen), or if you don't get a good seal at the pipe connections, (which is somewhat foolproof), it will be up to you to do the work over but you will be obligated to pay the mechanic for charging the system and performing the leak check. If you're okay with that you may indeed save a pile of money.
I'm assuming all the refrigerant has leaked out of the system. If it has not, have it recovered by your mechanic. That just takes a few minutes. Most professionals wear gloves, safety glasses, and a face shield because refrigerant can be dangerous to work with.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 AT 3:39 PM