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Possible A/C problem on dealer's car, looking for some advice

dubinadubina Member Posts: 1
edited May 2015 in Dodge
I'm shopping a 2008 gray Dodge Caliber R/T that has 86k miles. It looks and runs good, but I found a possible problem, as follows:

One thing I noticed last week was that the A/C sounded funny, not quiet as I remembered my wife's 07 caliber A/C to be at high output. When I turned the A/C off (output / fan down to minimum and yellow A/C light off), I could hear something winding down, three or four spiraling down sounds...not loud, but not quiet as I remember my wife's 07 R/T to be. When I informed the dealer, he seemed surprised. That was late last week.

I went back today to do some comparison shopping. The dealership had another 2008 Caliber in stock (a blue one), so I took it for a drive. At max air volume and highest indicated cooling, the blue 2008 Caliber seemed to put out 2 or 3 times more cooling air through the same dashboard air vent(s). The blue Caliber A/C was quieter than the A/C in the gray car I drove last week, but when I drove the gray car again, its A/C wasn't as noisy as I remember it from last week. Compared to the blue Caliber A/C today, the gray Caliber A/C was almost as quiet, but notably puny in its cooling function. I had my kid take smartphone video/audio of the A/C working in both vehicles for comparison. I could probably attach the video files if someone wanted to see them.

Your Edmunds Michael wrote.

In my limited experience, the belt driven compressor for AC is on the same belt as the main serpentine belt which helps drive the engine, so any problems with that compressor and the car will not drive, as you've been advised. I recommend having a mechanic look at it if possible, before buying it, though it's a gamble either way. Noises coming from a compressor aren't normal. Keep that in mind. My opinion, it's not worth the extra risk. You already have a risk and gamble when buying a used car because that's just the nature of buying used. If you have spotted a potential problem before purchase, you're at an advantage and might be better off just looking for something else.

I am thinking of asking the dealer to have his mechanic inspect the car and take action as required. If the problem is simply a matter of adding or flushing some coolant or lubricant or tightening a belt, the dealership would correct the problem (so far as my description indicates a problem) and relieve me of that risk. I am not inclined to buy the car otherwise (unless it is normal for maximum cooling to vary by 50% or more). I see compressor replacement estimates or 3 to $4k and I want to avoid that predicament if I can help it. If it's normal for maximum A/C cooling to vary by 50% or more, I would like to know that too.

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