Air con woes and question…

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  • Air con woes and question…
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    If you’ve no idea where to start then yes it’s messy- could be compressor, could be a pipe, diagnosis alone can be expensive and the fix can be eyewatering. But you’re not at that point yet I think

    peterfile
    Member

    I took mine to an air con specialist, who charges £20 to test the system and tell you what’s wrong (if it’s more than just a recharge that’s needed), the cost of which is then deducted from any work/recharge.

    My compressor had gone, and after a quote of £550 I decided to leave it. Got a couple more quotes and they were both in the same ball park (Mercedes compressor is about £450).

    Bought a used compressor from a breakers on ebay, asked a local garage to fit and recharge. Cost £70 for the compressor and £70 for the fitting/recharge.

    Definitely worth taking to someone to diagnose the actual fault.

    grim168
    Member

    We have an old primera that was never brilliant. Bought at 12 months old and now had it 13 years. Had it regassed few years ago and it didn’t improve much. We also have an 8 year old mondeo who’s aircon is ace. I’ve found some cars work well some don’t.

    legend
    Member

    Take it to a proper garage. A leak should be easily ‘sniffed’ out by a proper aircon expert

    yetidave
    Member

    we were told that if you don’t use the aircon often the seals dry up, which then loses the charge. So if its been a while since it was last used this may be one issue. They can put a die into the system to see where it comes out though. Some systems suffer from stones hitting the radiator and causing gas leaks as well. We had a 6yr old mazda and a 5 yr old Seat Leon before, never had a recharge untilthe most recent 6mnth old seat which had been used as a deomstrator went flat as it had never been used. Seat sorted this for us though.

    sugdenr
    Member

    My car dealer mate puts aside £700 for aircon repair, anything back is bonus £500 is the average cost. compressor is expensive to buy and that and condensor/dryer are ok to get at and can be changed yourself, but once its into the cabin for the evaporator then its hard. Fault finding is also often hard and required dyes and experience.

    The refrigerant contains substances that keep the seals in good order (on compressor and hoses etc), failing to run aircon regularly to circulate this lubricant stuff or letting it decompress and leaving it is mostly a recipe for a sieve.

    Often you can re-gas and it will work for a couple of day then its gone again. In any event, the gas is very fine molecules and slowly bleeds out of the system (round the seals, through the hoses) anyway – almost all aircon needs a recharge after 3yrs.

    ScottChegg
    Member

    A proper place (NOT Kwikfit) will put it on a machine to pressure test your system. It takes about an hour. Along with that is a UV fluorescent dye that will show you where any leaks are quickly and accurately.

    It might still be more expensive than you can bear, but at least you’ll know what the full story is.

    globalti
    Member

    My 2012 Passat had lost 23% of the refrigerant to evaporation after just one year. They need servicing every year.

    plyphon
    Member

    Last year my aircon stopped working,

    Took it to a garage who UV’d it and said “It was a tiny leak” and an O-ring had gone, parts + labour + gas was £170 quid.

    When the weather started getting warmer again I noticed it had stopped working again.

    I took it to another garage. They said “It’s a tiny leak but your compressor has gone, we can re-gas but in about 3 months it’ll be all gone”.

    I’m guessing the first garage just mugged me off and re-gassed it anyway not being able to find the leak.

    New compressor (Reconditioned) is about £400 quid. Yet to visit a breakers. Pretty annoyed tbh but decided to do without for now.

    stumpy01
    Member

    Air-con went in my car about 2 years ago and it turned out to be the compressor. A Skoda dealer next door to where I work reckoned a reconditioned compressor alone was going to be £850; the car is a Seat, but basically the same as a Fabia underneath.

    The independent place I normally used replaced the compressor for £500 all in. If I didn’t do the mileage I do, I would probably not have bothered, but at the time I was doing 32k miles/year so figured it was worth it.

    A proper place (NOT Kwikfit) will put it on a machine to pressure test your system. It takes about an hour. Along with that is a UV fluorescent dye that will show you where any leaks are quickly and accurately.

    IIRC they all (should) do that, you need a licence/permit to use the refrigerants and it’s against the rules to knowingly vent it to atmosphere, hence most places should be capable of diagnosing a fault.

    The £20 bottle you get from halfords are exempt as you don’t actually vent the system, just top it up, the garage systems will let all the gas out, then re-gas with fresh stuff.

    Cheers for all the tales and info. I reckon I’ll just put up with a bit of noise from the open windows. Living in the north east, I only really need air con for three weeks a year anyway…

    Finally got sick of alternately cooking myself and deafening myself by opening the car windows. Took the car to Halfords Serice Centre (yes, yes, I know) and asked them to re-gas the system – it’s never worked since I bought the car 2nd hand.

    Returned an hour later to be told it wouldn’t take a charge. I asked if they could fix it and basically got told it’s too expensive, just open your windows.

    I guess it would involve a lot of pipe checking to find the leak(s)? Thus the price?

    retro83
    Member

    globalti – Member

    My 2012 Passat had lost 23% of the refrigerant to evaporation after just one year. They need servicing every year.

    Sounds like you have a leaky o-ring or something, 10% is the expected amount.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    My Golf sprung a leak in the air con pipe between the chassis / dash and the engine. Total repair cost was £930, £250 for the pipe and the rest labour to lift the engine out to swap the pipe! Can’t say I was very happy about that. However, it did fix it.

    TheBrick
    Member

    2 80 aircon wins again.

    Air on specialists don’t do a pressure test, the do a vacuum test. They create a vacuum in the system and the system has to hold the vacuum for a period of time. This is done for two purposes, as a leak test and to draw out moisture from the system prior to a regass, as the system cannot have any moisture within it. If there is a leak then a regas can be performed with the addition of a fluorescent dye. You drive around a few days with the system on and they can then see where the leak is from the flourescent dye. This costs about £80. The leak might be something that is relatively cheaply fixed, like a leaking seal or something, but could also be prohibitively expensive to fix. Worth a punt for £80 though. I just wouldn’t have a car without A/C these days. I use it in winter and damp weather as it dries out the ait too and helps demist windows quickly.

    I’m looking at sorting out the aircon on my daily beater at the moment

    It has never worked in all the time I’ve had it (18 months) and God only knows how long before that.

    Last year I took it to Kwik Fit for a regas/free diagnostic and they told me the system had a pissing leak somewhere, probably the condenser. Sod that I thought, I’ll leave it.

    This year though I got to wondering and pulled the condenser out for inspection. As it happens one of the pipe stubs was corroded and has completely broken off.

    So my question is – if I buy a new condenser (£60) and dryer (£15) and fit them with new O-rings etc, what are the chances of the rest of the system being OK? That is, as someone above said, I have read that if the system is not used for some time, the o-rings dry up and leak, the compressor seal can do the same or can lunch itself as soon as it is restarted etc.

    Do I need to worry about that or is it more likely to be OK?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    While we’re on the subject, anyone recommend a proper aircon place in Edinburgh? I’m getting tired of this sunny spell, obviously the only way to end it is to fix the blowers.

    peterfile
    Member

    These guys came recommended to me from a few people KlimaKool including the indy that services my car. Nice guy and was honest/helpful.

    Sterling based.

    EDIT: A colleague has just informed me that Groupon has sent out an email this morning with an air con service for £19 at C.M. Garage Services in East Kilbride.

    Premier Icon Kryton57
    Subscriber

    So, why would my recently re gassed air con be icey cold on the move, yet revert to warm (and judging by the expelled humidity into the car, off) when I’m stationary?

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Subscriber

    Hmmm @ those prices.

    Mine stopped working altogether at about 10-11 years old. Not even sure it’s economical to check tbh – could really use a new car instead.
    If it’s less than 100 euros for a re-gas and maybe some seals then I’d pay it, but a mechanic I took it to about 2 years ago advised me the compressor was on the way out (not sure how he knew this), so I’m guessing it’s gonna be big money.

    Muke
    Member

    Have been waiting 3 weeks for a new condenser 🙁
    Kia say that there are no spares currently available in the uk and are awaiting delivery.

    Old school windows down it is then 8)

    b r
    Member

    we were told that if you don’t use the aircon often the seals dry up, which then loses the charge. So if its been a while since it was last used this may be one issue.

    This ^

    You need the aircon on, all year – otherwise it will dry out and then the compressor will fail. Based on my cars that have had it the extra fuel usage is negligible compared to the repair costs.

    When buying s/h I always test the aircon to ensure it’s icy cold, otherwise walk away.

    bencooper
    Member

    This is the kind of thing they should really tell you when you buy a car – we rarely used it of course, to save fuel.

    This is why I like bikes, not cars.

    peterfile
    Member

    This is why I like bikes, not cars.

    Perversely, the time I need the air con the most is when I’ve been on my bike! If I drive out to trails (i know, i know!) then there’s nothing worse than getting back into a car which has been sitting in the sun when my body is already running warm too.

    b r
    Member

    This is the kind of thing they should really tell you when you buy a car

    When you buy shoes do you also need advice in the correct way to tie your laces?

    peterfile
    Member

    When you buy shoes do you also need advice in the correct way to tie your laces?

    Not quite the same thing is it?

    If the soles fell off because you didn’t wear the shoes for 2 months, would you be happy?

    Not many people use their air con in winter because it can seem counter intuitive. Wouldn’t hurt to stick something in the manual (not that people would read it though!)

    bencooper
    Member

    It is counterintuitive. You see, I’d think that the more something is used, the more likelihood there is of it failing – the compressor presumably has a limited life, for example.

    monkey_boy
    Member

    didnt they do a test aswell, you use more fuel driving round with the windows open than you do with the aircon on?

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