I dropped the car off at the dealership on Monday.
The guy tried to suggest that perhaps the problem was in the computerized vent controls, or that something else had gone wrong… anything but their A/C service having screwed up the system. (Mind you the A/C was working when I dropped it off BEFORE they serviced it. The A/C just hadn’t been serviced in 3 years and wasn’t blowing as cold as it should have been.)
I was pretty pissed off at being left in Palm Springs with no A/C and temps hovering around 111F.
I described the car as my “Pussy” car. The service writer looked at me quizzically and I explained that every time I wanted to take the car out for a spin… It had a headache. I also described the car as a busted motherfucking waste of money. Needless to say they handed me the keys to a rental and hustled me out of the lobby with great alacrity.
I heard nothing on Monday, and still nothing on Tuesday.
This morning I get an email saying the problem is the Schrader valve on the high pressure side of the system. They don’t have any in stock but will have one tomorrow.
What they’re expecting me to believe is this;
In their initial service 2 weeks ago,
The system was vacuum tested for more than an hour.
Then the system was purged.
Dye was added and then the system was recharged.
It supposedly tested fine in their shop.
A week or two go by with me literally driving the car twice and I have an A/C failure.
Hummmmm I think something else is going on.
The valve in question for those who may not know, looks like the valve that you use when you put air in your tires. It’s a common part, and they are prone to fail depending on a number of factors and they are also pretty dang easy to replace.
It’s taken them 2 days to figure out a Schrader valve has a problem? Especially that one? No… something else is going on.
Either their initial service was so flawed, it screwed up a lot more than just a valve OR the guys working on the car now are completely incompetent.
Going into Mr Science Mode for a moment
This is a simplistic explanation…
A/C works by compressing a gas into a liquid, then feeding that liquid through what looks like a small radiator in the cabin of the vehicle. As the liquid moves through the radiator, the cabin air is circulated through the radiator which warms the liquid enough that it changes back into a gas. (There’s a bunch of physics that explains what happens next) As the liquid undergoes the change from liquid to gas it cools the radiator and the air circulating through the radiator gets cold too. (Think about how aerosol spray cans get cold when you use them, it’s the same principal.) Then the gas is pumped to a larger radiator (heat exchanger) in the front of the engine where the outside air flowing through the engine compartment cools it down before its fed back to the compressor where the process repeats. This basic description also covers your home A/C unit
The side of the compressor referred to as the High Pressure side is where the liquid freon is sent to the passenger compartment. The low pressure side in the side where the gas comes into the compressor.
If you have a leak on the “High” side, it’s pretty obvious and if there’s a dye agent in the freon then it’s unbelievably obvious since at the site of the leak you’ll have everything around coated with dye.
So why then has it taken these guys 2 days to figure out what the problem was?
I did home and commercial heating and air conditioning when I was younger. THE FIRST place you look at it the maintenance valves. The rest of the system is sealed, so unless you know some physical problem occurred you ALWAYS start at the mechanical stuff.
It works like this.
If the compressor kicks over, then you’ve probably lost some if not all of your coolant. If there is still some freon in the system, you recharge. If it works, while connected to your coolant source and you see nominal operating pressures on the high and low side of the system, it’s probably a bad Schrader valve. You can prove that when you disconnect your test gear because you can hear it or see it leaking.
If in fact it’s a bad Schrader, depressurize the system, replace BOTH valves (if one failed the other is likely to), vacuum purge the system, put new coolant (usually freon) in, cap it off, and test. While you’re letting the system run you walk the lines to make sure there’s nothing else that needs attention. If you see a problem you let the owner know and what it’s likely to cost.
If there’s no other issue, you hand the customer the bill and schedule a preventative maintenance next year.
I used to do up to 8 of these services a day on homes in Florida. This is not magic, it’s just logic and good customer service.
The point is, I don’t believe for a minute that it took 2 days to find a bad Schrader valve. It’s a normal maintenance port and usually is sitting either right next to the compressor with the low pressure valve or they’re both mounted next to the heat exchanger in the front of the engine compartment.
Regardless of where it was, one glance from even an incompetent moron of an A/C mechanic and the problem should have been blindingly obvious. This is especially true since they’d already put the dye in the system when they initially serviced it.
Which means… I’ve been lied to. What little trust I had is gone & I’m looking for a new dealer to service my car until the end of it’s warranty.
After that… I’m going to find myself a good independent who knows how to work on cars without relying totally on computers and sensors.
I want a mechanic that knows and loves cars.
Someone named Deiter, Hans, Heinrick, or Klaus