AIR CONDITIONING… TO SEAL OR NOT TO SEAL? THAT IS THE QUESTION

I wanted to share with you a situation that happened at our shop recently. One of our customers, we’ll call him Bob, had a situation with his air conditioning system. It was not cooling but that is not an unusual situation during this hot weather. Even systems that are in good condition can lose up to 4 ounces of Freon a year. He shopped around looking for an inexpensive option and ended up taking his car to another repair facility to fix it. They added the Freon but within a day or so it was still not cooling. This shop did a thorough examination and found that the condenser had a leak. They gave Bob an estimate of $650 to replace and recharge it.

Bob decided to try other options that he had heard about and researched online. He had read about sealers and decided to try it. He chose one for $200. He wasn’t sure it would work but felt it was worth it if he saved $450. Sadly, it didn’t work.

He then brought the car to us to see what we could do. When he told us the scenario we were concerned because we had seen the results of other quick fixes with sealant in the past. We checked out the vehicle and found the problem. He had used an extreme overdose of sealer. Many do-it-yourselfers feel that more is better when using a sealant but actually, it is just the opposite. The sealer is designed to become a solid when it comes in contact with air and that is why only a small amount is needed. When too much sealer is used, the results, as with this vehicle, is damage to every part of the air conditioning system.

Instead of replacing the original condenser as the first shop advised, it now needed the condenser plus a compressor, expansion valve, switches, and most of the hoses. That $650 estimate is now a cost of more than $2500!

Most of the time when your A/C isn’t cooling it is just a case of adding Freon. That is the good news. When it involves more though, A/C failures are one of the most expensive automotive repairs because it is challenging to find small leaks. Only large leaks can be found with a visual inspection.

We truly understand why Bob tried to fix the leak(s) himself. He hoped to save money but I will tell you that when it comes to this type of repair, we don’t recommend you try it on your own unless you have a lot of automotive experience. If you do decide to try it yourself though, please proceed with caution and don’t overdo the sealer. Too much can be a very costly mistake.

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How We Keep Your Ride Going Strong in Glendora’s Summer’s Heat

Vector illustration of a red car moving along the ocean mountain road.

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too! Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora while the relentless summer sun shines down on you. Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack. Here a just a few things we at Certified Automotive Specialists look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last five years. It is always a good idea to have them tested and the technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can help determine how much life they have left in them.

  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months. We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated. We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays. If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road. We have had more than a few vehicles towed in to Certified Automotive Specialists due to a faulty cooling system that could have been prevented.

  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!

  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.

  • Air-conditioning systems are a must in Glendora and need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

We are here to help your car face the challenges that come with hot days. Give us a call. You and your car will be glad you did!

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions, and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

How We Keep Your Ride Going Strong in Glendora’s Summer’s Heat

Gene-Car-Talk

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too!  Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement in Glendora while the relentless summer sun shines down on you.  Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack.  Here a just a few things we at Certified Automotive Specialists look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last five years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested and the technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can help determine how much life they have left in them.
  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road. We have had more than a few vehicles towed in to Certified Automotive Specialists due to a faulty cooling system that could have been prevented.
  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!
  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.
  • Air-conditioning systems are a must in Glendora and need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

We are here to help your car face the challenges that come with hot days.  Give us a call.  You and your car will be glad you did!

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

AIR CONDITIONING FREON UPDATE

 

Gene-Car-Talk

In an effort to slow down the human factor in global warming, car manufacturers in the USA will now receive substantial CO2 credits which means more miles to the gallon if they comply with the plan to phase out R-134a refrigerant. Europe has already ramped up in this area.

The new EPA regulation states that R-134a cannot be installed in new cars and light trucks built for domestic sale after 2021. Similar regulations for medium and heavy-duty trucks are coming this year, so the 2021 deadline may affect all domestic vehicles by that time. Vehicles for export will still be able to use R-134a systems until 2025.

In the meantime, Daimler, which had charged that the alternative refrigerant R-1234yf posed potential fire safety dangers, has finally agreed to use R-1234yf systems in its Mercedes vehicles for markets where the refrigerant either is mandated or is effectively pressed for by regulatory bodies (as in the U.S.). There has not been a set rollout schedule, however. Daimler stated that it will add an under the hood argon gas canister with spray lines directed at all parts that its engineers say might become hot enough for a leaking refrigerant to ignite. It will be a fire-extinguisher of sorts.

R-1234yf cannot be retrofitted to R-134a systems so production of R-134a will continue indefinitely for service. The R-1234yf CAFE credits are 13.8 g/mi for cars, 17.2 g/mi for trucks. (GWP, a metric used by environmental regulatory agencies worldwide, is a measure of how much a given mass of a gas contributes to global warming. It is a relative scale which compares the amount of heat trapped by greenhouse gas to the amount of heat trapped in an equal mass of CO2.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began transitioning its changeover in 2014MY. General Motors has had just one entry in that period, the Cadillac XTS, but GM will be virtually across the board by the end of this year. Ford says it will begin its changeover in April with the Escape, but no details of its rollout are available. Sending vehicles with either refrigerant down the same assembly line is not a difficult process.

The price of R-1234yf is reported to me much higher that R-134a.  We at Certified Automotive Specialists wanted Glendora drivers to know what is coming!  To find out more about air conditioning and Freon (refrigerant) visit our website.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Should I use AC leak-sealer, or will it destroy my AC system?

Here are two common questions that I hear frequently from our customers:

 

1.  Can AC leak-sealer destroy my cars’ AC system by gumming it up?
2.  Is it true that most shops won’t even touch a cars’ AC system if it tests positive for leak sealer for fear of it damaging their equipment?

 
Suppose a car has a leak on the manifold line and o-ring going to the compressor, and it’s bad. The customer goes to a local auto parts store and purchases a can of R-134A with oil and leak-sealer. The person behind the counter says that there’s nothing to be worried about — the amount of sealer in the can is so minimal. Not only do they recommend it to their customers but use it themselves. Needless to say, most folks can’t pay the $400 to fix the AC, and they are taking the longest car trip of their life soon. They NEED the AC for this trip, and also need this car to be working properly.
So question is: should AC leak-sealers be OKAY to use? Will they gum up the AC system, destroy anything…? And MOST importantly, will shops refuse to service a cars’ AC system once it is used?

My answer would be: I would NOT put the sealer in the system. To repair it properly now will save a lot of money later. Most of those sealers are only temporary, if they work at all, plus, they will eventually clog up the entire A/C system. If that happens, then you will be looking at big bucks to replace the entire system.

If the leak is bad, there’s not can of sealer that will work. Since you were told that there’s minimal amount of sealer in the can, then there’s no way that you can seal the leak.

Some leak sealers only work on SMALL leaks, those that take months to show up. If your system can’t hold a vacuum for 45 minutes, their sealer won’t work.

If it is a hose and O-ring at the compressor, you can take the car to a certified AC technician and have them use a vacuum pump to evacuate the system, change the hose and O-ring yourself and then take it back for a test and charge. My opinion is the cans of refrigerant shouldn’t be sold and putting ANY stop-leak products in ANY automotive fluid system should not ever be the repair procedure, this even goes for Fix-a-Flat. Fix things correctly, or not at all.

As for our shop, if our machine evacuates an AC system that has sealer in it, the sealant will contaminate the machine. Therefore, we will not risk damaging expensive equipment.

IS YOUR AIR CONDITIONER READY FOR WARMER DAYS?

Spring is in the air and many of our customers’ thoughts turn to…air conditioning.  We get countless calls asking us how much it costs to fix.  There is no one simple answer to this question but I’ll give you some industry-wide estimates so you have something to go on. Generally, if you drive an older vehicle it will cost more to fix because the parts will be harder to find.

 

Testing the A/C System: A technician must test the system to determine what is wrong with it.  This requires a test for leaks and an inspection of the parts such as the compressor, condenser, hoses, and valves. This usually costs somewhere between $175 and $700.

 

Recharging the A/C System: This is the most common fix of the A/C system.  It needs refrigerant added and it needs to be able to flow through the system properly.  This cost is generally $80 to $275.

 

Leaking Hose:  Finding and fixing a leak in the A/C system can take time and isn’t as easy as it sounds. This costs between $400 and $1,100.

 

Broken Compressor:  This is the most complex of all to fix and costs from $275 to $500.

 

Replacing the Unit:  The cost of this is determined by the make and model you drive.  The cost to repair starts at $1,800 and can go as high as $2,900.

 

Working on air conditioning systems is not easy.  The system itself is built in and around your car’s engine making it difficult.  Specialized equipment is required and a technician that is certified in this area is a must.  In some countries it is illegal for a non-authorized technician to work on A/C systems. A non-experienced technician can inadvertently cause problems and contaminate the environment.

 

These prices are not set in stone but an industry-wide average.  Have a certified technician give you an estimate after they have diagnosed your vehicle.