Recommended Posts

My indie always puts a note on the invoice for my annual service (GS300 2007). 'Advise Air-conditioning service (every two years)'. I've had the car from it being 2 years old in the 8 years of ownership I've never had a problem with the AC and I've never had it serviced. I have the AC on all the time, summer and winter (approx mileage is 5K p.a.) and am not concerned about the resulting lower mpg. From what I've read from various sources online, although it's not strictly necessary to have the AC on all time, it is recommended to have it on quite often to avoid the seals failing due to them drying out.

During the recent very hot weather the car has remained very comfortable inside although I did think that maybe, just maybe, if the AC was serviced it might result in even colder air being distributed around the car. So I"m just wondering what experience you guys and girls have had with your AC and if any of you have your AC serviced at any regular intervals. If you do have it serviced, do you have it done by your regular garage or an air-conditioning specialist?

 

P.S. I believe Halfords charge about £50 for a recharge and about £60 for a recharge and clean.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Unless there are any leaks or other problems, an aircon system should never need any servicing or any attention at all. Like you, I also keep mine on all year round and I've never had to have any maintenance/service or other work done on any AC system on any car I've owned in more than 40 years.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I would go with 2 years service, there is no such thing as "leak free A/C system". Over time it still looses some coolant, but coolant is not what really matters for longevity of the system. Together with coolant you get lubricants and if you do not follow 2 years service intervals for A/C then you might loose lubricants in the coolant (or together with coolant) and it might prematurely wear out your system.

It is good you keep your A/C always on, the biggest mistake people do are not using A/C for prolonged periods of time, which as you said dries the seals etc. I guess that and low mileage explains longevity of your A/C.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, Linas.P said:

I would go with 2 years service [...] Over time it still looses some coolant, but coolant is not what really matters for longevity of the system. Together with coolant you get lubricants and if you do not follow 2 years service intervals for A/C then you might loose lubricants in the coolant (or together with coolant) and it might prematurely wear out your system.

How can you lose coolant and lubricant from a sealed system?

Like I said above, if there's a leak or if seals dry out and cause a loss of refrigerant/lubrication then fair enough, but it's impossible to lose anything from a sealed system unless there is a problem and so a "service" is a complete waste of time and money. At worst, doing unnecessary work on a good, sealed system may introduce problems that weren't there in the first place.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Herbie said:

How can you lose coolant and lubricant from a sealed system?

Like I said above, if there's a leak or if seals dry out and cause a loss of refrigerant/lubrication then fair enough, but it's impossible to lose anything from a sealed system unless there is a problem and so a "service" is a complete waste of time and money. At worst, doing unnecessary work on a good, sealed system may introduce problems that weren't there in the first place.

There is no such thing as 100% sealed system, or system which stays sealed indefinitely - that is especially true when we are talking about high pressure gases. There are just better or worse sealed systems and there are systems which literally leaks. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are always deals on Groupon, etc for aircon recharges for £35 at ATS. Just had it done on my toy car (Honda S2000), previous air vent temp was 31.2C, now it’s around 6C! What a difference! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Linas.P said:

There is no such thing as 100% sealed system, or system which stays sealed indefinitely - that is especially true when we are talking about high pressure gases. There are just better or worse sealed systems and there are systems which literally leaks. 

Well I'm sorry Linas, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

There's only one measure of if an aircon system is working and that's temperature. I've never had any of my car aircon systems serviced or regassed and I've always been able to get cabin temperatures so low (single figure Celcius) that it could become uncomfortable if left on low settings for too long.

As long as it's doing that then it's working perfectly and needs no work doing to it. If it loses the ability to provide cold air then that's the time to get it sorted but there's no need for 'routine servicing'.

EDIT: Just thought - most people don't have routine servicing done on their fridges and/or freezers but again, our freezer is more than 10 years old and still as cold as the day we bought it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, please, with sugar on the top, never compare fridge or home AC (hermetic compressor, system mostly soldered together) with car's AC (compressor belt driven and 10 sealed fittings here and there in the system) in terms of reliability or robustness.

Second, let's first rationally define "leak" (as g/yr or smth), and next we could discuss what is the timing for services with fill-up and user experience for 5yrs, 10yrs or 20yrs car's AC. Because other way, users of 5yrs old cars with average leak 40g per year ("I have never heard about any problem and my AC was always ice cold") could be in big pointless fight with users of 20yrs cars with smaller average leak 30g per year ("my AC is weaker and weaker, I need a fill up maybe").

As Linas said, always there is a leak (marginal at hermetic type, like fridge, but still). Question is how big is a leak and how much "surplus" freon manufacturer put into system to cover possible micro-leaks (so, how system was designed in terms of storage of agent against real needs for flow and pressures). Typical AC in car got like 40-50% freon as storage for microleaks (and warranty...), means user don't recognise any "cooling" problem until 60% of weight left. And for "temperature" criteria even less, probably 30-40% is enough for make air from vent "ice cold" in static test with vigorous revs (but it could be not enough freon for proper heat transfer in very hot moisture day in the trafic jam).

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK Ben, being as you asked with the sugar on top, I promise I'll never compare domestic systems with vehicle systems again  :laughing:

I understand what you're saying, and Linas too, but my only point is this - yes, if, or when, you notice that it isn't getting as cold as it used to, go and get it fixed, but there is absolutely no point in wasting money on a "service" every two years if it's still working and getting as cold as you want it to.

Just my opinion and personal experience of five different cars with AC over the last 40 years or more  :thumbsup:

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From my experience it is better to spend £49 (or as low as £25) for routine maintenance every 2 years rather then replace A/C compressors for £700+ one day. That is called preventative maintenance - you don't wait until your engine blows before replacing oil are you?! As well I would agree that for first ~5 years ... probably don't bother - car is new, seals, compressor, piping etc. are new and relative leak rate is going to be low, but after that I would do it with increase frequency until eventually getting to industry recommended 2 years e.g. 5 years, then 3 years and then 2 years thereafter. If A/C needs to be re-gassed more often then once in 2 years I would start looking for problems in system.

As well fridge doesn't get showered with 70MPH rocks, subjected to several Gs of shock, nor sits next to vibrating and extremely hot engine.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Linas, you too, please with sugar on the top, don't compare fridge with car's AC 😂 because your analogy is wrong too - yes, normal fridge will be dead in a week used in hi-g 4x4 pickup jumping over rough terrain, but the car's AC is DESIGNED to work more-less fine in the car, for years.

About service - I am somewhere in the middle 😉 Approach "don't touch if its not broken" is cheapest and easy, but good for near new cars (in the other words - near new machines). And Linas is right, fill-up or some panick moves when [censored] hit the fan, is typicaly too late, and rebuild of dying system is economical nonsense. Service more often, yes, it is some weak form of preventive maintenance, but easily could be nonsense and waste of resources - why every 2 years, not every year? why yearly, not monthly? (if I have a £100 for every discussion like this in my industrial practice last 30yrs, I got used LC500 not used GS... 😜) .

So my feeling about AC service is - AC is designed as whole car (and its warranty...), for a few years and/or 100k miles, roughly; slightly more in lexus, slightly less in vauxhall. So it should be serviced, maybe refurbished, every few years, four - five? with presumption is new or mint in the beginning. (and other presumption is we care to keep a mint AC or a mint car)

And I define "service" not as "cash upfront, fill-up, impress customer with 8deg on vent, go, go, go" like Halfords or other ignorant minions with vacuum pump, but: suck all freon on proper weighter and to carefuly judge how much left, replace dryer/filter, full load of fresh oil, etc. etc. Lets say every 4 years (and in the beginning, if there is used car with no history and significant mileage). And it is weak form of preventive maintenance, because it gives only fresh oil, dry clean freon and some information about leak (if we lost 0.1kg or 0.5kg last years). There is no way new oil and filter rebuild compressor or sealings, so don't be overoptimistic about result of such "preventive maintenance" in 15 or 20yr old car. Recognition of leak (significant lost of freon) or any problem at "service", should be clear signal to proper maintenance (refurbish whole system before expensive break down), not for "let's fill-up and we will be fine for next 2 or 4 years", because you will not.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, The-Acre said:

Well I'm going to bed!!

Have you tired with 400 words about AC services? Sorry, it is difficult to discuss any technical issues in tweets or in super-funny one-liners. And sorry for my Engrish. Good night.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Ben01 said:

Have you tired with 400 words about AC services? Sorry, it is difficult to discuss any technical issues in tweets or in super-funny one-liners. And sorry for my Engrish. Good night.

Don't take every comment too seriously Ben, much of it is lighthearted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So was mine 😉 and "Idiotic Sarcasm In The Intherneth" is my middle name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thread that achieved nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Verbout said:

Another thread that achieved nothing.

I beg to differ. The OP asked for opinions and experiences and got them, albeit from opposite ends of the spectrum. It's up to him what he takes away from this, as with anyone else who reads this topic.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Verbout said:

Another thread that achieved nothing. 

I beg to differ. I have a lot of fun. If anybody think I am here for anything than "90% fun, 9% share a knowledge, 1% looking for a knowledge" I may suggest he/she is wrong.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the aircon in my GS is the coolest I ever felt in any car ever.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Initial P said:

I think the aircon in my GS is the coolest I ever felt in any car ever.

Irrespective of the aircon performance, driving a car with a Lexus badge is cool !  Don't want a German marque here.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, steveledzep said:

driving a car with a Lexus badge is cool !  Don't want a German marque here.

This is I call "steal the topic" 🤣 About AC performance, current GS is pretty good. In my all-time fleet only some americans were on par with GS, I think. BTW maybe because GS/LS design was focused on US market and powerful AC is a selling point in the big part of US.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Middle-east as well... Imagine Saudi prince drifting one in 44C without powerful A/C!

Image result for arab crash gif

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With all due respect, Saudi princes are not target for Lexus 😜 especially in late '90, when the most components and details were defined for '00 GS/LS. But rednecks from south US or  Los Angeles area and Silicon Valley people from hot west, oh yeah, I bet they were. And they had/have mentality like I have seen last times in India - if on the hot wet day AC in your car can not bring the moisture over whole roof and all glass, you are a poor peasant and you car is a [censored] joke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And the aircon comes on very fast too no need to open windows for long.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/1/2018 at 11:03 PM, Herbie said:

Unless there are any leaks or other problems, an aircon system should never need any servicing or any attention at all. Like you, I also keep mine on all year round and I've never had to have any maintenance/service or other work done on any AC system on any car I've owned in more than 40 years.

Like Herbie I've never had an AC system serviced and the AC on the current car is working fine so I'm going to leave well alone. Thanks for all your responses - It's good to talk!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now