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Oh man what a mess. So no paperwork but I did get out of them it's done by Halfords. So I went to the store around the core er from the dealer and asked about the regas they do. 

I have no idea if this part is true hopefully someone here can confirm. They said it's not possible to but the wrong one in and they have 2 types and each has a different nozzle which will only fit according to what it requires. So there saying the right stuff is in the car. 

Anyone buy that?

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Just now, jpower said:

Oh man what a mess. So no paperwork but I did get out of them it's done by Halfords. So I went to the store around the core er from the dealer and asked about the regas they do. 

I have no idea if this part is true hopefully someone here can confirm. They said it's not possible to but the wrong one in and they have 2 types and each has a different nozzle which will only fit according to what it requires. So there saying the right stuff is in the car. 

Anyone buy that?

Yeah I do. There's too much at stake for them to get this wrong. I can believe that it may have been done incorrectly once or twice which would account for the horror stories but it would only take one such event for them to make damn sure it didn't happen again for fear of the liability.

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1 hour ago, jpower said:

I have no idea if this part is true hopefully someone here can confirm. They said it's not possible to but the wrong one in and they have 2 types and each has a different nozzle which will only fit according to what it requires. So there saying the right stuff is in the car. 

It's a long time since I needed to know things like this so I'm not 100% sure but I seem to remember that different refrigerant gasses do indeed have different nozzles, so in that respect they are correct.

However, the oils that are added to the gas are sold in cans and poured manually into an oil tank in the machine (photo below), so it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that someone makes a mistake and puts the wrong oil in, which is why, ideally, they should have a dedicated machine for each oil or a really good flushing routine between jobs.

Having said all that, we have to trust people to know what they're doing so although there is a possibility of things going wrong, chances are that they won't.


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To be fair they did seem hyper confident and very much like it's just not possible.  The above looks fancy, in terms of Halfords they just use a canister with a pressure gauge to push whatever inside the canister into your system.

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6 minutes ago, Herbie said:

Having said all that, we have to trust people to know what they're doing so although there is a possibility of things going wrong, chances are that they won't.

This. And given the potential financial disaster it would be for Halfords if they got this wrong, I'd be willing to bet they are pretty careful.

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  • Britprius
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  • Name: John
  • Lexus Model: GS450H
  • Year of Lexus: 2007
  • Location: Herefordshire

I would not go to Halfords under any circumstances, and have them even check the AC pressure. The hybrid Toyota/Lexus cars use a different lubricant in the AC system (ND11). This lubricant has a high electrical insulation properties compared to the lubricant used in normal cars (PAG) where the compressor is driven by the engine, and not by an electric motor as with the hybrids.
Just using gauges, and lines that are contaminated with PAG lubricant can cause compressor motor failure sometimes months down the line because of it's conductivity to electricity. This makes it impossible to prove damage by contamination some time later when it occurs. A new combined motorised compressor is I beleave around £2500. You have been warned.

The compressor will not be harmed by low gas pressure as the system has a pressure switch built into it to restrict it's operation in this event.

John.

 

What John says. Don't even let Halfrauds open the bonnet. They are not specialiats, or technicians. And when they fail they will simply tell you to take it to a Lexus dealer. It might be too late by then.

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On 6/26/2019 at 1:01 PM, jpower said:

Oh man what a mess. So no paperwork but I did get out of them it's done by Halfords. So I went to the store around the core er from the dealer and asked about the regas they do. 

I have no idea if this part is true hopefully someone here can confirm. They said it's not possible to but the wrong one in and they have 2 types and each has a different nozzle which will only fit according to what it requires. So there saying the right stuff is in the car. 

Anyone buy that?

Nope. There's two types of refridgerant gas. Not really the point. The point is if they inject the WRONG LUBE your system will fail. Because you can guarantee they won't know anything about that.

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Unless you are really determined to believe some one who has done a half day training course rather than someone who actually knows what he is talking about.

 

Your money, your decision.

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Just now, Lost it said:

Nope. There's two types of refridgerant gas. Not really the point. The point is if they inject the WRONG LUBE your system will fail. Because you can guarantee they won't know anything about that.

I think you're being overly cynical. Halfords may not be the worlds best mechanics but they're a reasonably successful business with many branches across the isles working on peoples cars every day. You don't keep a business like that running successfully if you're randomly busting super-expensive hybrid AC compressors because you haven't read the service procedures for them. It would be the same as them putting the wrong engine oil in, they're not going to open themselves up to that kind of liability exposure by doing something stupid. The people doing their AC work will have been trained to know what they're doing and use the correct gas and lubricants according to the appropriate technical service data for the car. What do you think they're charging for a re-gas, £100 max? No way they're going to risk causing serious damage to a car to make that kind of money. Hybrids with these special compressors are not the first cars to have differing AC service requirements, there's a much older generation of cars that use a now-outdated different type of gas. I don't think they'd get that wrong either, it's just a question of referring to the service data. You're implying they are backstreet cowboys who just do stuff without even looking at the service information. I think I'd give them more credit than that.

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I can tell you stories. How about them telling a good friend of mine that they can "Force a regen" of his DPF on his Kia Sportage and then let him watch aghast whilst they rev his derv engine to it's rev limiter for 2 minutes? You cannot "Force" a regen by doing that the car has to be in gear and rolling.. Any mechanic knows this. Halfords didn't.

As to their cost base? Well they charged him £85 for that "service". I told him to bring it round, I'll rev the nuts off it for two minutes for half that price.

What about the Halfords MOT guy I caught with a stanley blade cutting a ball joint rubber so they could fail the car? On camera too. Ministry loved that one.

How about the Halfords "technician" who literally smashed the headlight out of a Merc to change a side light bulb? Happened.

Or the one who didn't know where the port was for filling the a/c on a Jaguar S type. I thought I'd give them a try... And it's in a manual, it's even on the internet.

These are just the things I know of, and know the source of so I trust that source.

On a different note. I went in and asked a so called "expert" what the impedance of some speakers they had on the rack was. He didn't even know what impedance means. Would you let someone like that take your dashboard apart? Because what that tells me is that they are perfectly happy to connect parts that don't actually have the same load parameters of each other. I'm not a perfectionist, but I do believe if you know a guy who does nothing but A/C systems all day I'd sooner take his advice than listen to someone who has done a 4 hour course including fag breaks on the same subject.

And if they do manage to cook your A/C compressor, what proof do you have as to what oil they injected? None at all my friend.

They dont know what they are doing else they would have known the Hybrid uses a different a/c lube oil. I didn't know that either but I don't work on many cars these days. But I do know a trained technician wouldn't be seen dead working for them, or that tyre company everyone loves.

 

They aren't "back street" in that sense.

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3 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

You're implying they are backstreet cowboys who just do stuff without even looking at the service information. I think I'd give them more credit than that.

I'll be honest, I wouldn't take my own car there - but that's only because I value 'proper' training.

When I left school I was taken on as an apprentice electrician at a local factory. The apprenticeship was four years long and I came out of it fully qualified to City & Guilds standard. I have various friends from school who also went into apprenticeships, including motor mechanics, plumbers, carpenters etc., and all apprenticeships had a four-year duration.

My main concern with places like Halfords, and KwikFit is that I don't think their staff are trained to anywhere near such standards and have merely attended in-house training courses for a couple of weeks.

I know that they aren't doing anywhere near as complicated a job or such a range of jobs that a fully-qualified mechanic would do and that a two-week training course may well suffice, but it's horses for courses - if it's a job I can't do myself then it's my trusted mechanic, and if he can't do it then I go to a specialist.

23 hours ago, jpower said:

The above looks fancy, in terms of Halfords they just use a canister with a pressure gauge to push whatever inside the canister into your system.

Now that really does worry me!

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Happen to agree with just about all of that Herbie. I did a 4 year apprenticeship too. Although I was more than good enough that they shortened it by 4 months and still gave me my indentures.

Not much call for mining engineers though these days.

This total lack of proper training is going to hit this country very hard soon. And then you'll find people my age doing stuff i thought I'd forgotten because no-one else knows how...

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@Lost it Looking here: https://www.halfordsautocentres.com/air-conditioning

"We will replace and recharge lubricant and refrigerant levels in line with your manufacturer's recommendation."

I don't doubt that Halfords may have made some mistakes along the lines of the ones you've mentioned, or that there have been occasions where untrustworthy individuals have worked for them and done similar things and I certainly wouldn't take my own car to them for the reasons stated by others, all I'm saying is I don't think they are intentionally and wilfully disregarding manufacturer service information.

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The problem is you have to trust that they will actually look that info up. And if what John says is right, they would have to either completely clean the pipes they were going to use to prevent cross contamination or have more than one machine to cater for Hybrids. Because I'd presume that all hybrids might be like that, not assume, I'd want to know. They don't pay them that well, that's the point. Not that many of them stay at Halfords as a life long career.

Like "menu" servicing, whatever they charge they will be expecting that fitter to do that job within a very strict time frame. So the option of looking it up won't be there. 9 out of 10 times it might work, the one where it doesn't, well who pays for the fix? How do you prove what they did was wrong because the whole basis of their offering, their business plan is to do it because you don't know how to, you looked at some prices and they are cheap as chips so you have taken it there perhaps? How would you know if it was done right. You are holding a  lot of trust there, and in my experience I'm not that trusting. I mean I'm the guy who has new tyres fitted then gets the torque wrench and long bar out of the car in the car park of the tyre supplier and re-does the nuts properly. Because they can't even get that right. They buzz them up with the windy gun then check the torque afterwards? And can't understand why that isn't the way you do it...

I mean that thing with the DPF regen was last Saturday. I wasn't best pleased when he told me that he had taken it there. £85 wasted.

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Is there perhaps a way that a specialist could test a system for contamination? I've heard technicians (in the US) say that if stop-leak type products are used in an AC system their machine detects this and won't do anything because to suck the stuff out of the system will damage the machine. In those circumstances they are generally unable to service the vehicle without replacing practically the entire AC system and it's illegal under federal law to vent the contaminated system into the atmosphere.

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I've been told that some Britsh a/c specialists are like that as well. Because they cannot "recycle" the gas they reclaim if it's contaminated with A/C leak fixing stuff.

It gets way too expensive. Part of their costing is based on what they can "sell" the reclaimed gas for, if they have a bottle of contaminated gas it can't be reclaimed, becomes hazardous waste and at that point it's very hard and quite costly to have it dealt with legally.

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So I emailed Halfords customer services, they took there time to respond, but this is what they came back with:--

 

Quote

Thanks for getting in touch. I'm so sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We've been experiencing a higher than normal level of contact recently, and we're working through a backlog of cases.

There are two different types of air con gas at Halfords and the port under the bonnet of the car would determine this making it safe so this wouldn't make it the wrong gas.

 
If the port under the bonnet was different then the technician in store wouldn't have been able to refill this for you.

 

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Completely misses the point. You were asking about the lubricant not the gas. I would follow up and push them to state exactly which lubricant was used.

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Just now, m4rkw said:

Completely misses the point. You were asking about the lubricant not the gas. I would follow up and push them to state exactly which lubricant was used.

Query - Does the canister include the lubricant? Because they just use a gas canister?

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32 minutes ago, jpower said:

Query - Does the canister include the lubricant? Because they just use a gas canister?

This really does worry me. The original point you made was that you didn't think it could be lack of gas because it was only regassed last year.

Unfortunately, leaks can occur at any time so the fact that it was only done last year doesn't really mean a lot. However, there's a proper procedure for determining if there's a leak or not and that involves hooking up a machine that evacuates whatever gas is already in there and pulling a vacuum for 'x' amount of time to see if it remains steady. If the vacuum doesn't hold steady it suggests a leak, so a UV dye would be injected into the system to help find where the leak is.

Once the leak is repaired (or if no leak exists) then the system has to be recharged with the correct amount of gas and the correct amount of the appropriate lubricant - in your case, ND11 oil and definitely not PAG oil.

If I'm reading you correctly, the fact that all they've done is hook up a gas canister to top up what's already there, without doing any of the other stuff (earlier on you said that they don't use a proper aircon machine like the one in the photo I posted), isn't good.

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Here's the response to which lubricant or what exactly was used:

Quote

Unfortunately, I will not be able to provide this, it would be best go back to store if you doubt what the technician has done so he can clarify this with you.

 

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You could do that and ask to read the details on the canister, see if that provides any insight.

The only other thing I can suggest (but it probably won't be cheap) is to go to a proper aircon specialist and see if they can test which lubricant is in there and if it's the wrong one, get them to flush it and replace with the right one. Oh, and check for leaks too.

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A few years ago I had my LS AC checked at Halfords, which they apparently re-gassed.  Three weeks or so later I needed a new compressor. Coincidence? If they just use a can does that mean they don't do a drain and vacuum test, and all they put in is gas mixed with oil from the cans they sell in their shops, which apparently also contains a leak sealant? 

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Just now, The-Acre said:

A few years ago I had my LS AC checked at Halfords, which they apparently re-gassed.  Three weeks or so later I needed a new compressor. Coincidence? If they just use a can does that mean they don't do a drain and vacuum test, and all they put in is gas mixed with oil from the cans they sell in their shops, which apparently also contains a leak sealant? 

Never ever ever let anyone put a leak sealant into an AC system.

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Holding my head in Pain/Vain

i just wanted a less hassle car, arrgghhh. 

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  • Club Hybrid Poll

  • 218 Hybrid Reliability

    1. 1. If you were to consider buying a Hybrid model over 5 years old, would you be worried about the reliability of the Hybrid system?


      • Not really as Hybrid systems are always reliable
      • Not if it had a Manufacturers Warranty on the Hybrid system
      • I would not buy a Hybrid model over 5 years old