Keep­ing cool

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Editorial - Mar­tyn Knowles, Edi­tor Email: mar­tyn.knowles@bauer­me­ Fol­low us on Face­book @ Car Me­chan­ics

Just re­cently, we have had a lengthy run of blaz­ing hot, sunny days and hu­mid, sticky nights. If your car is equipped with a but­ton that in­di­cates ‘AC’ or ‘air­con’, then I’m sure most of you will have ac­ti­vated it at some point over the past few weeks.

How­ever, some mo­torists aren’t keen on op­er­at­ing the air­con sys­tem at all – wind­ing down the win­dows for fresh air is fine with them. Many peo­ple worry that the sys­tem will in­crease fuel con­sump­tion. And some mo­torists don’t un­der­stand cli­mate con­trol and how it op­er­ates, help­ing to not only main­tain a sta­ble cabin tem­per­a­ture, but as­sist in clear­ing steamed-up wind­screens. If you fall into any of those cat­e­gories, then you should read our spe­cial air-con­di­tion­ing fea­ture, start­ing on page 6. It ex­plodes a lot of myths and ex­plains how pe­ri­od­i­cally op­er­at­ing the air­con sys­tem can help en­sure its longevity.

Al­most all mod­ern ve­hi­cles have air­con­di­tion­ing fit­ted as stan­dard. It not only keeps us cool while driv­ing, but helps pre­vent mo­tor­ing frus­tra­tions from boil­ing over. I can re­mem­ber my fa­ther’s first car to fea­ture an air­con but­ton on the dash – it was the first­gen­er­a­tion 1996 Re­nault La­guna, a re­ally nicely-specced RN model with the 2.0-litre petrol en­gine mated to an au­to­box. It was one of his best and most com­fort­able buys. One day, I re­ally must buy one of these to re­visit my youth and re­live the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cur­rently, of the 14 cars I own, only two don’t have air-con­di­tion­ing fit­ted as stan­dard: a 1975 Ford Capri and 1989 VW Jetta. My 1998 Ford Scor­pio has cli­mate con­trol (it was Ford’s top-ofthe-range model at the time) and it still works a treat to­day – al­though, af­ter 10 years of own­er­ship, I’ve just sold it to an­other mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist. I’m hop­ing he can re­port in fu­ture is­sues on his ad­ven­tures in the lux­ury barge.

Even the two 2001 cars I’ve bought re­cently (more on these in a forth­com­ing is­sue) have a cool­ing de­vice in­stalled – one has air-con­di­tion­ing, the other cli­mate con­trol. Nei­ther was op­er­at­ing as in­tended, but I’ve had the cli­mate con­trol sys­tem pro­fes­sion­ally re­gassed and it blows nice and cool at present. I set off an air­con bomb in the in­te­rior to clean the sys­tem and have also changed the pollen fil­ter. Af­ter treat­ment, the in­te­rior smelled won­der­ful, but the fol­low­ing day, on fir­ing the en­gine, a stale smell was emit­ted from the vents for a minute or two. It may need an­other bomb­ing run!

One draw­back of AC is that the bill for a re­gas in 2018 is dou­ble that of last year. Ap­par­ently, a gas short­age is push­ing up the whole­sale price. How­ever, Hal­fords Au­to­cen­tres are of­fer­ing what seems like a very good deal on air­con ser­vic­ing and re­gassing – see page 19 for more de­tails.

An­other draw­back is work­ing on cars with air­con. Re­mov­ing air­con pipework is for­bid­den un­less the sys­tem has been vac­u­umed of gas – a job for a qual­i­fied tech­ni­cian. Also, those air­con pipes run­ning around the en­gine bay al­ways seem to get in the way when try­ing to ex­tract an­other com­po­nent. Try work­ing on a Ford Ka en­gine fit­ted with air­con – small hands are es­sen­tial!

By the time you read this, the mon­soon sea­son may well have ar­rived and sent tem­per­a­tures plum­met­ing, but hope­fully our air­con fea­ture will stand you in good stead for the fu­ture.

In the Help! pages in the July 2018 is­sue, we pub­lished a re­ply to a reader’s re­quest to find a workshop man­ual for a Ford Kuga. We pointed the reader to Haynes on­line ser­vice, but went on to say: “Haynes is not pro­duc­ing workshop man­u­als for the vast ma­jor­ity of mod­ern ve­hi­cles”.

This was picked up by Haynes, who ques­tioned our eval­u­a­tion and we are happy to pub­lish their com­ments. Haynes Pub­lish­ing’s mar­ket­ing man­ager, Craig Ste­wart, said that while they can’t cover ev­ery model avail­able in the UK, they are still proac­tive in pro­duc­ing workshop man­u­als.

Craig goes on to say: “I was sur­prised to read in the July is­sue of Car Me­chan­ics that Haynes is not pro­duc­ing workshop man­u­als for the vast ma­jor­ity of mod­ern ve­hi­cles. On the con­trary, this year we have al­ready pub­lished new man­u­als cov­er­ing 10 best-sell­ing cars and vans in­clud­ing the Hyundai i10, Ford Fo­cus Mk3 (facelift) and Nis­san Note, and four more new man­u­als will be pub­lished be­fore the end of 2018. In the last five years, Haynes has pub­lished 57 new car and van man­u­als.

“Haynes Pub­lish­ing has evolved over the years and our man­u­als now in­clude a wide range of au­to­mo­tive, sport, leisure, mil­i­tary and life­style sub­jects. But the heart and soul of Haynes is our workshop man­u­als, and we still cover a huge num­ber of the most pop­u­lar ve­hi­cles with our print man­u­als as well as of­fer­ing the vast ma­jor­ity as an on­line prod­uct. The en­tire man­ual can be con­sumed on any mod­ern de­vice with an in­ter­net con­nec­tion, and sec­tions can be printed for con­ve­nience. In ad­di­tion, Haynes’ new On­de­mand video ser­vice adds more than 1000 in-depth video tu­to­ri­als for the most pop­u­lar ve­hi­cles on UK roads, al­low­ing cus­tomers to ac­cess Haynes’ ex­per­tise in an all-new way.”

Can you name the make, model and spec­i­fi­ca­tion of my lat­est pur­chase?

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