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?