July 12

2006 Pontiac Grand Prix A/C Condenser Replacement

Pontiac, Auto Repair


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation; we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive, Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s best automotive experience. How’re you doing today Bernie?

Bernie: I’m doing very well Mark. How are you?

Mark: Good. So air conditioning repairs, hard to think of right now given that we’re in the middle of you know fall in the summer of 2016 here in Vancouver; it’s been rainy but I guess you had a 2006 Grand Prix that had some ongoing air conditioner problems.

Bernie: It has, and um it’s a good example of how air conditioning systems can be a little complex to fix over time, um yeah so basically so what was happening with this car, a few months, actually I think over the last few years the owner had experienced some problems with the air conditioning and a few months ago he said let’s get this fixed up so we did a diagnosis on it, found the compressor had a pretty substantial leak and looked around the rest of the system, couldn’t find any other leaks at the time so we replaced the compressor and we also replaced the accumulator at the same time which is kind of a filter drier filter, replaced that unit at the same time, felt the system was working great, went out of town for about a month or more, came back and it wasn’t blowing cold as he had wanted it to.

Mark: So how did you find the first leak?

Bernie: Well the first leak we found initially with a refrigerant detector; we have multiple methods of finding refrigerant leaks; they can be very tricky sometimes it can be kind of small, sometimes they can be large. Large ones are always better to find but the, with this particular refrigerant leak the original one we found with an electronic refrigerant detector; the second time around we looked at the vehicle and we found that it was in fact low in refrigerant again, not empty but low so we did some tests, now when we did the first repair we added some UV dye to the system, it’s an ultraviolet dye and when the vehicle, when the leak occurs it, it mixes with the oil and it comes out you can see like a green glow, so I’m going to share a photo, screen share a photo here with you, if I can get this to work. There we go. This is a picture of the condenser, so this was what we found was faulty the 2nd time, this is the condenser, it’s like a radiator that sits in front of the engine and if you notice on the left, bottom left corner of the picture you can see a very greeny kind of glue, you can see that there’s like an oil coating on that side and if you look on the right side of the picture you see it’s just sort of black, blackish type of film but when you look towards the left you can see a sort of oiler film on it and in the bottom left corner you can see a green dye which is absolutely a hundred percent conclusive evidence of a leak from the condenser. So the leak, the leak UV dye is one of our favourite ways to find leaks because it, it’s extremely conclusive but many times a leak that’s small we can’t find it.

Mark: So what was involved in replacing this condenser?

Bernie: Well a condenser, it’s located at the front of the vehicle and it’s always in front of the radiator so uh it’s usually a fairly labour intensive job in this car and it was. In this vehicle you have to remove the radiator and then drain the cooling system, remove the radiator and then you can take the condenser out and some are not so difficult and others are even worse but that’s basically what’s involved and of course we have to evacuate whatever refrigerant is in the system first, then remove the condenser, replace it and then do another service on the, on the AC system so we deep vacuum it and then refill it again.

Mark: So you mentioned that you repaired this vehicles AC system a couple months before, did you charge for each diagnosis?

Bernie: No we don’t; what we do because the way air conditioning systems work and we can never be 100% sure we fixed it, what we do at our shop is we have a one year basic diagnostic warranty on air conditioning diagnosis so it’s something if we look at the vehicle and we determine it’s this particular problem we will do the repair if the customer wants to, see how it works out, if it works fine great, but if something else were to happen then we’ll just continue diagnosing it for you know within the year for no extra charge and in this case too we also evacuated and recharged the system for no extra charge as well. It doesn’t make sense to be paying for things over and over but often we just cannot see the other leaks and things until you know, again the system is repaired and it gets up to pressure and starts working.

Mark: So it’s almost like it, it causes cascades, one you got a big problem in one area and that seems to be the only issue but once you fix that, then all the little problems start to show up, is that kind of what’s going on in the case?

Bernie: Exactly, you know the thing is you know, the system hadn’t worked in a few years so it may have developed a leak in this condenser that you know, was not noticeable until the system is actually functional and the pressures were back. Air conditioning is really interesting because it involves, I mean, it has a, I don’t even know what it’s called, I guess a chemical like a liquid but the refrigerant, the R134 is basically, it changes state from a high-pressure gas to a high pressure liquid to a low pressure gas to a low pressure liquid and the temperatures fluctuate throughout the whole system so it’s under a major amount of stress plus it sits under the hood of a car where it’s at least, you know, it’s extremely hot so it, it’s amazing how well they work and how reliable they are but you know, there’s a lot that can go wrong.

Mark: So air conditioning can be pretty expensive to fix?

Bernie: It can be, I never like to use the word expensive, I was thinking about that word because it’s always a judgment or a perception in people’s minds but yeah, generally it’s not the cheapest thing to repair I mean, sometimes you may get away with a couple hundred dollar repair, it isn’t like some simple electrical item, but often like, like a job like this particular vehicle is probably I’m thinking it’s probably $1,500 to $2,000 but with the two repairs, so it’s a fair amount of, it’s a fair amount of cost. I usually find there’s sort of two camp of people with car air conditioning, there’s the people who want it and are willing to spend the money to fix it and there’s the people who just don’t care and don’t spend it so.

Mark: Yeah, it’s not that big deal for us here.

Bernie: Well, exactly it’s not exactly I mean Vancouver doesn’t stay hot a lot long, I mean we had like a summer in March, April and May, it’s kind of different but you know again you can always roll the windows down we seem to get used to air conditioning in cars and one time air conditioning was a luxury option and now it’s I find it rare, very rare to find a new car that, that doesn’t have air conditioning, it’s just like very car has it, it’s real standard equipment, even more popular that power windows now.

Mark: So if you’re in Vancouver and you love your air conditioning, it’s not working right, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can call them to book your appointment at 604-327-7112 or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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