Cost of Vehicle AC Service

Our two Sprinter AC service vans

As we now have our workshop in Northfleet our mobile service is available only to our trade customers.

More and more now we find owners are happy to drive to our workshop near Ebbsfleet International Station. If owners live outside the area we normally service but are prepared to drive to our workshop, we are also able to tackle some more complicated problems there and if the solution to the problem is found to need a specialised part there is much more likelihood that we might have one in stock there so the vehicle can be repaired and can leave fully cured. As we are only minutes from Ebbsfleet Station some owners are happy to leave the car in the workshop and go to work in London, perhaps picking up the repaired car that evening or the following day. From Ebbsfleet the journey into St Pancras Station is only about 17 minutes by high speed train. BUT the workshop is not easy to find, it is essential to book an appointment and also to look at the page on this website headed "Workshop Directions and Contact Details". You cannot find the workshop by the postcode.

In general here are the prices for aircon service during the warmer months as from Saturday June 29th 2019.

For a full AC service at our Ebbsfleet workshop - £70.00 including Vat - (The price for R134a rose astronomically in 2018 due to a reduction in the quota allowed to be imported).

These prices are for a standard refrigerant R134a system. If your car has a very large capacity or you have a hybrid or a plug-in electrical car then it might cost slightly more. If you have the brand-new refrigerant R1234yf it is likely to be considerably more, see below.

For the refrigerant R1234yf most of the requirement from 2018 will still be from the trade so please see below. For the few private owners of cars with this refrigerant the cost is still surprisingly high and as we have to be so very careful that this refrigerant is not leaking we prefer to recharge this only in our workshop or the workshop of a trade customer, not out in the open air, but we can be flexible when wind speed is low. Please ring us for costing.

We do work Saturdays in the workshop but mostly only during the mornings. If you do need a a Saturday appointment please don't leave it until a few days before your holidays as the weekends tend to get booked early.

As an animal lover myself I should not be surprised at the frequency of which we are told that the AC is really meant to keep the dog cool - the owner comes second. We have cooled vehicles for all sorts of dogs - dogs trained to act on stage, dogs for sniffing out drugs or guns or explosives, guard dogs, police dogs, show dogs and yet virtually all were personal friends as well, some were in specialised vehicles but most were travelling just in larger cars. Not only dogs but cats as well and also for the competition horse. Horses are frequently nervous travellers so some of them are kept cool in their horse boxes to reduce the amount of sweating they suffer during travel - many dressage, racing, endurance, showjumping, eventing and show horses are likely to sweat badly, only massive draught horses and others with a very calm temperament are entirely unperturbed when travelling in a horsebox.

For cars designed for the earlier CFC refrigerant R12 (basically prior to 1993), for £105.00 including Vat plus the cost of a new drier (allow around£35.00 generally) and having it converted to the modern R134a refrigerant. Costs should only rise above this if the drier was very specialised or is difficult to access or if there were serious problems that needed curing first. See the Dedicated page on CFC R12 conversion

We often encounter cars where the AC has become very smelly over the years. This will frequently disappear naturally once the system has been recharged and is working correctly but where it is known to be a problem we have several possible solutions, the most expensive of which costs £25 + Vat if done at the same time as a recharge.

If you can been discouraged by the price quoted by a main dealer or a general garage for a repair, do not despair. Even we are genuinely surprised at how much some dealers can ask for a repair. Most will only replace faulty parts and are not prepared or able to effect repairs which we as specialists with very specialised equipment can frequently offer. This is particularly true of cars with AC in the rear as well as in the front where the AC pipes underneath the car may have started leaking. A page dedicated to this here

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Pollen Filters are fitted to almost all modern cars but this is not a good name as this suggests that it is useful only during the summer months when pollen is rife. These filters properly called Cabin Filters are essential for all the year round as they trap pollutants such as brake and tyre dust, soot particles and other materials drawn into the car interior. Any allergy sufferers or asthmatics will benefit from their removal, especially children. These filters gradually become blocked over the months and are meant to be replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles on normal main-dealer servicing but if the filter has not replaced the blocking of air is so gradual that not everyone realises that there is a much reduced airflow through the heater or aircon. If requested when an AC service is booked we can obtain the correct cabin filter and fit it then. Filter prices vary but are often in the £15 to £20 range. The effect of replacing a blocked filter is a dramatic improvement in both cooling and heating. Please request if you would like a new cabin filter when you book-in and give us the Registration Number for us to obtain the correct filter (we always purchase the best make and type of filter).

Should our initial diagnosis find that there is a part leaking or damaged that is unrepairable and needs replacement but is a part not available immediately then we would charge a diagnosis fee of usually only £20 including VAT and after obtaining prices for the replacement part, if acceptable to you, to return once the part has arrived to fit, evacuate, recharge and test the system. The diagnosis fee, although modest, reflects the ease or difficulty of the problem and the equipment used to diagnose that problem.

Should your car require new parts, we are well served by several excellent specialist aircon suppliers who are able to supply many airconditioning replacement parts at prices usually well below the car manufacturers list price. We hold a stock of some of the most frequently required parts and are able to obtain most other parts in 24 hours.

Trade Services

Much of our work is dedicated to the car accident repair trade. We offer a specialized service to these and to other trade services. Our current clientele include some of the largest Accident Repair Centres in the South East, including Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Bentley Approved Repairers, Jaguar and BMW independent specialists and Audi VW main dealerships. Several of these are PAS 125 approved workshops. It is normal for Trade customers to request first a "Degas" - a recovery of any refrigerant unless it is patently obvious that no refrigerant could still be present after the accident. Then after they have completed the necessary repairs we return to evacuate, recharge and test the AC of the vehicle. This ensures compliance with the strict legislation on refrigerant handling and also that the owner will be delighted with his vehicle after repair.

HFO-1234yf (the new refrigerant starting in brand new models introduced from as early as 2013), also referred to as R1234yf is very much more expensive than R134a or even R12 was. The recharging of these cars will apply mostly to accident repair shops for several years but as at June 2019 this costs several hundred pounds in total to recharge although we hope that this cost will reduce as refrigerant prices come down. Please phone to see if this price has reduced. Even the price for recovery of this refrigerant is higher that for R134a due to the complexity of the procedure but the amount of refrigerant recovered will reduce the final cost of the recharge. Recovery of R1234yf is both economic (due to it's high cost) and sensible (remember it is a flammable gas) and it also keeps the body-shop completely legal. As both recovery and recharging of R1234yf is time consuming we are prepared to travel to premises beyond our normal range even to north of the Thames - again please ring for the latest information on this service. One of our dedicated R1234yf AC machines is one of the most highly specified type demanded by some car manufacturers, particularly the German manufacturers. The law stipulates that any car supplied new after January 1st 2017 should be fitted with this new, highly expensive R1234yf refrigerant or with another very low GWP refrigerant (one S class Mercedes is fitted with R744 not R1234yf which also complies with the EU law).

For Heavy Trucks that have been in an accident we offer a similar service although they will not have to use the R1234yf refrigerant, all will be using R134a. Similarly for those PSV's (Public Service Vehicles) which have suffered an accident we are often called to recover refrigerant and then to return after repair to evacuate and recharge the AC system. Many a London Double decker bus these days will be a Hybrid vehicle or with some other modern drive technology.

For Main Dealerships we also provide an AC system Flush service to remove any debris from the AC system resulting from a failed compressor before they may mount a replacement compressor.

For heavy trucks we provide all the AC servicing for a number of different truck marques at HGV Main Dealerships. Mostly we would be asked to find a leaking component and then after repair to return and evacuate, recharge with refrigerant and test the system. Sometimes it would be a simple task of degassing the AC system to allow the removal of the condenser in order to replace a damaged intercooler and then to evacuate and recharge after the repair was finished. Naturally with our range of leak detection options we are better placed to find that tricky leak. One very large transport company locally has their own recharging facilities in their workshop for their very extensive fleet of mostly DAF trucks with a number of Volvo and Scania models but still find it worthwhile to ask us to diagnose problems and find leaking components. We have also managed to source new components at competitive prices for their AC systems. One minute we may be asked to see an eight wheel Hino or a 2 axle Atego rigid then maybe a road sweeper or a top of the range MAN three axle artic unit or a Mercedes emergency ambulance. There can be few types of trucks that we have never seen. The more comfortable the driver feels the more accurate is his work likely to be. When he is hot and uncomfortable he is more likely to make expensive mistakes, and a modern articulated truck can be extremely costly.

It is almost a surprise to find the variety of vehicles that now have aircon for the driver. Tiny sweepers for pedestrian pavements, specialised grassmowers for sportsgrounds and public areas, very complex articulated forklifts, enormous specialised crop-sprayers, huge mobile cranes, equipment for moving and stacking 40 ft containers, the list goes on and on.

One minute we may fit new AC equipment into an old classic car perhaps 50 or even 80 years old (our earliest was a 1937 Rolls) and yet we have modified a brand new vehicle for a world-class development company that has recently started producing this electric-model black cab for use in London.


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