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Auto Air Con Parts - News

  • Maintain your air con compressor and condenser over winter

    Maintain your air con compressor and condenser over winter

    Just because it's winter it doesn't mean you should not use your air con. You have to run the system to maintain the functionality of your air con compressor (pump) and air con condenser (ac radiator). Why? Good question.

    Why run my AC?

    Like any moving part, especially mechanical ones, they can seize up if not used. Oil needs to circulate, electrics need to work, refrigerant needs to flow. So if the last time you turned on the air con was on a hot summers day 2 months ago then turn it on NOW. You should run the AC for at least 10 minutes a week, regardless of the time of year or temperature. Running your car air conditioning system doesn't only need to be done when it's hot. You can use it to delist the windows very quickly and you can turn the temperature up anyway.

    So if you don't run the air conditioning, come the spring and you find you need to put it on. It might not work. The air con compressor needs to run. The valves need to move, to be lubricated by the oil in the system. The compressor needs to pump refrigerant, and oil round the system lubricating the joints in the pipe, make the air con condenser do its job and keep that lubricated too.

    Get your air con checked.

    Just like your home heating system, now is a good time to get your AC system checked out, have it serviced by a professional vehicle air conditioning company. So when the next hot day comes, it's ready to go, and doesn't pack up when you need it most. Try getting someone to fix it when it's super busy, you'll have to wait, and pay more. So best get it checked and serviced now. I'd recommend a call to our friends at Cool Car, where their fully trained and qualified technicians can assist and visit you at your home or place of work.

    Remember, to maintain your car air conditioning, turn the A/C on, at least once a week for 10 minutes at a time.

  • Your Air Con Compressor - What you should know!

    Your Air Con Compressor - What you should know

    It's a common misconception that you only need to use your car air con when it's hot. Not true. You should use it in the winter too as it clears steamed up windows very quickly. But either way, for a functioning air con system you need a working air con compressor, or car air conditioning pump as sometimes called. The air con compressor is the heart of the cars' A/C system, it 'pumps' refrigerant under high pressure into the condenser where it then changes from a gas into a liquid.

    But when you find the car doesn't cool down when it's hot, and the A/C is on; or the windows aren't de-misting, don't assume the system is low on refrigerant. That is often the cause of the problem but not always, especially if the air con hasn't been used much as the compressor can seize up.

    So how do you know when it's time to change the air con compressor?

    Usually the compressor is driven by a belt, which can sometimes make a noise, a squeak for example. Or the compressor can leak refrigerant which in turn means less cooling. Often there is no warning at all, no signs of impending failure. It just doesn't work. Sometimes you just need to add refrigerant as a pressure switch in the system detects pressure and tells the compressor to work - or not. But to know for sure what the problem is you need a qualified air con specialist to check it all out, identify the issue and fix any problems. Such as our friends at Cool Car Air Conditioning.

    How often should you replace the air con compressor?

    The air con compressor should last the lifetime of the vehicle. But that assumes it's regularly looked after, serviced (ideally every 3 years), lubricated etc. A regular car service does not service the A/C system. It may get checked to see if it works but that's all. The compressor can fail for a number of reasons, corrosion, failed bearings, lack of lubricant or refrigerant etc.

    Changing it is not something that is done regularly, every 60,000 miles for example; it's replaced when it fails. But hopefully once replaced it never needs replacing again but it's vital, when it is replaced, to identify WHY it failed, what happened to it? Only then can you resolve the cause of failure to stop the same thing happening again. We often see compressors replaced by a local garage when they fail and do not identify the cause of failure so the new compressor fails again shortly after, incurring unnecessary cost to the customer.

    Do I have to replace the A/C compressor?

    Not always no! if the compressor shows signs of failure then a good service, lubrication and air con recharge can fix any problems and prevent future failure. But if it does fail then you will need to replace it. This isn't a simple case like other car parts of just removing the unit and installing a new one.

    The air con system is enclosed, so you have to have any refrigerant removed by a qualified air con specialist; it's illegal to just let it out into the atmosphere. Once removed then you have to flush the system through with a flushing solution, which many companies do not do. This removes any contaminants from the system which can in turn, if not removed, cause the new compressor to fail and invalidate the warranty. Only then can you install the new compressor, changing the drier and expansion valve at the same time and add the correct volume of A/C oil. Then add the right amount of refrigerant and good to go. Many companies and garages do not follow the correct installation procedure and then wonder why the new compressor subsequently fails. We have full compressor installation instructions on this website.

    What will it cost me?

    The cost depends on a number of factors, not least the cost of the compressor itself which can vary greatly depending on the car. Many companies, including ourselves offer 2 types of compressor, an original one, the same as was on the car from the factory, or a cheaper compressor made to the same specifications as the original. These are cheaper of course, and often referred to as pattern or aftermarket compressor. But the warranty is the same, 12 months and both are new. We do not sell used compressors.

    As for the rest of the cost, then you need to factor in the cost of having it done properly, with a new drier and expansion valve, oil, system flush, new refrigerant. Average cost for that, done properly is around £250 plus compressor cost. You may find it cheaper, but check they are doing it properly, are they doing a flush, if so how? Don't fall for the usual "oh the A/C machine does it", it doesn't, or "we vacuum the system or use nitrogen", that isn't a flush either. And are they changing the drier and valve? If not that invalidates the warranty. Is the cost of the drier and valve in the quote? So get some estimates, ideally 3 so you have a comparison. But most importantly check they will do the job properly, it may cost a bit more but saves you money in the long run.

    Or call Cool Car, they will do it right.

  • The RIGHT way to fit a car air con compressor

    The right way to fit a car air con compressor

    We see it every week. Having sold a compressor the customer will call and say its now not working 2 weeks later. Before they hang up we know what the issue is, it's not been fitted properly. We will show you the right way to fit a car air con compressor.

    Yea yea they say, the garage is an air con specialist (tyre dealer) and know what they are doing.

    'OK, no problem, send the unit back to us and we can see if it's failed under warranty or whether it's another issue causing it not to work and if warranted of course we will send a replacement and cover reasonable fitting and recharge costs' we tell them.

    That never goes down well. Of course the customer wants a replacement ASAP but we know sending a replacement out, and fitted the same way, will cause the replacement to fail too. So we have it in our terms and conditions that under warranty, we HAVE to have the unit back, which we will collect at our expense, and return at our expense if needed, so long as they send back with the unit a completed warranty form so we know what was done in fitting.

    Now with every compressor we sell, we send with it a fitting instruction manual. Same as this one - car air conditioning fitting instructions. Garages should of course not need these, but so many garages have no idea how to do this. They assume like many other car parts you can take off the old part and put on the new one. Recharge the system and job done. NO NO NO.

    Firstly, why has the original unit failed? It's not working but why? Is it dry so it doesn't have any oil? Why is that? Is it getting any power? Has it seized and if so why? Is the clutch noisy? Why? You have to know why it's failed so you can prevent the new one doing the same.

    And you cannot just vacuum out the system and put a new unit on. You have to clean out the system first. Remove all the old oil, dirt, contaminants and you DO NOT do that by vacuuming it out. You have to flush the system through with a flushing solution before fitting the compressor. And that means replacing the receiver drier. Has that been replaced? I doubt it. If you don't flush it then all the old oil, and small metal particles from the previous unit are circulating around the system contaminating the new compressor. Then guess what happens? It stops working.

    This is a prime example of what can happen when you don't flush the system. This customer was adamant it was fitted correctly and flushed. A brand new compressor after 1 days of use. Wonder why it's stopped working!!!

    contaminated air con compressor

    Once you've flushed the system you have to add the correct amount, and type, of A/C oil. But if you've not flushed the system then how do you know how much oil to add? If for example the system take 240ml of oil, you can't add 240ml if you've not flushed as there is already oil in there, so you over fill it, which in turn liquid locks the compressor and guess what? It then stops working.

    This is from a compressor where the customer also said it had been flushed. Really, with oil that colour? It should be clear.

    dirty compressor oil

    So please, customers, find a garage that does the job properly. Check your invoice, does it say they flushed the system, did they fit a new drier? Garages, do your job properly. There is info all about this all over our website, instructions are provided with every compressor sold and manuals downloaded. There is no excuse for failing to fit a customers compressor properly. There is only one right way to fit a car air con compressor. Do that.

    This is why we DO NOT send out a replacement unit before seeing the old one.

    One final thing. Flushing the system with refrigerant gas is not a flush. Neither is plugging in a recharging machine and letting it vacuum for 30 minutes. Use a flushing kit and flush solution. And change the drier.


  • Almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available

    Almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available

    Since 1988 we've been one of the UK's foremost car air conditioning specialists, building now to have almost 50,000 car air conditioning parts available for all types of car makes and models, of all ages, as well as air con parts for trucks and agricultural vehicles.

    All our parts are brand new. We don't sell second hand. Which is why we offer up to 2 years warranty. In stock we have over 8,000 car air con condensers (otherwise  known as air con radiators), almost 12,000 brand new car air con compressors (aircon pumps), as well as over 8,000 receiver driers (accumulators), plus hundreds of aircon consumables, such as oils, uv dyes and o rings. All come with FREE next working day delivery if you spend over £40 and of course our warranty.

    Every part we sell is fully tested before despatch, to ensure that when you receive your order you can install it without any problems. That's why we have a customer review score of 4.9 from almost 1,000 genuine customer reviews from our customers.

    Note that when purchasing a compressor, we often offer 2 versions. The original, which is the same as you get from the main dealer, and a copy. Both of course brand new units with a years warranty. On air con condensers, the majority are aftermarket units, eg purchased from a 3rd party manufacturer but to the genuine OEM (original equipment) specification. We only source high quality condensers to ensure we can offer a 2 year warranty on condensers and maintain our excellent customer service. No cheap Chinese imports here like you see on eBay and other websites. You get what you pay for.

    We're often also asked if we can fit the parts we supply. Yes, we can. We have a growing network of car air conditioning specialists across various parts of the UK who can service, repair, re-charge (regas) your car's air conditioning as well as fit the parts we supply. Check our website at Cool Car to see if we have a specialist near you and contact them directly if you need help. All our technicians are fully qualified air con specialists with the relevant legal qualifications.

    If in doubt about anything, or just have a question, then feel free to call or contact us anytime.


  • Thousands of car aircon compressors in stock

    Thousands of car aircon compressors in stock

    We've been selling car aircon compressors now for a very long time, almost 30 years, but now have almost 12,000 of them in stock. More than we've ever had before.

    Not only do we sell aircon compressors for cars, we also sell them for agricultural vehicles and trucks too. All of them are brand new, with 12 months warranty and free next working day delivery. You'll find that for most cars where we can supply a new aircon compressor, we can supply it in 2 versions: an original OEM compressor, the exact same as from the main dealer and was on the car when new, or a cheaper 'pattern' part, built to the same OEM (original equipment manufactured) specifications. Both of the versions we offer are brand new of course. We don't sell used or second hand compressors.

    We pride ourselves on the quality of our aircon compressors, which is why we have such a warranty and fully test every unit prior to despatch. This ensures our customers know they can fit the compressor (sometimes knows as the air con pump) with confidence, and is the reason many or the car warranty companies use our products and recommend us to their customers.

    The aircon compressor if you didn't already know is the unit that pumps the refrigerant around the A/C system, and is often quite difficult to see buried in amongst the engine components. They are prone to failure if not serviced regularly, which you can read about here, 'Why is my aircon compressor not working.'

    Who can replace my compressor?

    We're often asked that. It's not something you can do unless you have the refrigerant removed first, which needs to be done by someone qualified as it's illegal to let the refrigerant out into the atmosphere. So make sure only a qualified A/C specialist removes any refrigerant first then you can remove and re-install the replacement compressor, though you should first flush the system and add the correct volume of A/C oil. We'd advise using a certified specialist such as Cool Car if they have a technician near you.

  • All types for car air con condensers in stock

    All types for car air con condensers in stock

    We've been selling car air con condensers now for a very long time, almost 30 years, but now have over 8,000 of them in stock. More than we've ever had before.

    Not only do we sell air con condensers for car air con condensers, we also sell them for agricultural vehicles and trucks too. All of them are brand new, with 2 year warranty and free next working day delivery.

    We pride ourselves on the quality of our air con condensers, which is why we have such a warranty and fully test every unit prior to despatch. This ensures our customers know they can fit the condenser (sometimes knows as the air con radiator) with confidence, and is the reason many or the car warranty companies use our products and recommend us to their customers.

    The air con condenser if you didn't already know is the unit right at the front of the car. You'll see it when you look into the car's grill, often mistaken for the water radiator. Because it's at the front of the car it's prone to stone chips, causing a small hole in the condenser and subsequent leak and loss of refrigerant. That's when you need to replace it.

    Who can replace my condenser?

    We're often asked that. It's not something you can do unless you have the refrigerant removed first, which needs to be done by someone qualified as it's illegal to let the refrigerant out into the atmosphere. So make sure only a qualified A/C specialist removes any refrigerant first then you can remove and re-install the replacement condenser. On some cars it's a simple job; on others it involves removing bumpers and headlights. We'd advise using a certified specialist such as Cool Car if they have a technician near you.

  • Why is my car aircon compressor not working?

    Why is my car aircon compressor not working?

    We get this question a lot. Especially after a long, cold winter where most people never think to use the car's air conditioning. So why might the aircon compressor not be working?

    There might be one of a number of reasons, for example:

    • The A/C system is low on refrigerant
    • Faulty pressure switch
    • Blown fuse or relay
    • Too much or too little A/C oil in the system
    • System Blockage
    • Faulty compressor

    We'll look at each possibility in turn

    The A/C system is low on refrigerant

    It may be the system is low on refrigerant. A car's air con needs refrigerant to function. One of three types are used, R12 used on cars pre 1992, R134a used on car from 1992 to the present, and the newer R1234yf used on most new cars now replacing R134a). So you may be low on that. Either its leaked out from a hole or worn out condenser, or just naturally over time, especially if the car has never been recharged.

    So first thing to check, do I have enough refrigerant.

    Faulty pressure switch

    In theory if the system is low on gas the pressure switch realises and tells the compressor not to work. But that pressure switch might be faulty, and therefore cannot do its job. So check the switch works as even if the system is full of refrigerant, a faulty pressure switch will stop the compressor working.

    Blown fuse or relay

    Similarly to the pressure switch, if you've a blown fuse or relay controlling the compressor, it won't work. So just make sure all electrical issues are ok, check the fuse box.

    Too much or too little A/C oil in the system

    This is a common issue, especially on older compressors that have never been serviced or on newly installed ones where the installer either didn't add enough aircon oil or added too much.

    On many cars, the oil in the compressor has never been changed. Much like the oil in your car it needs servicing, and an oil changed. Leaving it for years means it gets dirty and slowly dissipates. So adding a little oil might help. Alternatively many mechanics and garages when fitting a new compressor do not install it correctly. You must always flush the system first, with a flush solution, and that means the compressor removed from the car, to ensure its clean of debris. Many mechanics think just vacuuming the system or forcing nitrogen through it is a flush; its not, that does not remove debris and oil. Only when flushed so you have a clean, oil and debris free system can you then fit the compressor and add the correct amount of oil. If you just fit the new aircon compressor how do you know how much oil to add as there is still some in the system? This often leads to overfilling which in turn means the compressor has to work too hard to do its job, and fails, OR, they don't add any, and again it will fail.

    So please check you have the correct volume of oil in the A/C system.

    System Blockage

    If your aircon system is blocked, it won't work. The gas cannot flow.

    This, as mentioned above means the system must be flushed out to remove any debris from the system. This requires specialist flushing equipment and a flushing solution. On many occasions if a compressor has failed, you need to find out why, because if its seized, then debris from that compressor remains in the system unless removed, and contaminates the new compressor so a few weeks after the new one is installed, that too fails.

    This is very common with poor installation and untrained aircon specialists who claim to know what they're doing.

    Faulty compressor

    Finally, it maybe your aircon compressor has just given up, failed, dead. It happens. They get worn out. But before heading for an expensive job in replacing it check all the above first, and find out why the old one failed so you know it won't happen again.

    You can prolong the life of your car's air conditioning system from a regular aircon service where the car is recharged and compressor oil changed. This should be done every 2-3 years. Also, make sure you use the aircon in the winter months, just for 10 mins a week or so to keep the oil flowing and the compressor working. Aircon is not just for cold air, you can use it for hot air and its perfect from removing condensation on the windows


  • How to maintain your car air conditioning over winter

    How to maintain your car air conditioning system over winter

    Hard to think about now, when it's cold and frosty, but come the first hot day of the year in 2017 and you need to put the air conditioning on, you might find it doesn't work. Why?

    The reason is simple. In most cases the car's A/C has not been used over the winter months, so it's seized up. One of the major components of a car's air conditioning system is the compressor, or pump, which takes electricity to power itself and push the refrigerant around the system, using oil as lubricant. However through lack of use this can seize up, the clutch plate and pulley on the outside can also seize from lack of movement and lubrication. So what can be done?

    Firstly, make sure that once a week you run the A/C. Just for 10 minutes. Air conditioning is not just for hot weather it's also great for removing moisture in the air and de-misting windows and you don't have to have it set to cold. Set it to hot if needed, let it run. This lets the system lubricate, all the working parts get to move and ensures a nice working car air system when you need to use it regularly next summer.

    It may be worthwhile, like you do with your home central heating, to have the car air conditioning system serviced at this time of year, in preparation for the summer. Often A/C service prices are much cheaper this time of year as the technicians are less busy and you won't have to wait days for an appointment. I'd recommend a call to our friends at Cool Car, where their fully trained and qualified technicians can assist and visit you at your home or place of work.

    Remember, to maintain your car air conditioning, A/C on, at least once a week for 10 minutes at a time.

  • Types of Air Conditioning Refrigerant

    Types of Air Conditioning Refrigerant

    Have you ever wondered how your air conditioning refrigerant can impact the environment? We all are aware of the ozone layer that protects the earth’s atmosphere from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So how is your air conditioning refrigerant related to the ozone layer?

    In the mid 1980s, it was identified that air conditioning refrigerants commonly used in cars had a negative impact on the ozone layer. Back in the early days, refrigerants were popularly known as CFC and HCFCs. Both forms contained harmful chemicals that caused the deterioration of the ozone layer. This brought about the agreement of the Montreal Protocol of 1987, where 180 nations agreed upon replacing CFCs and HCFCs with suitable alternatives by 1995 and 2030 respectively. We have looked at these issues before in an earlier blog post about carbon dioxide refrigerants.

    Currently, you will find four commonly used air conditioning refrigerants for air conditioning, which include:

    • CFCs
    • HFCs
    • HCFCs
    • Refrigerant blends

    CFC Refrigerants

    These refrigerants date back to over 70 years and pose a great threat to the ozone layer as well as our respiratory systems. The production of CFC refrigerants stopped back in 1995 but unfortunately they are still used for a number of residential air conditioning units since such equipments have a lifetime of about 30 years. Refrigerants found in today’s units have been taken out from reclaimed units that are no longer in existence. Widely used CFC refrigerants include:

    • R-11
    • R-12
    • R-113
    • R-114
    • R-115

    HCFC Refrigerants

    These refrigerants are partially halogenated since they also include both ethane and methane along with a blend of chlorine and fluorine. Although they have a reduced impact on the ozone layer they have a shorter lifespan. They can be considered as a temporary solution to a completely ‘free from chlorine’ refrigerant. The production of such refrigerants will be discontinued by 2030. Commonly used refrigerants are:

    • R-22
    • R-123

    R-22 is generally used for residential, commercial and industrial units.

    HFC Refrigerants

    These refrigerants are chlorine free and less destructive to the ozone layer with a small impact on global warming. General HFC refrigerants include:

    • R-134a
    • R-125

    Where R134a is the most commonly used refrigerant in vehicle air conditioning systems, and is only now being replaced by more environmentally friendly R1234yf (a synthetic HFO refrigerant). According to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, R-134a is one of the 6 greenhouse gases that needs to be eliminated however, there has been no phaseout date for this and it is heavily used in the HVAC industry.

    Refrigerant Blends

    Also commonly known as ‘azeotropic’ and ‘zeotropic’ they are slowly increasing in demand due to their environmentally friendly nature. The only setback experienced for this type of refrigerant is that production costs are quite hefty. Nevertheless, as manufacturers turn their attention to this kind of refrigerant and increasingly use it, the cost will eventually come down. Commonly used refrigerant blends are:

    • R-410A
    • R-407c

    R-410A has replaced the old refrigerant in residential air conditioning applications, while R-407c has replaced R-22.

    The government has passed several laws regarding the release of CFC refrigerants and necessary steps that need to be taken include recovery, recycling and reclaiming. What type of refrigerant does your car use? In case, you have an old refrigerant that doesn’t comply with the regulations, you will have to ask your mechanic to replace it with a refrigerant that is environmentally friendly.


  • Investing in a Good Electronic Leak Detector

    Investing in a Good Electronic Leak Detector

    Air Conditioning leaks can be not only hazardous for your health, but also for the environment as a whole. Therefore, it is essential to invest in a good electronic leak detector, which will instantly inform you about any potential leaks in car air conditioning systems. Rather than trying to find potential leaks manually in the air conditioning system, a better alternative is buying an effective electronic leak detector. But deciding on a particular electronic leak detector can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, read through this article and get an idea of which detector is best suited for your particular refrigerant.

    How to Determine Which Electronic Leak Detector is For You

    Amongst several electronic leak detectors, the heated diode type like the Yokogawa is considered to be the best selection. Its accuracy is second to none and has lesser false alarms. On the other hand, some prefer using the corona discharge. Either way, finding the perfect electronic leak detector can be a daunting task. There is an increasing and comprehensive range of detectors, which can be found in varied styles and types. Certain detectors might chirp, beep while others are bright or dull. You might also observe that some detectors are equipped with state-of-the-art technology to reduce false alarms and others have U.V lights or other features installed in them.

    Regardless, the many ranges of detectors, there are only two different types that are commonly used: one is the heated diode and the other is a corona discharge. To begin with, corona discharge models detect anything that breaks through the corona barrier such as moisture, dust, solvents or refrigerant. These work best in finding leaks for R12 and R22. The heated diode models function quite differently from the corona discharge models. They tend to be less prone to moisture, which generate false alarms and stop chemicals. Heated diode detectors work best with R-134a. When both detectors are compared, corona discharge models struggled to find leaks in R134a systems, making heated diode detectors perfect for the purpose.

    The Increasing Need for Electronic Leak Detector

    As a workshop, you might receive a number of cars that come in for air conditioning service. In order to stay ahead of your game and efficiently resolve issues, you might want to consider investing in a good electronic leak detector that is effective and reliable at the same time. This will enable you to pinpoint the exact place of leak and you can have it fixed in no time. Although, this is an expensive investment, in the long run you will be able reap many benefits. Leaks in the air conditioning system can be extremely hazardous for both your customers and the environment. Therefore, it is highly advisable to get such leaks fixed immediately to avoid any negative implications. We here at autoairconparts.co.uk and our partners at coolcaraircon.co.uk use UV dye in the A/C system to visually see the leak, but to help with that and pinpoint the area where it might be leaking from we use this leak detector, the R134a and R1234yf electronic leak detector, mainly because it detects leaks in the new A/C systems.

    It is always best to make sure that your car’s air conditioning system is functioning at its optimum to avoid any mishaps. While doing so, you will be aware of any malfunction and leaks that need to be resolved.

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