Jul 272004

Air conditioningFour out of five new cars come fitted with air conditioning today, yet the likelihood of an expensive failure has jumped 55 percent over the past eighteen months.

According to data released by independent automotive warranty specialist, Warranty Direct, 1 in 20 claims are now air con related with the cost of repair running into the hundreds, if not thousands.

Analysis shows that the most susceptible vehicles are those aged 4 years old.

Vehicles in months 48-60 of their life accounted for more than 44 percent of claims handled by the warranty specialist. The previous 4 years represented just 14 percent of claims.

And when it does go wrong, the must-have cooling system has a tendency to hit the bank balance hard.

On average, owners will be presented with a bill of £444.68 making the air-con unit the fourth most expensive item to repair after the automatic gearbox, turbo and engine.

Although the air con units on some models look less reliable than others on paper, for example, the Volvo 850 reports a failure rate of 37 percent and the Ford Galaxy nearly 27 percent, the fact is that too many motorists fail to see the importance of servicing.

” Too many people treat air con as a fit and forget option,” warns Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher. “Units need regular use and regular servicing to help prevent expensive breakdowns.”

An annual health check and service should cost around £40 from an independent specialist – a far cry from the pre-fit £920 it would cost to buy an air con compressor unit on a Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon.

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