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Keeping cool costs you a fortune

20 June 2007

  • Air-conditioning repairs soar
  • Average repair cost is over £500
  • Vast difference between makes and models

When air-conditioning fails, it can cost a fortune to repair

Air-conditioning is the third-most expensive item to repair on your car, according to a new survey by warranty repairer Warranty Direct.

Air-conditioning problems tend to be noticed at the start of summer as the weather heats up.

However, repairing those systems is an expensive business - and some cars are vastly more expensive than others to repair.

Although air-conditioning represents less than 4% of all mechanical failure on a modern car, it's the third-most expensive to repair after the engine and transmission. For example, replacing the compressor in a Vauxhall Astra would cost £704 for parts and up to £194 for labour.

Replacing the system's condenser is cheaper, but in 40% of cases it takes longer to fit, which pushes up the labour cost. On a Peugeot 406, garages will charge 4.6 hours which can add up to £480 to the £155 price of the part.

Same part, different prices
There's also a big difference in labour between makes and models - even when they sometimes share exactly the same components.

Take a Land Rover Freelander, for example - garages will charge 3.3 hours to replace the compressor, but at Jaguar the same job takes only 36 minutes. The price of the part is very similar in each case, too - £496 for Land Rover, £543 for Jaguar.

Having a smaller car doesn't necessarily mean that the cost will be lower, either. It will cost you £621 for a new compressor for a Honda Jazz, but the equivalent item will cost £389 in a Ford Mondeo.

Warranty Direct's Duncan McClure-Fisher said: 'To help prevent air-conditioning failure, it's advisable to use air-conditioning for at least 10 minutes every week and get it serviced every couple of years.'

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