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MichaelM

Gen 4 Air Conditioning

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Whilst my Gen 4 Prius was having its 2nd annual service, I got a call from the dealer saying that they noticed the car had not had its air conditioning serviced/regassed.  As the air con works perfectly, the car is only 2 years old and has only done just under 15,000 miles, I told them I did not want it serviced yet.

On collecting the car, an air con reminder appeared on the service checksheet with a cost of £137.  I was told verbally that whilst the car is still under warranty, the air con service was not covered and it would cost £165.  Why the difference?  VAT?

I kept my previous Prius a Gen 3, for over 6 years and 50,000 miles and no one at the Toyota dealer (a different one from my Gen 4) ever mentioned anything about servicing the air con. 

Toyota dealers probably want the work but to say that the air con needs an expensive service after only 2 years is a bit much in my opinion.

 

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Quiet agree.

The only Prius I've had that needed A/C work was my 2nd Gen 1 where a year of very little use wrecked the compressor (a mechanical one - the Gen 1 had to run the engine for A/C, unlike all later Toyota Hybrids which used an electric compressor fed from the HV Battery.

My Gen 3 had also done 60k when I sold it, with no A/C issues.  My dealer never ever tried to talk me into anything I didn't need, one reason why I stayed with them even when I lived 100 miles away! 

My current Gen 4 was 2 years old last month and will need a 30k service in a couple of weeks.  It managed just fine yesterday in 31°C, and I'll be astonished if they try anything like that when it goes in.  In fact, it was a bit of a shock when I opened the car door  when I arrived in Beccles, a few miles inland - it was only 24°C when I left home on the coast.

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An air con service isn't covered by the warranty. 

Some dealers I've come across (not Toyota) do recommend air con servicing at 2/3 years. We've never needed this in our cars at 2, 3 or 4 years.

Also the new HFO-1234yf air con gas, which your car would have, is more expensive than the older R134a gas.

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Hi Pete,

I'm with you on this one. My Prius is 2years old shortly, consequently it's due for its second service. It's done only 17700 miles hence I'd be gobsmacked if the garage should suggest a recharge of my air con unit. I doubt if they would as I've used my Toyota garage exclusively for all my services in the past & they never suggested this before with my previous Gen 3 Prius that I had for nearly 7years. Only thing that worries me is that they have changed hands & who knows how they will now perform. Guess I'll soon find out!

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I was charged £57.50 + VAT for an a/c service carried out during the cars 4 year service 6 months ago. As the car was 4 years old (although only 27k on the clock) I thought that to be fair enough. They added some citrus-smelling stuff to the system too, very pleasant while it lasted.

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If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Does the gen 4 have a "sight glass"? There's a small glass window in one of the pipes for the aircon (to the left of the engine in gen 3 anyway). When my aircon got weak to the point where it was as good as useless on a hot day, when I looked at the glass I could see fluid constantly splashing around, and the viewable area would completely drain away when I turned off the aircon. After getting it topped up (which only cost €45 in my local dealer, about £40), I could see no movement of fluid at all in the sight glass - it was like the system was completely full (hopefully that's how it's supposed to be?). If you see bubbles, it could also suggest a leak.

When it's running properly, the temperature at the vents should be around 4 degrees - like, fridge cold.

I'd also recommend changing the cabin filter if it hasn't already been done recently.

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Car air conditioning never ceases to amuse. Refrigeration technicians are highly,trained, skilled, knowledgeable and qualified. Qualifications are gained over a period of approximately 3 years minimum. Knowledge takes a while longer to accumulate. Garages in the most part, cant afford to employ air conditioning technicians. So to put it simply, why don't you ask the bloke next door if he wouldnt mind asking his youngest to wipe a cloth over the vents and give the ac a once over? Change the pollen filter, clean out the vents, run the unit on recirc only for the shortest possible periods and once or twice a year scald the entire system with air which is hotter than 60 degrees for about 15 minutes. EASY to do on a hot summers day with the ac turned onto maximum heat medium fan speed on a long run during which the engine is at its full working temperature. (Motorways are good for this.)Dont forget to wind the windows down so that the heat escapes and the system carries on trying to throw heat through the ductwork and coils. You then ensure that you kill the bacteria which makes everything stink. Keep the drain clean and clear, blow out the coil and kill bacteria by temperature and not disinfectant.

Adding, topping up or routinely replacing refrigerant isnt necessary. Changing refrigerant is only necessary when there has been a leak. All refrigerant leaks have to be degassed, repaired and proven  prior to reintroducing refrigerant. Most refrigerant leaks are very hard to detect. They do sell dyes which glow under an ultraviolet lamp however, what they don't tell you is that these dyes will only work if the leak is big enough to let the ultraviolet sensitive element of the dye  to escape ; in many cases the molecular size of the escaping gas component is smaller than the dye molecule size and so the gas escapes whilst the dye doesn't. It makes everyone think that the problem went away until the ac stops cooling again.

And guess what! you didn't just pay a semiskilled, barely trained, charlatan £165 to be fed a line or two.

Recent developments show the motor industry trying to protect its own by introducing "special" refrigerants so that you have to entrust your vehicle to someone who just got back from a fortnights course. Sorry to say, this doesn't make them right ; a properly trained refrigeration technician knows how to handle and is qualified to manage any type of refrigerant from propane to carbon dioxide to ammonia ( I kid you not) and many , many more.

 A lot of people refer to air conditioning as "air con" some of them think they are being a bit savvy, Nicholas Cage fans and err ...cool. However I think that they are unwittingly being extremely accurate; a lot of the air conditioning trade is "air CON"

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Toyota's fixed price servicing has re-gas from £45 & cleanse & re-gas from £85 - £165 seems over the top.

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On 7/26/2018 at 9:45 AM, QuantumFireball said:

Does the gen 4 have a "sight glass"? There's a small glass window in one of the pipes for the aircon (to the left of the engine in gen 3 anyway). When my aircon got weak to the point where it was as good as useless on a hot day, when I looked at the glass I could see fluid constantly splashing around, and the viewable area would completely drain away when I turned off the aircon. After getting it topped up (which only cost €45 in my local dealer, about £40), I could see no movement of fluid at all in the sight glass - it was like the system was completely full (hopefully that's how it's supposed to be?). If you see bubbles, it could also suggest a leak.

When it's running properly, the temperature at the vents should be around 4 degrees - like, fridge cold.

I'd also recommend changing the cabin filter if it hasn't already been done recently.

I have had a good look but I cannot find any sign of a 'sight glass' on my Gen 4.

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