I just got a used 2011 Chevy Equinox about 5 months ago (bad decision to
buy a Chevy), now has about 75,000 miles. Summer just started and I went
to use the A/C and only hot air has been blowing. Took it to my local Chevy
dealer and they diagnosed the air condenser as leaking and will fix it for a
charge of $800+. I thought Chevy would be a good American company to
buy from, but their customer service has been the worst I've ever dealt with
and they have no concern for the quality of their vehicle. Is this an issue I
should expect to continue to happen if I fix it. I have no faith that 2 years
down the road the A/C won't just crap out again. I will definitely never be
buying a Chevy again...
So it sounds like you need a second opinion just due too the price they quoted, take it to a shop that specializes in A/C work, have them check it over and see what they say, remember a dealer is not always the best move in repairing your vehicle especially in a vehicle that is now 5 years old and all of the warranties are gone. Most independent shops value their customers and will also give you more bang for our buck no matter what brand of vehicle you drive. Remember next time you want a used car take it to a shop that does used car checks, I'm sure that they would have caught your A/C problem before you bought this one, it is money well spent.
If the a/c condenser is leaking the problem could have been caused by a small rock or piece of gravel hitting it and piercing it. It may have nothing to do with the quality of the part or vehicle. Sometimes it is easy to blame the dealer and the manufacturer for problems that are not their fault. I would do as suggested and get a second opinion from a reputable shop that specializes in A/C work. Not all dealership service departs are bad.
I had received a second opinion from a local mechanic (granted, wasn't from an AC specific mechanic, just a local general mechanic), and was quoted about $750, so not much of a difference. I'll try looking into one who specializes in ACs. The local mechanic made it seem like he wasn't surprised I experienced this issue and sees this a lot with Chevys. And I didn't know about a used car check before buying a car, I honestly didn't even realize that was an option. In regards to the potential of a small rock hitting it, should I be concerned that the car is designed in such a way this could continually happen? That is, if I fix it, I could just have another thing hit it and go through this same process?
It seems like every car that has A/C eventually has a condenser problem, I think it is just cause they are made so thin that any little thing makes them leak, I have even had some really cheap ones fracture by just charging the A/C system, that happened too me twice from the same part supplier, got another brand and it worked, Sometimes screening just behind the grill helps but it can impede air flow and on today's engines that is what you don't want. So yes it is likely that it will happen again, you can minimize that by not following too close and watching for road debris, gravel trucks are a big headache in my area for A/C condensers, radiators, windshields etc.
@tennisshoes, right on the money. Great post. Points for you.
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