21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Heatwave! Garages urged to be prepared for the A/C surge

With the UK having experienced record-breaking temperatures today (Tuesday 19 July 2022) LKQ Euro Car Parts is urging garages to make sure they can capitalise on the A/C opportunities, as it is in this kind of heat that drivers notice when their car’s system is not up to scratch.

Colin Cottrell, Marketing Director at LKQ Euro Car Parts, commented: “Air con systems are comprised of an intricate network of pressure valves, and there is a natural dispersal of gas throughout their lifecycles, resulting in a loss of around five per cent capacity each year. It’s a gradual process, but eventually it means that the system can no longer filter air with maximum efficiency, causing a build up of moisture in the filters.

“This is especially problematic at this time of year, with the filters then more likely to attract pollen, spores and bacteria. It’s also a key part of overall vehicle health – if a faulty system is left unchecked, it can lead to problems elsewhere, such as engines or batteries overheating, or warning messages due to false pressure readings.

“Under normal circumstances, drivers won’t always notice a drop off in the performance of their air conditioning – as long as it blows cold air, they’ll assume it’s working. But in the current heat, they are much more likely to spot that their system isn’t up to scratch. We expect to see an uptick in customers visiting garages with specific air con-related issues over the coming weeks.

“But garages should also bear in mind the opportunity to upsell air con checks as part of other service tasks or repairs. Being able to explain to drivers why it’s important to get their system checked means they’ll most likely be happy to go for it, especially in the current conditions.

“And it’s easy to show customers that their system could do with a refresher. Ask them to hold their hand over a vent with the system on full blast. If they can keep their hand there for more than a few seconds, there’s room for improvement – it should be powerful enough that the cold air is too much to bear. Small tweaks can make a big difference to air quality and temperature control in the cabin, meaning drivers will leave happy, and inclined to come back next time.”

LKQ Euro Car Parts has ten full-time air con engineers on-hand to support customers working in independent garages, franchises, bodyshops and fast-fits throughout the UK.

Colin commented: “We’re also encouraging technicians to complete dedicated cooling, climate and refrigerant handling qualification courses via our LKQ Academy. We offer Level 1 and 2 cooling and climate training, covering everything from oils, UV dyes, flushing and tooling, as well as more advanced pressure and temperature diagnostics. And technicians can complete their F-Gas refrigerant handling training with us, too, which legally qualifies them to work with so-called ‘old gas’.”

He added: “LKQ Euro Car Parts is also urging technicians to ensure they are fully qualified to work with R134A – or ‘old gas’. It is not present in any vehicles registered from 2017 onwards, when it was replaced by the more environmentally-friendly R1234yf – or ‘new gas’. But technicians must be equipped to handle both refrigerant types to ensure they are never in a situation where they’re having to turn away work.

For more information, visit omnipart.eurocarparts.com or lkqacademy.co.uk