Air Conditioning: the bill

Have you ever climbed into your car on the first hot day of the year, and found to your dismay that the switch labelled A/C produces more hot air than a politician on breakfast TV?

I have.

In the good old days (when I had a Golf GTi and knew how to use it), this was a straightforward but tedious problem to fix: pop down to Halfords (other discount motoring chains are available), hand over around £50, and provided it was just a lack of refrigerant rather than a hole in something, they’d have you back in business in half an hour.

Last summer, though, my 2017 plate small and sensible Ford had the same issue (not unreasonable at six years old) and produced a bill for £140! It seems newer cars have to use more planet-friendly refrigerant, which is reassuringly expensive compared to the old stuff.

While it’s hard to argue with saving the planet, having to cough this up twice in a row (11 months apart) stung quite a bit.

Lesson learned: if you’re an infrequent driver like me, make sure to run the A/C at least once a month all year round, otherwise the seals dry out and all that expensive cooling juice escapes.