A Clean Hot Mess

Earlier this week, my car’s air conditioner high pressure hose “popped”.  It was 19 years old, and the last time I had looked at it, it looked OK, so I was mildly surprised when I heard the pop and saw the cloud of oil/Freon erupt from the engine compartment.

I must say, driving home in the 122F degree heat wasn’t the most fun thing to do.

One of the jobs I did “way back when” to eliminate the need for university student loans was fixing air conditioning systems, so I had the knowledge and about 15 years ago, I bought the specialized tools needed to do my own air conditioning work.

Working on a car air conditioner is hot work.  First is just the normal “working in the heat” and then, when charging the system, there is the added heat from the car’s engine.

I was hoping the shop rates would be low enough to convince me to let a shop do the work.  No…. The shops wanted around $900 to do the work…the car cost only $500


I spent a few hours in the heat and $85 for the hose, O-rings, compressor oil, Freon 134 and the dryer/accumulator.  If I were to count the gauge set and vacuum pump, that would add about $600 to the repair cost.  But I had purchased these items in the late 1990s and have used them several times a year (mostly on neighbors’ cars) so I consider those to be paid for already.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a firm believer in “get the right tools and do it yourself”. The first time, the cost of the tools, will be about what it would cost to have someone else do the work.  So, you don’t save much money the first time you have to do the work.  The savings start when (not if) you have to do the same job again.   Plus, you aren’t dependent on someone else to take care of you.


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