Air Conditioning Condenser Replacement.


If your vehicle has a leaking air conditioning system and has lost all its gas then the prime suspect is the condenser. The condenser is an aluminium radiator usually measuring about 60cm wide by 45cm high and is located in front of the coolant radiator just behind the front bumper and right in the firing line for any stones and other debris thrown up from the road. This is what a typical new condenser looks like:

A New Condenser

Unfortunately if you are driving at 70mph and a stone is thrown into your condenser at speed then it will act like a bullet and often pierce the aluminium pipework. One tell tale sign of a leaky condenser is a dark oily patch on the surface. PAG oil circulates around the A/C system along with the refrigerant and if there is a leak some of this oil will be deposited around the point of failure. The condenser below was taken from a vehicle with 110k miles on the clock and along with the grime and hundreds of dead flies you can see the oily residue from a leak circled in yellow:

A Leaking Condenser

Leaks can happen to vehicles of any age and are not covered by warranty if they have been damaged by debris being shot into them. This condenser was taken from a 2 year old vehicle with very low mileage and as you can see is very clean by comparison but still has a leak at the bottom:

Another Leaky Condenser

On some vehicles you are able to visually inspect the condenser using a torch by looking through the bumper. On others the condenser can be hidden by cooling fans and on turbo diesels the bottom edge may be hidden from view by the intercooler. Partial disassembly of the bumper / grille may be needed to get a good look at the part.

If your condenser is leaking and you have been to a main dealer for a quote then no doubt you will have had a shock. The part is usually in the range of £300 to £400 with an extortionate hourly rate for fitting on top of that. Mister Cool can supply and fit about 95% of vehicle condensers for £250 including testing and regassing afterwards. Some cars require extensive dismantling to gain access and these can cost up to £350. Vehicles which can be fixed for £250 include Vauxhall Astras, Vectras and Zafiras, most Fords, Citroens, Peugeots, Land Rovers and Range Rovers as well as Volkswagens and Audis. The majority of motorhomes can also be repaired for the same price.

The rear engined Porsche models such as the 996, 997, Cayman and Boxster have twin condensers - one on either side under the headlights. These can be replaced for £250 if one is leaking or £350 if both need changing. Porsche condensers can be difficult to inspect without removing the bumper as a plastic shroud covers a lot of the visible surface. Please see our Porsche Condensers Page for further information specific to the Cayman, Boxster, 911 and other rear engined Porsche models.

If you have been quoted £600 to £900 or even more to have this part replaced please contact us now and save yourself a bundle!

We cover all areas within a 25 mile radius of Derby including Ashbourne, Burton on Trent, Castle Donington, Long Eaton and Uttoxeter.