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Should I pay?

1763 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  TYPE36LOTUS
Morning all, can you help?

Reoccurring air con problem, first reported in May 2003.
With all previous attempts to sort the problem failing, we then paid for the system to be re-gassed (earlier this year), as they said it was our fault for not using it properly! (allegedly if you don't use it at least once a week it the gas seeps out of the seals) But were also told that we would be reimbursed if the this was not the real problem. Well this time it's going in for a new compressor, so I hope we will get our money back for that.
Trouble is now our warranty has run out (18.9.2004), I said I didn't want pay anything, they said we will have to pay a percentage, I have initially agreed to pay because I can't sell the car with the problem.
The Mini goes in on Tuesday (2.11.04) with a Mini courtesy car at no cost, (£11.75 a day) ...great.......
Any ammunition would be appreciated.

Mini Cooper
Chilli red
Pepper pack
White lid & boots
Half leather
Manual air-con
Leather s/wheel
Ext. chrome
August 01 build
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If it doesn't say in your manual to use your Aircon once a week or it will break, then that's a very poor excuse. I would not have paid anything from the start. Also, if this is a problem that started before your warranty expired and it still is a problem, then I'd not pay anything to get it fixed, at all. It's always tricky once you've paid something as your dealer will possibly think you're going to just accept whatever they tell you or charge you for, and also that you've accepted some kind of liability, which is never helpful to you in this sort of situation.
dont worry your warranty has run its course - you should have all the paperwork to hand - to prove the amount of problems you have been having

you shouldnt have paid for anything to be honest!!!

have 2 use air con once a week??? example - its december - are you expected to blast the air con??? - some dealers just chat pure fraff because people let them get away with it -
I concur with Paul, if it was initially reported in warranty period time, then its an ongoing problem that hasn't been satifactorarily fixed.

As I understand it, using the aircon once a week or so has little to do with having to recharge the system - a leak is a leak. Using the system once a week stops microbes from building up (green sludge) and if left to build up every time you use the system it smells bad.....
It is true. You should use the air con at least once a week. The gasses contain a lubricant which keeps the seals soft and in good condition. Not using the air con causes the seals to dry out, and will cause the gas to leak.

The point is it doesn't say anywhere (that I can find) in the documentation about the aircon that you should use it regularly (and certainly not once a week) or it will break. In which case, to make that argument is unfair. And so is to say that it's "common knowledge" as it clearly isn't.
To me it sounds like an inherent defect, accordingly if you are having no joy with your dealer speak to BMW direct.

Prehaps the dealer would like to show you where the instruction is that states that the air conditioning should be used on a weekly basis.

Air conditioning does need to be used on a weekly basis, but as Paul says if there is no mention in the user manual - under the eyes of the law it is not reasonable to expect you to know that. Most people who have air conditioning in the UK, have only had the feature for 1-4 years or so, so it isn't common knowledge.

I would also find it difficult to sell a car knowing there is a problem, but in reality I bet there are problems with a large proportion of three year old cars being sold with A/C. :D
Hey thanks,

Try not to get to heated (ha).

We may not have used the system as often as should we have, but as Paul said there is no mention of this in the manual and we were not aware of the fact.
So for future reference:
But anyway, the garage have had plenty of opportunities to rectify the problem in the previous twelve months to re-gassing.

This is a similar scenario to my earlier post of having a noising wheel bearing and being told " this is a manifold/steering column defect"....... Changed manifold!
........Hey there is no difference to noise in the steering?
Oops, sorry you have knackered wheel bearing!

So we have the a/c compressor changed!

Do I refuse to pay and not get our Mini back?

Find that it still whines like a stuffed pig?

Go directly to jail and don't collect the two hundred quid?

I think I'll have a go at ranting at Mini and the garage in question tomorrow, then see what happens.

All I want is a 200bhp 4x4 MCS and a lots of tarmac......... thats not to much to ask, is it?
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My September 2001 Cooper had a similar problem with very noisy aircon. They regassed it and invoiced me, I refused to pay until I checked if the problem was fixed. Problem was no better so I booked car in again, told them I was not paying for regas as they now were replacing the compressor. Did help the problem but still not perfect. Car was just inside warranty when compressor was changed but there was no mention of me being charged. And my air con is never turned off hardly so it failed even with loads of use so I would argue with your dealer about the lack of use theory. It seems aircon compressors are a problem that is well known about with Mini.
Oops, I paid!

Arrived at garage at 8.05am this morning, had a bit of a moan about having to pay for something that been going on for over eighteen months. I was told by a very nice man that he would have a 'word' with BMW.
They gave me a BMW 320d for the day, didn't like it!

Picked up Mini and paid £35.32, because although BMW would not accept responsibility, as a good will gesture pay 100% of parts and 80% of labour.

Moral of this story is:
Make sure you document every-bloody-thing, keeps business cards, appointment details, the peoples names who dealt with you, dates, times, PLEASE!

I tried to keep most things but missed a few, so I couldn't argue. But that was only part of the sting, the other problem was the turnover of staff. The original people who dealt with the car have long gone, plus the files and letters I sent seem to in hyper-space somewhere!

Next time I will try recording my evidence!
I will also email all of my correspondence to MINI or should that be BMW? no, both!

Time to move on........... :mad:

Thanks for your input
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Using the air once a week is definitely not going to happen for people living in cold climates. They need to put that in the book if that is the case.

So is it guaranteed that something will go wrong with the system if it isn't used at least once a week???
AC swings both ways

Yes, they should make it more obvious, but ac should heat as well as chill, with auto ac you set temp it keeps the temp.

I only think of ac as a cooler and use it as such, I don't use it all the time because of fuel cost.
So when it's -20 here in the dead of winter...

matfrost said:
It is true. You should use the air con at least once a week. The gasses contain a lubricant which keeps the seals soft and in good condition. Not using the air con causes the seals to dry out, and will cause the gas to leak.

I have to run the AC? Nah. Sounds a bit bogus to me and I've read the manual backwards and forwards and can't find a thing about running it once a week.
Current A/C uses R134a refrigerant. This requires O-ring seals everywhere and special hoses that will not let the smaller molecules pass through the hose. When the system is assembled the o-rings are lubricated, this is all that should be necessary. The system should not leak regardless of use or lack of use. The US has a standard for leakage and it is not based on frequency of usage. I would expect that other country’s standards are a tough if not tougher. If they are simply adding refrigerant and nothing else, the problem has not been corrected.

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