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Vehicle air conditioning. This is not only for cooling the air in the car in summer but also to dehumidify the hot air in winter to demist windows. The Demist control usually switches the AC on automatically. If the aircon is not working correctly the air will not be dried and this hot, but still moist air will not actively demist the windscreen effectively. See the dedicated full story on defogging glasswork here.

We service, troubleshoot, repair and recharge the airconditioning systems of cars and other vehicles.

We concentrate only on the air conditioning system although we are occasionally forced to stray into heater problems if that is affecting the AC. Similarly we sometimes need to look for electrical faults if they are preventing the correct operation of the AC system.

We do not dabble with Refrigeration or with the airconditioning of buildings of any kind. We are pure specialists in the aircon of vehicles whether they be cars, trucks, combine harvesters, agricultural tractors, coaches or plant.

We specialize to the extent that we do not even get involved in new installations of AC into cars - only the diagnosis of problems, and the repair and recharging of existing systems. If however you need a new system added to your car, with our experience we may be able to direct you to a suitable source - we are happy to offer advice where we are able. Please call Jenny on one of the booking numbers - here

We genuinely believe that it will frequently be cheaper for the owner to have a poorly performing aircon seen to by a specialist such as ourselves or another AC specialist rather than to simply have the car gassed up by the cheapest method available and often then have to go to a specialist once the refrigerant has escaped. If a fault is discovered we can frequently make a repair to many faulty components or AC hose rather than resort to a wholly new part fitted by a main agent. If a new part is required we have access to many new parts at considerably lower cost than from most other outlets.

We offer an alternative to the tyre, clutch or exhaust garages often with an inexperienced "AC Expert" and also the overpriced main dealerships. We offer good Value for Money as we believe in the highest quality components and service for our customers. If we need to replace any PAG oil in the the AC system, as we sometimes do, then we use only the highest quality PAG oils, termed "Double End-capped", which are much more stable than the standard PAG oils. Similarly although we are able to source components at lower prices than main dealerships we are able to choose the equivalent or superior quality parts, not merely the cheapest. We frequently could obtain "Discount Parts" or "Economy Components" but by using our knowledge of the trade we can usually source the best quality parts, often OEM parts, without paying OEM prices.

We offer three other things that you might not get elsewhere -

1. Expertise - We've been doing this for quite a while so most problems are not completely new to us.

2. Equipment - We need quite large vans to accomodate all the equipment that we use.

3. Honesty - We strongly believe that honesty is always the best policy, both in life and in business. We will always be straight with you - no porkies, nor will we try to pull the wool over anyones eyes.

By operating a mobile service and not requiring very expensive business premises we believe that you benefit from specialist knowledge and equipment without costing any more than a garage who may be good but still inexperienced in this specialised subject. In addition to our mobile service we have now taken on a small industrial unit in Northfleet which although not continuously manned is useful for those repairs which demand more space than we can usually find at the owners premises or for those owners who are just outside our operating area and are prepared to travel to us. During busy periods it is also sometimes possible to obtain a slightly quicker service if you are able to come to our workshop. It is still necessary to book an appointment as this workshop is frequently unattended, it is also slightly tricky to find (the post code leaves you some way away) so it is necessary after arranging an appointment to look up driving directions here - please do not just turn up without a booking. Although we have operated a mobile service since the mid-1990's this is becoming less frequently used now as more owners elect to come to our workshop as not only have we to reduce the area we are able to cover but we are also able to tackle more complex problems there, often with parts we have in stock. The elimination of "weather", principally the wind, within the workshop makes finding leaks so much more certain. With the hi-spec of our leak detecting equipment and the long experience of our AC technicians, finding the component that has leaked away the refrigerant is almost certain within our workshop.

We operate in the south of England but also keep a list of experienced but entirely independent AC technicians in other parts of the country that we don't cover ourselves - here

Although this website is aimed at car AC the procedure and the components are almost identical to those on motorhomes, limousines, vans, taxis, agricultural machinery and trucks. Coaches follow the same principles but most components are very much larger.

For trucks we are only too aware of the pressure to keep vehicles on the road during the working week. Many years ago I was an owner-driver, loading a trailer each Friday and then leaving on the Sunday evening to catch the ferry and spend most of the week abroad. Hence we are flexible with hours and can usually accommodate the busy truck with out of hours service. This non-social hours work may cost slightly more but keeps the truck on the road where it can earn it's keep.

Similarly with agricultural tractors and combines. They need to continue working, particularly when the weather is right. Again we can be flexible with the hours we work and we are usually able to repair pipes if they have been damaged thus getting the tractor serviceable again very speedily. We also have access to parts at very competitive prices. Incidentally, I have been a full member of the NFU for many years.

About us

We are a small family company and are NOT associated with, nor part of, any other grouping or franchise.

Our company as been operating for well over 40 years and about 20 years ago decided to specialise only in the airconditioning of vehicles. When we decided to specialise we checked that the name 'Aircon Direct' was a name not being used by any other company, however in the past few years we have noticed a number of similar or identical names have now appeared (one of which is a franchise).
We are not associated at all with any of those names or with any other company.
We are the original Aircon Direct.

I suppose that we should be flattered that our expertise has spawned so many "copy cats"

As from July 2010 the regulations for the AC technician's qualification have changed drastically. In the UK and the rest of the EU it is illegal for anyone to work on the AC system of a car, to remove or replace refrigerant of any car or small van without a qualification as specified in EU Regulation EC 842/2006. This regulation applies throughout Europe (an official DEFRA statement in September 2015 seems to deny that it fully applies to the UK but maybe the legal advice was mis-informed). Our three technicians have this DEFRA approved qualification of course. As our previous qualification was expiring we have all newly re-qualified this time with a City and Guilds examination which covers this regulation fully. This qualification is merely to comply with the EU and thus the British law. To pass this examination does not require much more than the most basic knowledge of aircon plus some relatively simple details to memorise. Every day now we are required to push our knowledge and experience much further than the levels of this qualification to cure aircon problems.

 

What does the car need?

If the vehicle is fitted with AC it will need occasional maintenance. Even if the AC is never intentionally used, the system will still need to be maintained or there is a real risk of a compressor failing and immobilising the vehicle. In fact the AC will probably need more frequent maintenance if the AC is used only rarely. What is "Occasional Maintenance"? For our own car the AC is used frequently and the AC is serviced every three years. Even if the AC was rarely used this period would probably be perfectly suitable and should help to ensure that no major problems are encountered. This maintenance is particularly important for more modern cars - say built after about 2005. For plug-in electric cars and hybrid drive cars this AC maintenance is particularly important to ensure a good long traction battery life but the service interval may be lengthened slightly.

Try not to leave maintenance until the AC is no longer cooling you in the cabin. By this time there is already a possibility that the compressor may have been getting too hot and becoming damaged. This is why I generally recommend a general AC service every three years - for about £20 a year this three year AC service acts almost as an insurance with the added benefit of the ability to demist or to cool whenever needed.

I feel that I need to stress that this maintenance needs to be time-related and that the total mileage covered matters hardly at all. We have had to replace compressors when the owner has said "The car is scarcely run-in, it has covered only 25,000 miles". This may seem dramatically bad but if the car is perhaps seven years old but used only lightly then after this period of time there can be very little refrigerant left in the system and even an almost new compressor can fail under these circumstances.

 

Meet the Team

As a small company we are able to give a very conscientious and personal service in this specialized arena. Our company consists of three family members and one long term trusted employee.

Jenny is probably your first contact with us. She answers the phones and takes bookings and enquiries with endless patience and courtesy. Before our marriage Jenny had been a telephonist on a very busy switchboard for quite a few years so she is well placed to cope with our phones. She has also worked for some years in a secondary school as a Learning Support Assistant. The experience she gained of dealing with naughty children has been invaluble for use with a stressed AC technician who may be starting to get stroppy. She loves cooking and her skill in food preparation does nothing for my waistline.

Derek has worked with us for very many years and has our full confidence in his work as an aircon technician. He is careful and thorough in his work. Derek had a wide variety of jobs in his earlier years and as a result with his experience he is incredibly good at finding a novel solution to a problem. Derek's spare time is filled with a wide variety of animals.

Mark, our son, is well steeped in the business, as befits a family member and has a wide experience for such a young man of mid-thirties. Mark just loves cars and could easily be described as a petrolhead. He is also keen on keeping fit and owns a couple of mountain bikes and frequently comes home spattered in mud but as he has now married, his very pretty wife washes all the muddy clothes, not his mother.

John, that's me, - I'm the old one, and occasionally feel it. About 18 years ago a local car dealer christened me "AirconJohn", he was very influential locally and the name stuck - I am still occasionally referred to that even after all these years . I am definitely not a "petrolhead" - a car to me is just a way to get comfortably, safely and economically from Point A to Point B. Nor am I a fitness freak but I love my Arabian horses and Tess our clever Border Collie. And of course, Jenny's cooking.

 

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