I just need to share my experiences with the air con in my VE SV6, and maybe take some advice on where to go from here...
I bought it used from Brian Gardner Holden with 23,000kms on the clock. Told the sales guy the air con seemed warm, and he promised to have it sorted before I collected the car. It appears nothing was done and like an idiot, I drove it for a year and a half before I got so frustrated I took it back while under warranty. They said it was a software issue and upgraded the software.
A few months later, with obviously nothing fixed, I got frustrated again and took it back in. Finally they looked at it and replaced the header control assembly.
A little while later, after this still hadn't fixed anything, I took it back. They looked again, and realised the 'schroder valves' (sp?) were loose, and had leaked all the gas out. So they topped it up and replaced the valves. That worked for about a week (last September), and then it seemed to go back to not working. Unfortunately, that's where the warranty ran out. It took a few months of playing with it to realise it STILL wasn't working - seemed coolish during mornings, evenings, maybe sometimes during the day. But overall - rubbish performance.
I took it back this morning, and let them know I was over it, and none of the previous fixes had worked, and I just want to know what the heck is wrong with it. I've just been called to say that in the 5 months since it was last in to get checked 2 aircon pipes, 2 aircon seals, 1 pipe seal and 1 condenser seal have all failed, to a cost of $695 to fix.
Are they seriously expecting me to believe that all of those parts failed within the past 5 months, or am I right to believe that they didn't bother checking or testing the last time it went in. It seems they just found the first faulty thing and ignored checking anything else, and put it back on the road. What if the problem had been with the brakes??? Would they just find the first thing and put it back on the road without testing???
So short of coughing up $695 for something that I believe has been a problem all along, does anyone have any advice on where to go from here???
Thanks in advance...
Update - I've just been on the phone to the service manager. He says he runs his aircon all year around because keeping the coolant running through the system keeps the seals, etc from perishing or wearing out (not his exact words, but how I understood what he was saying).
So if there was no coolant at all in the system for the past 3 years because of the leaking valves, this is the cause of all these pipes and seals needing replacing now? That's what it seems like to me. Others out there might be more familiar with how it all works?
I have a 12 year old Vectra as well which has never had an aircon service or re-gas and has icy cold aircon. Seems my VE can't hold gas in it for more than a week...
I currently have a problem with the AC in my SV6, seems like it needs to be re gassed. Hopefully I don't have the same amount of trouble you've had!
What the service manager said does have truth to it, in the AC system there is an oil, it keeps all the rubbers in good condition.
I know that so some jap cars turn the air con on when you select reverse, this allows the AC gas and oil to be pumped around the system and helps look after the seals.
This is to look after the seals in winter when you're not turning the AC on.
As for advice on how to deal with the $695 bill, I would argue that it was a known problem with you car, having taken it back so many times. I think you can call Holden direct though, and inform them of what's happening, they might cover part of the cost.
Thanks for the advice, Big Jim.
Apparently they are contacting Holden to see if they can make a claim, but it's good to know I might be able to call them directly if they tell the dealer 'no'. I assume I just google the details for Holden Australia's head office?
.....and if you feel that you are not getting the service from these people that you would expect, go straight to consumer affairs with all details of dates, times and whom you spoke to and what you were told, ETC...
Customer Assistance Centre
PO Box 1714,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3001
Phone: 1800 033 349
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday 8am - 7pm (EST)
Saturday 9am - 1pm (EST)
i understand that problems with a late model car are annoying and time wasting...
but why would you let it go for 1.5 years plus , to get it sorted ?
surely a hot day in that timeframe would tell you to get it sorted..... part of the expense of a late model car is to enjoy the investment by having it working...
You reported the issue while under warranty therefore it remains a warrantable fix until repaired.
You shouldnt be paying a cent.
GOLD Level Holden Technician.
Thanks everyone for your help so far.
Titleist - I know, I did leave it quite a while, but like I said - sometimes I felt it was working, most often not. I just wasn't sure if it was because it's a bigger car, or a dark colour... stupid, I know. But mostly it's because I hate making issues and dealing with this stuff, and because I know it's a hassle to take stuff like this in to get sorted out.
It's now Wednesday afternoon, and I haven't heard a word from them about whether it's going to be fixed or not - the last I heard from them was a phone call last Thursday morning saying they were looking into it. That's 6 days with no car and no word about what's going on - and it's just air-con seals. Don't get me wrong - the service manager was extremely helpful, and as far as I know he's just waiting to hear from Holden, but it is a hassle. I don't know how much longer it's going to take. A lot of us do need a car for work.
When my Vectra lost its gearbox under warranty a couple of years ago, I took it back to the same place. They told me it was going to take 12 weeks to get a new gearbox from Queensland! I reckon I could walk to Queensland and back in 12 weeks! They gave me a loan car, but then called me two days later and asked me to return it as they had given me an unregistered car. I took it back, and they had no other loan car so had to spend the remaining time with nothing. This is why I try not to bother with this sort of thing...
I'll keep you all updated... thanks again...
Don't let peanuts screw you around. Doesn't take 12 weeks to re-register a car !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it takes their service dept that much time to do a pink slip ..
Apprentices need to do jobs in order to learn anything, that being said they should be supervised and all work checked by a tech.
GOLD Level Holden Technician.
As ricey said, it was a problem before your warranty expired so they are required to fix it.
Also since you mentioned your vectra...get rid of it lol, as quick as you can, I had a vectra for 2 years and bought it cheap off my mate after he had to fork out 6k for a reconditioned engine. I had several electrical/computer issues with it, then 2 months after I sold it I talked to the guy I sold it too it had died.
Update: Well, I finally called on Friday to find out what was going on with my car. I wanted to wait to see how long it would take them to contact me (after all - it's their customer service on display here, not mine), but it was getting to be beyond a joke. I spoke to someone, and they said they had no idea about my car or what was happening with it. I was told they'd look through the paperwork and get back to me. I have still not heard back.
It's now been 12 days since I took the car in, and no-one has called me about it since the day I took it in.
I'll let everyone know as I find out more...
Another update: No word yet.
I wasn't going to bring this up, but I'm getting more and more frustrated by this whole situation - on the day I took the car in they called me to say they were going to submit a warranty claim to Holden for the work, due to the history of the issue. But then he called 2 hours later and said "I've typed up the request and all I have to do is press enter... but my manager has read this post and isn't very happy...". He then went on to suggest that Holden might not honour the warranty claim if they read my post here. I took it almost as a threat that if I didn't apologise they weren't going to help me.
Do you think that has something to do with why it's taking so long, or no-one seems to want to contact me for an update?
I felt like saying "if your manager is reading through this forum, maybe he wants to find my very first post from 2009 that was trying to find out, surprise, surprise, why my goddamn air conditioning wasn't working... Here it is in 2012 and I'm still trying to get the issue sorted". But of course I didn't think about that until later...
But seriously - that's what internet forums are for, right? One, for seeking advice of people with similar issues and two, to vent when you're frustrated? If the manager is actually unhappy with the post, he's free to make a right of reply on the forum to counter my story, right?
They would be wise to fix your problem as this one subject thread can become multiple subject threads advising people to go elsewhere.
I'd be questioning why the manager has time to trawl on forums rather than managing a service department/dealership.
What the manager should realise is that if they do a good job, it will be reported here. We already know about the pain in the arse Rewey has gone through, so a happy ending can only help the reputation of that dealership.
The only honest people in the world are small children and drunk people.
Update: Well I called this morning, and the receptionist said she would pass my details on to John Gardner himself. He called within 20 minutes, went through the issues. He went himself down to the service department to find out the story, and called me back 10 minutes later. Just called me again to say problem solved and the car will be ready this afternoon.
It's restored my faith a great deal. He outlined a couple of issues he's had, but steps he's taken to solve it. It's actually refreshing to have such a frank discussion with someone who really makes things happen. I suppose when it's your family name on the roof, you don't want other staff dropping the ball...
But I will always be surprised by being called at work to be told they weren't happy with my post. That staff member has been moved on already according to John. Possibly a good thing...
Thanks everyone for your input and advice - it's been invaluable...
Congrats with getting a result, I just got my aircon fixed today aswell (check myride thread), you wouldn't believe some of the quotes I received...clowns. ended up costing me $260 all up when I was told $700 + maybe another $1100 for a new compressor. So you are definitely not the only one mate..take some comfort in that.
Anyhow have finally had the car fitted at another dealer and up to yet all is going well. Sorry Gardners but you have lost my business plus everyone I know with a Holden.
Well, here we are 12 months later and guess what?!? The car is back in at Gardner Holden because the goddamn air conditioner doesn't work! This time, apparently, it's the "receiver dryer" that is gone. That means over the SIX visits to Gardner Holden to have the air con issue fixed they have upgraded the software, replaced the header control assembly, replaced the schroeder valves, replaced 2 air con pipes, 2 air con seals, 1 pipe seal and 1 condenser seal, and now the 'receiver dryer' needs replacing.
As it is out of warranty, it's now my problem (although the service manager spoke with John Gardner and they have agreed to cover labour costs). When the issue happened last year, he said if there was ever an issue again someone would drive out and collect my car and repair it at no cost - obviously that's not the case any longer.
The thing that really frustrates me is this - I am sick of the argument each time that now it's "a different component that is broken". I don't care. I didn't buy a bucket full of all those parts above - I purchased a car WITH AN AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM. This is an ongoing problem with THE AIR CONDITIONER SYSTEM. The definition of 'system' is "a set of connected things or parts".
The changes in consumer law now give me as a consumer the right to expect "acceptable quality", which includes the requirement of "durability" (Australian Consumer Law s54(6)). Regardless of whether it is still under warranty or not, would anyone like to support me in the idea that I expect a car touted as Holden's "billion dollar baby" should have an expected life span of more than 4 years?
Uhh the receiver dryer should be replaced every time the system is exposed to the atmosphere ie when pipes are replaced etc
GOLD Level Holden Technician.
Really? Is that something I can find in a user manual or something to show them? I would argue then that it wasn't replaced 12 months ago when they were operating on the system then? I take it your experience is from working in some capacity with these things, Ricey?
It's part of the Australian Code Of Practise.
A.12 Filter/dryer and accumulators
A.12.1 Whenever the refrigerant system is opened, the filter/dryer or
accumulator, when fitted, must be replaced in accordance with
the manufacturer’s instructions.
Where the manufacturer has not issued instructions, the units
must be replaced whenever the system is opened or after 5 years
Australian Refrigeration Council Ltd
GOLD Level Holden Technician.
Well... interestingly enough, when I went to collect my car yesterday evening I was told that all of the costs have now been covered "in good will".
For those that have read the beginnings of this thread, they will know that the former service manager had read it while the car was in being repaired, and called me at work with the threat that Holden may not cover the repairs if they were unhappy with what I had written - so we know that certain people are obviously reading this thread. All of this makes me wonder whether:
a) it is merely coincidence, and the work really was done in good will
b) Ricey's information in the previous post about the receiver-drier shows that the part should have been replaced when it was last in 12 months ago (and either it wasn't, or it has failed after only 12 months)
c) the information I posted about the amendments to the Australian Consumer Law are spot on
As a contribution to others on this site, I will outline a little more about the changes to Australian Consumer Law, because I believe it will radically change the experiences many people have with having cars repaired, what sort of things are covered by warranties, and will highlight the scam-ish nature of many extended warranties (on all products, not just cars). Without giving too much about myself away, I deal with legislation and legal arguments all day for work. I have liaised directly with State Ministers, and have personally been involved in amending State legislation over the past few years - so when it comes to the application of legislation, I generally know what I'm talking about.
The changes to the Australian Consumer Law came into effect from 1 January 2011. The biggest change that affects us is the change from goods being of "merchantable quality" to goods being of "acceptable quality". In short, being 'merchantable' means it is free of defect on delivery to the customer. Being of 'acceptable quality' includes a number of expectations for a period of time after receiving the goods. Acceptable quality is defined as being:
- fit for purpose
- acceptable in appearance and finish
- free from defects
- safe; and
The key element for most car owners is the understanding of the term 'durable'. Although a little bit objective, durability is determined as the "reasonable expectations of consumers". In other words, if I buy a car, even if it is one year old, I expect that the air conditioning will last more than 12 months.
I would recommend people google a slide presentation by Stephen Corones, Professor of Law at QUT (if you google "20110608_Corones.pdf" you will find it). Pages 13-16 summarise this section on durability, including when it is the consumer's fault. Pages 18-22 outline the outcomes of various legal cases which demonstrate how much protection is offered to consumers - in one case a 6 year old car had a gearbox failure 11 months after purchase, in another a 13 year old car had a gearbox failure 3 months after purchase. In all cases, customers were either awarded the repairs or the full refund of the purchase price due to what a consumer is reasonably entitled to expect in terms of durability.
Maybe I need to create a new thread on the topic which would gain some further input from other people? I believe these changes will greatly alter the way consumers are treated by manufacturers, particularly those who use sketchy wording in express warranties, and assume no responsibility at all after the warranty period expires. I believe my case is a perfect example - a car touted as Holden's 'billion dollar baby' should have a life expectancy outside of normal wear and tear of more than 4 years, whether or not it is covered by an express warranty.
Thanks again for your help above, Ricey...