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Q: My air conditioning stopped cooling the air in my 2010 Toyota Corolla

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The AC of my Toyota Corolla S 2010 stopped cooling. My Mechanic said i needed to change both the compressor and condenser. I paid him to supply and install the new PARTS. The AC worked well for a while then went back to blowing hot air again. The same mechanic refilled the AC Gas. It worked again for about 2 weeks before the gas finished again. My mechanic has checked all the pipes and parts. he now tells me that the problem is under the dashboard. I am reluctant to let him tamper with the dashboard of my car. Is there really a part of the AC system that can only be accessed by the removal of the dahsboard? If so, which part is it?

My car has 50000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: It is statistically unlikely that you had, ...

It is statistically unlikely that you had, at the same time, BOTH a leaking condenser and a leaking compressor on a 6 year old vehicle with only 50,000 miles. Indeed, the fact that after replacement of those two parts, the system just continued to leak substantiates the unlikeliness. As a consumer, the only way to proceed in the type of scenario you are describing is to ask the mechanic to identify (prove to you) the leak source using an Electronic Leak Detector, preferably what is known as an "infrared leak detector," which is foolproof, so that you can determine if the mechanic has made a valid, and thus usable, diagnosis. It is your right to see the source of the leak with your own eyes. If that confirmation was omitted, that explains why this repair has gone off the rails.

Obviously, you have a large leak, in fact the largest of them all as AC leaks are classified, and a point is large leaks are the EASIEST to find and demonstrate. The question is why wasn't the large leak found the very first time around? Furthermore, the mechanic should NOT have recharged the AC system, nor even merely contemplate recharging the system once all the refrigerant leaked out after the new compressor and condenser were installed. He should not have further wasted your money by recharging because he must have known that the leak still exists! How could he not know? He replaced the compressor and condenser and subsequently according to your account all of the refrigerant leaked out again! So, he re-charging a system that STILL had an obvious leak. Instead of recharging the system, he should have simply used standard leak detection methods, identified the leak and fixed it. It is obvious from your description of the events that the Mechanic is wasting your time and money.

With regard to your question about the dashboard, there are two heat exchangers in your a/c system, one is referred to as the "condenser" (in front of car near radiator), and the other is called the "evaporator." The evaporator is in the dash, in the passenger compartment, but the evaporator would have to be carefully leak tested BEFORE any thought is given to replacing it. On a 2010 vehicle, a Toyota no less, with only 50,000 miles (my Toyota is 26 years old and has 170,000 miles; I still have my ORIGINAL evaporator, never had a problem with it), I would be surprised to encounter a leaking evaporator but, regardless, the bottom line is has the Mechanic leak tested the evaporator and what were the results? If not, or if he did test it but did not show you conclusive EVIDENCE of a leak, it would obviously be irrational to switch out the evaporator.

If you want my advice at this point, hire a competent mechanic who will just simply get the a/c system repaired without any further nonsense. YourMechanic has specialists in A/C systems and you can avail yourself of their expertise. Finally, with regard to monies already spent on a repair that has turned out to be useless, you have a right to complain and seek recovery. There is no reason for your A/C system to have not been completely and fully repaired during your very FIRST encounter with the Mechanic. Indeed a/c systems are amongst the least complex and "limited" systems in the vehicle. It should have been repaired, without doubt, the first time around.

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