Air conditioning is leaking? Service for the Saab 9-3 Aero.

Almost every year when summer comes, the same game. One of my old Swedes refuses to cool. In 2018 it was the 9000. A new air conditioning compressor was needed. And this year? The Saab 9-3 Aero is playing its game with me. The temperatures are rising - inside and outside. Cooling? There is not any. This is not going well.

9-3 Aero at the climate service in Frankfurt
9-3 Aero at the climate service in Frankfurt

It annoys me and it is one of the moments when a new car comes to mind. Fortunately, the ideas don't last long - they disappear as quickly as they flare up. Of course I could now go to Bosch service or ATU. Both are less than 5 minutes away from me. But as a loyal Saab customer, I naturally move with the 9-3 Frankfurt. Around 60 kilometers there, 60 back. What not to do for the brand! Especially in Corona times.

No environmental mess please!

Air conditioning systems in older vehicles are a hot topic. Their substances are harmful to the climate, you have to be careful with them. Of course, the coolant evaporates if the Saab has been in a collection for years and is only moved sporadically. But that's more the exception, not the rule.

What makes me angry, however, are other things. In sales advertisements, not only at Saab, you can read “Air conditioning has to be filled”. Of course it has to. And just as naturally, the refrigerant quickly escapes into the atmosphere and damages it. Leaky air conditioners in classics and classic cars are maintenance backlog and defects that cannot be tolerated. Anyone who has to refill every 1 or 2 years simply behaves irresponsibly.

We get to the bottom of the lack

Saab Service Frankfurt acts in an exemplary manner without having to go into the subject and its explosiveness. It is clear that the deficiency must be investigated. Contrast medium is poured in and I roll off the yard again. A few days later, the contrast medium has spread throughout the system, the leak is searched for. The search is quick, the deficiency is found quickly. An air conditioning line is corroded, not unexpected after 20 years of everyday use.

Replacement is available in Sweden, the new part quickly arrives in Frankfurt. The exchange is not a big deal, the subsequent search reveals no further defects. The air conditioning is no longer leaking, summer can come. In the 9-3 Aero, with its fairly large window areas, it is a must. Without does not work, the Saab should not be a moving sauna.

It is important, not only in the interests of the environment, to carry out a general check when refrigerant is lost. Simply refilling is not an option. Old cars are sustainability. But they must not become a climate mess.

10 thoughts too "Air conditioning is leaking? Service for the Saab 9-3 Aero."

  • Very interesting report and environmental note, thank you! So far I only knew contrast media from my uncle doctor, not from car treatment! What is there ... 🙂

  • Basically, whoever fills up an air conditioning system without fixing any leaks is at least punishable in Switzerland ...

  • I should have a look at mine too… it works, but it's pretty weak. When the car was standing in the sun, it simply never made it to the set temperature and it took a while until a little cold air came out of the nozzles. If I parked in the shade, she still manages to keep the temperature that is in the car

  • Do not wait too long, with the creeping loss of refrigerant part of the oil is always lost, a capital compressor damage can be the result ... If you are unlucky, you will also find shavings in the evaporator, condenser, etc. ... Then it gets really expensive

  • As far as I know, leak detection with contrast medium is actually no longer state of the art. On the one hand, it takes time, on the other hand, the refrigerant escapes together with the contrast medium (and that should not be released into the environment if possible) and variously one reads that the contamination of compressor oil with the contrast medium can be problematic.

    The current standard should be the pressure or leakage test with forming gas (nitrogen-hydrogen mixture) under system pressure and an electronic leak detector (hydrogen detector).
    But this is probably an investment that workshops that do climate service on the side tend to shy away.

    The whole thing would be a lesser problem anyway if the filling of old air conditioning systems with an adapted propane / isobutane mixture would be legal.
    But real environmentally friendly solutions don't really seem to be wanted. That's why new car customers are mostly sold a refrigerant that generates hydrofluoric acid in the event of a fire ...

  • If we are talking about air conditioning / ventilation, another question. What about the ventilation ducts in a 20 year old car? A lot has accumulated, or nothing thanks to the filter? Maybe a stupid question, but that was just in my head when I was reading.

  • So for a large air conditioning service, all parts were removed and cleaned for me. The car also had to stay with the dealer for two days. I don't know if the standard is, but after that the air and cooling were perfect again.

  • Thanks for the hint. I will tell the Saab confidant 🙂


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