By Steve Schaeber, MACS Manager of Service Training
When we teach A/C classes there are a few basic phrases we use on a regular basis to cover ourselves that act like a get out of jail free card. Phrases like, “Verify the system contains the proper charge amount,” or “Make sure that the engine is running and the compressor is actually operating,” are necessary because sometimes even these basic checks can be overlooked, prolonging a proper diagnosis.
But we also need to stress the importance of checking for recalls and TSBs prior to when work is scheduled to begin on any vehicle. Now more than ever, OEMs are issuing TSBs for all sorts of concerns ranging from driveability and A/C to infotainment and sometimes even squeaks and rattles! Many times these issues are caught by the dealers either before the vehicles are sold or delivered or at some point during the factory warranty period when they may be in for service. But that’s not always the case, and since it doesn’t take that long to at least check your electronic service information system, we think it’s worth the time you’ll spend.
Back in November GM issued TSB # 15-NA-065: Poor A/C Performance and/or Blows Warm on Decel, which applies to certain 2014-15 Impala and Malibu models with the 2.5 liter Ecotec 4 cylinder engine. The problem is described as intermittent and most noticeable when A/C vent temperatures rise by as much as 30°F while decelerating to a stop. Once the driver gets going again, the vent temperatures cool back down as expected; but that sharp rise in temperature in a relatively short period of time is surely going to be noticed. Some technicians may first think there’s an internal problem with the compressor, or maybe an airflow issue during decel. But GM engineers have determined that updated software is needed to correct this problem, which is something that most aftermarket technicians won’t be able to diagnose in their shops.
Here’s another example that takes me back 15 years or so, to a 1991 Dodge Caravan that I purchased used from the brother of a guy I worked with at the time. This minivan had sat alongside his parents’ house for a few years because the brakes went out (pedal to the floor) and his shop said it would cost over $1,500 to fix the leaking ABS pump. He didn’t want to sink that much money into a 10 year old van with 120,000 miles on it. So the first thing I did was call Chrysler’s customer service line and ask them to check the VIN for recalls. Sure enough, there were three open recalls on that van: one for the lift gate latch, one for a seat belt anchor, and one for the ABS high pressure pump. That 5 minute phone call not only saved me the cost of the parts, but also more than 4 hours of labor involved in doing the job.
Sure, we know that most of the time when checking for TSBs you’re not likely to find any that specifically address the concern you’re working on at the moment; that’s just the way things go. But for those times when you get lucky and find that perfect TSB, it can really save the day.
Note: Have you ever checked for TSBs and found that perfect one? How about a recall that exactly matched your customer’s concern? Why not share your story with MACS! Send an e-mail to email@example.com or visit our website http://www.macsw.org for more information.