I took my car to the mechanic yesterday because the air
conditioner didn’t seem to be doing anything. Not that we’ve
needed it for cooling this Spring in this part of the world, but it wasn’t defogging the
windshield, which we have needed.
He checked it and found the fluid was low, which was probably
from a leak, but there was no way to tell what was leaking, except
by filling it up and seeing where it came out.
In this case, he only had to start putting more in, and it was
clear what line was spewing expensive ($150/tank) fluid.
But if it had been a slow leak, I would have had to come back a
week or even a month later. And I wouldn’t have come back until
quite a lot of environmentally destructive stuff had leaked out on
So what my mechanic has started doing about this is putting in
fluid with a flourescent dye in it, so that he can see as soon as it leaks where the leak is.
This seems like a very good idea, and I would encourage
manufacturers to put the flourescent dye in in the first place, so
that a leaky air conditioner can be caught and fixed in routine
In general, manufacturers who aren’t also maintainers should
look for tricks like this that make maintenance easier, cheaper,