Let’s put it this way, there was a time when an air-conditioning unit in a car sold here was a luxury add-on accessory (yes, I have been around that long to remember this) and available only as a standard item in more expensive cars. Over the years and perhaps thanks in part to global-warming, and the rapid expansion of colossal buildings around the Klang Valley, which act as giant heaters absorbing heat during the day and releasing that heat at night, driving around without air-conditioning these days can be construed as cruel and unusual punishment, even at night.
Every single car that’s sold in Malaysia, from a Perodua Viva to a Porsche Cayenne, comes stock-standard with an air conditioning system. The only cars you can still buy these days that have no a/c are classics, and even then, owners usually take it upon themselves to have one discreetly retro-fitted, despite the car never having one even when it was new. Anyone remember the brand ‘Diesel-Kiki’? See? Told you I’ve been around a while.
Anyone who’s ever had their car’s a/c breakdown in the middle of the day while stuck in a jam will be able to attest that it’s not the most pleasant experience in the world, and that’s putting it mildly. Try this, the next time you’re stuck in a jam in the middle of town at high-noon, turn-off your car’s a/c and start counting. My guess is you’ll be diving for that climate-control switch before you reach 50sec. So knowing what hell awaits should your car’s a/c malfunction, don’t you think it’s time you had it checked just to be sure it’s running optimally?
I first met Kelvin (above) about a decade ago, when his shop Alpha Car Cooler was located very strategically near my house. I even recall why I went to see him, at the recommendation of a friend. The a/c in my car at the time had a propensity for not working at the most inconvenient times (per the scenario given earlier) and a few shops had tried to suss out the problem, which included a change of compressor, and numerous ‘aircon gas’ refills.
I relayed what the issue was to ‘Kel’ (I have a habit of shortening people’s names), he asked a few more questions and then suddenly blurted “I know what the problem is!” That’s Kelvin for you; he’s been in the car a/c line for so long that he can identify problems with the system simply by listening to feedback, as well as the ‘sounds’ that an a/c system makes when it’s on. I actually thought he was kidding, but he wasn’t. It turned out to be a combination of two issues; a leaky metal hose and a loose wire. That’s it. Apparently I didn’t even need to change the compressor as I’d done earlier.
Over the years, Kelvin has been the only car a/c guy that I’ve sent my cars to, and he’s never let me down. Just the other day it sounded like my TX3’s engine was going to die every time the compressor kicked in, and I can pretty much guarantee you that any other shop would have recommended I replace the compressor – because I actually said that there might be an issue with the compressor – but not Kelvin. He just listened, poked around a bit and sussed out that a wire governing the cars’ idle speed sensor which compensates for the additional ‘load’ when the compressor kicks in was not making contact properly, and easy fix which cost me RM15, as opposed to approximately RM400 for a new compressor.
That’s what I admire most about the work that’s done here at Alpha; Kelvin not only identifies the problem, he also goes a few steps further to find out what’s causing the problem in the first place, and then takes the appropriate measures to ensure that it won’t happen again. I’m not the only one who appreciates his work, as I’ve seen all manner of cars from real classics to modern day classics, and even brand spanking new cars visit his shop for a/c work.
I recently acquired a classic Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2.0, and when the seller told me there was ‘an issue with the aircon system’, I just smiled because at the back of my mind, I knew exactly where the car would be headed for that part of the fix. Alpha Car Cooler also recently expanded its services to include regular car maintenance work as well, which means you can get your engine serviced and your a/c fixed in one stop.
If you’d like to have your car’s a/c looked at, fixed or rebuilt from scratch for your classic or modern day car, Alpha Car Cooler is located at 19, Jalan SS 25/41, Mayang Industrial Park, 47301 P.J. Or you can reach Kelvin at 019-334 3916.