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Old 8th February 2015, 10:57   #1
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Default Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Looks like there is a new scam by all dealerships across the country. They try to force you to go for AC disinfectant.

The price can range from 700 bucks to 1200 bucks depending on the car.

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Initially when I gave my Altis they told me it is AC cleaning. I though at 55K kms and 6 years this meant cleaning the condenser coil and the AC vents. Turns out that it's a bottle that they just spray in the AC vents. I was charged 900 bucks for this. The smell from the AC vent changed for a few weeks and then it was back to normal. Still getting the stale smell now after less than a month.

Then a colleague of mine gave his 2 year old Ertiga and was charged Rs.700 for AC disinfectant. He was told it would improve cooling!!!

Recently I read iliketurtles ownership review for his Jetta in Mumbai and they charged Rs.1,100!! for AC disinfectant:
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Link (Back in Black! A VW Jetta Highline DSG comes home)


Seeing all 3 it's pretty clear that this a new way to get money during service visit and is now being followed across the country.

The AC disinfectant is nothing but this spray bottle:
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You can get it from 3M stores or go to a 3M store and have it done for lot lesser. The entire bottle that can be used multiple times is lesser than the dealership doing it once.


Alternatively, here's a much cheaper method to disinfect your AC ducts:
Turn the AC blower to max heat, and leave it on for 5-15 mins
The heat from the blower combats the fungus/mould formation, which is the source of the smell.
Ensure you leave your windows open whilst doing this
Do this once every few months to prevent any further mould build-up

So next time you drop your car off for service do not opt for this disinfectant scam!! It'll save you a cool grand off your service bill.


More discussion in this thread:
Link (Foul Smell from Blower / Fan / HVAC)

Related threads for DIY:
Link (Cleaning the Dusthouse - AC VENT)
Link (Car Air-Conditioner Cleaning to remove bacteria & fungi)

Last edited by Rehaan : 11th February 2015 at 11:23. Reason: Making a few tweaks
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Old 8th February 2015, 11:04   #2
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Default re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

I make it a point ALWAYS to switch the A/C off a couple of kms off before reaching my destination and allow the blower to run w/o AC at max speed for a few minutes before cutting the ignition (not on heater mode though)

Have not had any of the foul smell complaints folks keep talking about
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Old 8th February 2015, 13:23   #3
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Default re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Gave my car for regular service 2 weeks back. Was told to go for A/C cleaning. I had my doubts, so asked what exactly would be done as I was not interested in disinfectant. The SA said this is complete cleaning of A/C vents, ducts and condenser. So I decided to go ahead with it.

When I received the bill, it was for A/C disinfecting service.

Will advise everyone to avoid this, unless your cooling is ineffective and you double check that the condenser coil will be cleaned.
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Old 8th February 2015, 13:43   #4
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Default re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Got my Estilo serviced at a Maruti Service Centre in Powai, Mumbai. They charged me about 700 for this AC "Cleaning and Disinfecting". Utterly useless, the smell wears off within a week.
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Old 8th February 2015, 18:02   #5
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Thanks for the heads up! The Nissan dealership unsuccessfully tried to fleece me with this (along with 'engine coating' ).

Must say these service idiots keep coming up with new things to pass on to unsuspecting car owners, and increase the average billing amount (after all, they work on targets). Carefully choosing a term like 'disinfectant' makes it sound like something you really, absolutely need!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hothatchaway View Post
I make it a point ALWAYS to switch the A/C off a couple of kms off before reaching my destination and allow the blower to run w/o AC at max speed for a few minutes before cutting the ignition (not on heater mode though)
I think this is overkill. Will never be able to drive without an air-con during the day for even half a km, leave aside a 'couple of kms'. I've never practised this and have not faced any issues with any of my car air-cons either.

Related Threads:

Clutch Scam (SCAM Alert "Saar, your car needs a clutch overhaul")

Tax Scam (*SCAM* Alert : Dealerships overcharging RTO / Road Taxes)

Common Scams (ARTICLE: Common SCAMS Encountered on Indian Roads - A Compendium)
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Old 8th February 2015, 18:12   #6
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

I wonder why makers keep the air conditioning filters so deep and embedded inside the engine bay or under the front passenger footwell?? If the filters were as easily accessible as say the engine air filter we could have cleaned it ourselves without involving air conditioning mechanics..
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Old 8th February 2015, 18:35   #7
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Ac disinfection has been there for ages now. Interestingly even 3M outlet tried to sell it to me when I was getting the interiors of my Innova cleaned. The way they present it makes you really laugh since they almost suggest that without this you will get so many germs blown at you that you will be scared like hell.

The other stuff that both Toyota and majorly Nissan dealerships have tried on my car are engine coating, door and window greasing/lubrication. Have always politely declined there offer.
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Old 10th February 2015, 17:32   #8
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Maruti dealerships have routinely tried to sell this to me for my Ertiga. We regularly do long drives and the AC runs almost every minute the car engine is on - especially in the summer months.

The foul smell does come for a minute or two - but here is the old traditional and inexpensive method that I have used sucessfully over the last 2 decades of driving is putting odonil below a seat. I have also used the sandalwood sachets. I also run the heater for 2-3 minutes when I am not seated in every 15-20 days.

Old methods but have worked well for me.

Cheers
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Old 10th February 2015, 17:58   #9
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

I've never got my nearly 14-year old WagonR's AC cleaned so far, nor the gas changed. Still works like a charm.

For the past few months, I've been following the 'heater on full blast' method which I learnt from this forum a year back. With all the bucks saved, I feel like going for a long drive now.
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Old 10th February 2015, 18:00   #10
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

What about the A/C disinfectant treatment done by 3M Car care?

Do they do a proper cleaning OR this is also scam?
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Old 10th February 2015, 18:09   #11
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

In Honda they claim AC vent cleaning is expensive because of the labor charges, as it requires opening up the dashboard to access the AC duct. They claim that they will remove any leaves or other external objects that may have collected.

BTW Honda has a new scam called Rat Mesh fitment for something like 6,000. The SA will review your car and claim it has recently been attacked by rats and it is prudent that you opt for this. The rat mesh costs only Rs 300, the rest of it is labor charge.

Last edited by bharatbs : 10th February 2015 at 18:16.
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Old 10th February 2015, 18:34   #12
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Everyone love cars and everyone love their cars. Taking advantage of this 'weakness has become a lot easier for unscrupulous elements to make money.
It is, therefore, for us to be vigilant to keep such cheats at bay.

Last edited by rajeev k : 10th February 2015 at 18:36.
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Old 10th February 2015, 18:47   #13
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Quote:
Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
I've never got my nearly 14-year old WagonR's AC cleaned so far, nor the gas changed. Still works like a charm.
Incidentally I too share the same experience. Almost 9 years and 220K and never got the AC cleaned (except blowing pressurized air behind the glove box routinely) and neither have I got the AC Gas topped up as the gauge hinted things were normal.And yes, there has been zero issues with the AC.

All that I want to do now is replace the condensor unit as it has a lot of bent fins. Thanks to some very usual highway drives at night and the flies.

"AC Blower Cleaning" is now a very common practice at all Maruti ASCs. Something that one can DIY or ask the washing center guy to do! ASC Charges almost 350-500 bucks for this.
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Old 10th February 2015, 19:16   #14
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Quote:
Originally Posted by finneyp View Post
What about the A/C disinfectant treatment done by 3M Car care?

Do they do a proper cleaning OR this is also scam?
At 3M centre it is you who can opt for it. It's not usually forced upon you as being compulsory. I'm not sure how much they charge and what they exactly do.

There's no dashboard opening and all. You need to clean the aircon filter, spray all AC vents with the foam and also spray the evaporator coil with and have it cleaned. That is called AC cleaning/disinfection.

What the service guys will do is spray small quantity in AC vents and charge you the same rate as one bottle plus labour for 1.5 hours.
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Old 10th February 2015, 20:21   #15
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Default Re: Scam alert : A/C Disinfectant

Though My Fortuner has only run around 10k kms & not even a year old - it is mentioned in the Owners manual to switch off the AC for a few minutes before you shut off the engine & run only the blower at 2/3rd of the maximum setting . I have been religiously following this.
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