Kia Carnival AC stops working immediately after service: Mystery solved

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I tried the lowest possible temperature and highest fan speed to double check if the AC was working, the result was absolutely no cooling.

BHPian vsrikkanth recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

KIA Carnival AC stops working immediately after 40,000 km service @JSP Kia, Hosur Road:

I am writing this to document the ordeal I am going through after the routine 40,000km service at JSP KIA-Hosur Road, Bangalore.

The car was serviced on 16-07-2022. During the overhaul, one of the service advisors (head of service) informed me that a service campaign for the replacement of 2 hoses for the engine coolant is due and mandatory according to Kia’s instructions. When I asked why the flex hoses needed to be replaced, I was informed that stock flex hoses are prone to overheating which can lead to coolant leaking into the hoses. So I reluctantly agreed as I was worried that some components in the engine compartment would be disturbed during the process. The service was completed and the car was handed over at 4:30 p.m. Given the weather in Bangalore and intermittent rain, I did not turn on the air conditioning. I barely used the car for the days after the service and these short trips were also done without turning on the air conditioning.

Fast forward to Saturday, we started early morning at 3.30am in Hyderabad and around 8am when I thought I would need the air conditioning I noticed the fan was running but there was no cooling. I tried the lowest possible temperature and highest fan speed to double check if the AC was working, the result was absolutely no cooling. Shocked by this, I called the service advisor Raja at JSP KIA – Hosur Road, Bangalore to check if he noticed any problem with the AC. He confirmed that the air conditioner was working fine and denied any possibility of wrongdoing or human error on the part of service center technicians. I arrived in Hyderabad without AC and took the car for inspection at Kia Aautomotive in Gachbowli, Hyderabad.

Upon inspection, a gentleman (possibly the department head) quickly concluded that damage to my front bumper may have caused the condenser to rub against the copper tubing. I told him that the damage to the front bumper happened over 2 years ago and it’s not logical/believable that the condenser that suffered the impact before 2 years didn’t defaulted for more than 24 months. As proof of my claim I told him he is free to check the service records at any service centers where my Kia Carvival has been repaired as they will have photos/damage records when checking in and repairing. departure of the vehicle. Then Mr. Naresh accepted the possibility of technicians accidentally damaging the condenser while replacing the pipes.

After this conversation, I shared photos of the condenser with the service advisor at JSP Kia Bangalore. He too accepted the possibility of human error, but he insisted on a physical inspection of the car once back in Bangalore. Therefore, I was forced to drive at night with my wife and 2 children without air conditioning from Hyderabad to Bangalore. I took the car in for inspection today and he denied even the slightest chance that the condenser could have been damaged due to technician failures. According to him, this is due to the impact that occurred before 2 years and he believes that the perfectly fine air conditioning that deteriorated immediately after the service is purely a coincidence for which JSP Kia will not take any responsibility. I attach the photo of the condenser as well as the front bumper for reference of the distinguished members of the BHP team. It would be an implication for me to say that the logic presented by the service advisor is simply ridiculous! Now I’m asking for opinions/thoughts/advice from the BHP team members on the best way forward. I am told that replacing the condenser will cost me at least 25,000/- not including gas filling.

Some of the unanswered questions in my mind:

  • If the condenser was impacted at the same time as the front bumper 2 years ago, would it really take that long for the air conditioning to fail?
  • If the condenser was indeed affected before 2 years, how come none of the service centers in Hyderabad/Bangalore/Chennai catch this problem?
  • 3. If JSP KIA, Bangalore is trying to hide technician failures behind long existing bumper damage, how can I escalate this?
  • Is aluminum welding reliable if KIA makes me dry with this problem?

Update:

It was a wrong diagnosis. Apparently my right wheel landed in the crater and the damage was under the area around the skid plate. This kind of twisting of the condenser clamp and the copper tubing rubbed against the condenser causing damage and leaks. Another HSO was able to diagnose this and explain the reason to my satisfaction. They even showed the impact zone. The former HSO who performed the routine service never checked the air conditioning and after filing a complaint he probably lied that the air conditioning worked fine when the vehicle was in his care.

It happened before the routine service due to Bangalore’s infamous roads. It was a blind turn and I didn’t see the deep crater coming. Any car except Thar would have suffered damage. The former HSO should have caught him if he had done his checks correctly. Kia requires a 42 point check which also includes air conditioning but I’m sure they won’t check unless the customer reports a problem. But it was a coincidence that the air conditioning broke immediately after the service. ASS’s only flaw is not running all the checks and lying that the air conditioner was working properly when delivered. Considering the climate in Bangalore, you will never immediately notice the air conditioning problems.

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