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Why don't people protect their air conditioning condensers from stone damage?

After reading your column regarding CB's complaint about damage to a Yaris a/c condenser, I feel I should write to tell you that both my Saab 9-3s suffered similar damage within weeks of each other during the dealer's warranty period. Needless to say, the local dealer took the view of hard luck (despite buying two 9-3s from him when his Saab stock was hard to shift), but we can fix it for around £700, but there would be a delay due to Saab parts problems. The part alone was quoted at £450. I contacted my local parts factor, Allparts in High Wycombe, who had condensers in stock at £150 and the same make as fitted by Saab. My local garage fitted the part inclusive of a re-gas for £100. Whilst the front bumper panel was off the cars, they fitted strong nylon mesh that I found in a garden centre, behind the bumper aperture held on simply with plastic tie wraps. No further trouble, all for £250 per car.

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Good, sensible stuff. Many thanks. Others have adapted domestic fan shields and gutter leaf shields to protect their a/c condensers. It looks like these condensers are one of those components that manufacturers deliberately make vulnerable in order to create an income stream from supplying and fitting the replacement parts.
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