Is AC installed after-market at the dealer as good as factory installed AC?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1996

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am considering a new Honda Civic. I need air
conditioning, and I'm wondering if
factory-installed air works better than a/c
installed at the dealer. -- Kelly

RAY: Almost all cars are set up for factory air
conditioning these days. That means the ducts
and the wiring are put in there at the factory
when the seats and steering wheel go in.

TOM: If you decide later on that you want a/c,
you can simply order a kit from the manufacturer
which contains the compressor, the condenser and
everything else you need. And that stuff can be
installed later on. But it's a fairly
time-consuming job.

RAY: So if I could get it either way, I'd get
factory-installed, because there's a little less
chance of an error being made in installation --
or of anyone breaking anything else by accident.

TOM: But if there's a car on the lot that you're
in love with, and it doesn't have air, I'd have
no qualms about letting the dealer install the
kit. It's pretty hard to screw up with all the
factory prep. Put it this way, Kelly, even my
brother could do it. Now doesn't that put your
mind at ease?

* * *
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