One of the great advantages of living in Mexico is automotive repair fees. So where does our car decide to breakdown? Right here in Las Vegas! Grrrr.

And you talk about gambling and odds here in Vegas, there is no greater gamble than the cost of said car repairs.

It is hard to understand HOW there could be such a disparity in estimates.

There are some repairs that one might wait to have done south of the border, but air conditioning in July in Las Vegas is not one of them.

Even the shadiest of automotive repair places seems like a little slice of heaven when they promise cool air. It is so hot that the liquid in your eye sockets dry out. Spit will evaporate before it hits the ground – I do not exaggerate.

I am not stupid, even a little mechanical actually. I know what an a/c compressor looks like and I understand the complexities of removing it and replacing it etc. Before leaving the house I researched our problem using Google – a real leg up on the robber/mechanics I can tell you. I even heard on YouTube the exact noise our 2008 Jetta is emanating beyond the norm, “click, click, click at the pace of the revolutions of the engine – more rpms, more clicks. Turn off the air – no more clicks. Seems simple enough.

We all know anything to do with air condition is expensive. But I know for a fact I can get a new compressor and all the accessory parts for two-hundred and fifty bucks. So when I hear an estimate of twenty-two hundred dollars and change I was taken aback – way back.

Truthfully we are not sure the car is worth that.

Now we have been pretty lucky up to now with this car. We just put its first replacement battery in a couple days before leaving Mexico. Never having had a problem, one starts amortizing the estimate over the years we have owned the precious little gem. Twenty-two hundred divided by seven years – hmmm roughly $26 per month for a/c up to now.

However one tries to rationalize this we have to get air – cannot drive 2600 miles back home without air – not in the middle of summer. So we consider buying parts and tackling the job. I do not have the equipment to capture cooling gas – a problem.

I would have to borrow my very finicky brother-in-laws tools (he knows when something has been disturbed in his garage) – and it is BIG and separate from the house. He had it built to work on his many collectible vehicles – Not quite Jay Leno’s garage – but you get the idea. Oil leaks not welcome; or brother-in-laws with foreign cars (retired U.S. Air Force he is, and very pro American).

So let’s put that on the back burner and get a few more quotes. To make this painful essay as short as possible, we eventually settled on a rebuilding manufacturer who would install a brand new a/c system for just under a grand. A lot of seeds but substantially less than the fancy uptown shop operated by the nicest people with the biggest smiles and cleanest showroom. One has to wonder how estimates can be substantially more than double from another. Obviously that gleaming establishment at the top of the estimate heap requires some grandiose funding.

Later today we should be back to basking in cool air whilst the out of doors is warm enough to bake bread. Frying eggs on the sidewalk – child’s play. As it is our little chili pepper Mexican Jetta’s AC system was the little train that just could barely make us comfortable when it is 111 F. Looking forward to a cool July Fourth weekend – and the same for you. Stay Tuned!