What Good is a Warranty?

We’ve all had the experience when the brand new expensive gadget doesn’t work. What are you supposed to do? A lot of products are designed to work with something else. So if your new phone doesn’t work with your new car, is a problem with the phone, or with the car? The easiest and fastest way to find out is to talk to an expert. An expert is someone who knows all about your gadget and who knows all about how it’s used. An expert is someone who works from firsthand experience and not from a script.

Last week we got a support call from an owner of a late ’70s 450SL. When he bought the car the AC wasn’t working and he brought it to a shop. The shop spotted our ACCII controller which the previous owner had installed to replace the troublesome Servo. We worked with the shop and in short order all of the vacuum leaks were resolved but the system still didn’t work. Two quick tests determined that the controller itself was not working.

From photos of the product it was easy to see that the version of our product on the customer’s car went out of production in 2008. That unit was installed at least 8 years ago. The warranty on all of our products is one year. A lot has changed in 8 years, and there have been several useful design improvements and upgrades. We have a policy that if an older product has failed then you can send it to us and for an affordable flat rate fee we’ll repair any problems and upgrade it to the latest version. For the ACCII controller that fee is $120, which also renews the warranty.

ACCII controller

The customer elected to buy the repair/upgrade and sent us his more than 8 year old controller. The photo shows what we found. That burned lump in the center is what was left of one of the blower speed control relays. This was a very interesting and catastrophic failure. The fuse for the AC/Heat blower is supposed to be 16A. When the blower gets old and the brushes and bushings wear out the current goes up. With age and corrosion the fuse contacts get dirty, and sometimes the fuse gets replaced with a higher current rating. We use a relay which is rated for 25A continuous. If just the right conditions occur with higher current but not too high then the relay will slowly overheat and eventually that overheating will not be slow.  Of several thousand units made this was the only one that failed in this way but this is something we wanted to see.

That relay failure was unrepairable. So we just gave the customer a new controller. His AC is now working great and we have a valuable piece of information which will make the next version immune to this problem. That’s why we have a new version every couple of years. Because we treasure the customer feedback which makes our product better. And that’s why you can call or email us anytime to get support, even if your warranty has expired long ago. You need information, just like we do, to solve problems and get things working. We call that exchange “Customer Support”. Without that support a warranty is meaningless.

If you have a problem or a question just let us know. Your inquiry will be handled by an expert.  We can usually respond faster to questions on Facebook or email (support@unwiredtools.com), or please feel free to call us at 928-773-0469 #802.

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