ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Recent record-setting heat is no joke as it strains bodies and budgets. Air Conditioning (AC) is practically a necessity for Texans. Especially when inside a hot vehicle, and as temperatures go up, so are the number of AC repairs mechanics are performing. 

“That very first week, when it hit 100 [degrees] a month-and-a-half ago, everyone wanted their AC fixed,” said Assistant Manager at My Mechanic of Abilene, Brody Clark. 

Since then, the auto service’s labor has nearly doubled just within the last month.  

“We’re receiving probably an 80% increase in phone calls,” Clark explained. “We’re booked up for about two weeks, week-and-a-half.”

Unfortunately, when it gets hot outside, AC compressors put extra tension on the AC board, causing your vehicle to work overtime and struggle just to keep up. 

“They’ve made it through the Winter without their AC because it was feeling pretty good,” said Clark. “You can ride with your windows down, but now it’s 120 degrees in your car it’s unbearable.”

Auto Technician, Lupe Cardona, told KTAB/KRBC there are a few things drivers should keep in mind as they try to stay cool: Make sure your AC is turned on inside your vehicle, and having your windows down can cool it even quicker. 

“Roll the windows down, crank it up to about number two speed, drive it down the road let that heat get out,” Cardona advised. “Then you can roll the windows back and turn the AC up, and your AC will work a whole lot better.”

Cardona said that advice will help limit unnecessary labor, and an expensive trip to the auto shop when it may not be needed.

“A lot of people panic when you give them a price of how much it’s going to cost them, but if they want AC, they gotta pay for it,” said Cardona. 

Clark said, as with prices of everything else going up, labor on auto mechanics is also on that upwards trend.

“We’ve got plenty of work to do out here. These guys are sweating every day, trying to make sure our customers can get cool and back out there on the road driving comfortably,” said Clark. 

The cost of freon – which is used as a refrigerant in AC units – now averages close to $300. Just a year ago, it was $99 for 30 pounds.