Pro Tips To Recharge Car Ac
Over the years, The Drives editors have worked on dozens of vehicles and logged hundreds of hours wrenching under fluorescent garage lights. During our experiences, weve picked up a few tricks and noted the important things. Heres what we learned in our times recharging car AC.
- Do not overcharge the system with too much refrigerant. This could damage the systems internal components.
- If a system gets cold after recharging but reverts to pumping out warm air, there might be a leak in the system. An easy way to detect that is by using a refrigerant leak detector.
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Recharging Car Air Conditioning
Posted 6 years ago on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 by James S.
When I first got my car, I knew the AC didnt work. A mechanic tried to evacuate and refill the system and discovered that pressure on both sides was equal. This meant either the expansion valve or compressor wasnt working, and both parts are fairly expensive for him to fix. Rather than spend the estimated thousand or two dollars having him do it, I ended up replacing the expansion valve and getting a used known-good compressor , and recharging the system myself. I saved a significant amount of money, and I now have the tools to fix it in the future.
How To Add Freon To A Car In 5 Easy Steps
Freon acts as a refrigerant in older car air conditioning units. It has become much less common as scientists discovered the harmful environmental impacts that it was having. That being said, there are still certain air conditioning units that will use freon as a refrigerant.
Freon can be difficult to get hold of in modern times, and many people are unaware of how to replenish freon levels within their air conditioning units.
If you do not replenish the levels of refrigerant in your vehicle, the air conditioning unit will cease to function. In the winter months, this is not much of an issue, but when it begins to get hot you will kick yourself if it is not sorted.
Thankfully, replacing the freon levels in a cars air conditioning unit is remarkably simple once you know the method to follow. We have detailed this below and answered a few frequently asked questions to help you on your mechanic journey.
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Enjoy Your Recharged Ac And Keep Cool
As you can see, with a few easy to purchase tools and a little bit of time, you can solve the common issue of not having enough freon in the AC system of your car all by yourself. Although there can be a variety of issues going on with your AC system, this is by far the most common issue and easiest fix. Keep cool and enjoy your recharged AC.
Reason #: Stop Leak Can Cause Damage
The delicate components of your car’s A/C compressor and other aspects of the system can sustain damage from the stop leak included in most DIY A/C recharge kits.
In order to plug up small leaks in the system that may have leaked refrigerant, a stop leak compound is included in these kits. It’s designed to fill small leaks so that your car’s AC system won’t leak any more refrigerant. But it often has unintended consequences! These compounds generally won’t fix major leaks, while excess stop leak can gum up the works of your AC system. Evacuating stop leak from the system can be a major hassle, and some auto shops may even refuse to work on a car that’s had stop leak put into the system!
A little bit of refrigerant will leak out of an A/C system that’s working properly. If there’s a major leak, it should be professionally repaired with the right parts. A DIY kit is only a temporary fix that’s likely to make matters even worse over time.
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Ac Clutch Not Engaging
If you have set your air conditioning unit to the coldest setting, you should hear a clicking noise as the clutch engages. This is due to a signal that is sent from the air conditioning pressure switch.
When the pressure level inside the air conditioning system drops to a level which is too low, the switch will not work and the clutch will not engage. This means that the air conditioning system cannot circulate any cool air and it will not function.
Connect The Gauges To The System
After repairs have been made, locate the low side service port on the return hose to the compressor and then connect your gauges to the port by lifting up the connector ring and pushing downward. Then turn the valve screw inward this will open the service valve below.
Repeat this process for both high and low side ports. The high and low side fittings will only work on their respective ports due to size constraints to avoid confusion. Once secured tighten the valve which activates the internal plunger that opens the service port valve to the refrigerant lines.
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When Should You Recharge Your Ac
The first signs of an AC compressor not functioning properly will be air flow that is warmer than usual when electing the coolest of settings. Air conditioning systems can lose refrigerant in very small doses over time, but rapid leaks are a cause for concern.
Its important to note, that while simply grabbing a can of refrigerant and charging your system will certainly get your AC working again, its vital that you pay attention to the proper pressure of the system and dont over-charge. Some AC systems, especially newer R-1234yf systems do not take a large amount of refrigerant some as little as 6oz and over-charging the system can lead to catastrophic failure.
If you have successfully charged the system yet weeks later, you feel warm air again, you probably have a leak. Air conditioning systems have several connections in which these leaks can occur, so regular maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs in the future while maintaining optimal cooling throughout the life of your vehicle.
It is expected that at 100,000 miles, your air conditioning system will require servicing. At the first sign of your air conditioning performance not up to par, you should be aware that an AC recharge is probably warranted with an accompanying AC recharge cost.
How To Put Oil In An Ac Compressor
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If you recharged your vehicle’s air conditioning system with freon and it still isnt working, or if you have a newly installed AC compressor, you may need to put oil in it. Take your vehicle to a certified mechanic if you don’t have a reclaimer machine, which you need to capture the freon from the AC system. If you have some mechanical knowledge and a reclaimer machine, capture the freon before you remove the AC compressor to release pressure and prevent the refrigerant from escaping into the atmosphere, which is both harmful to the environment and illegal in many places. You can then remove the compressor, drain the oil, refill the compressor, and mount it back onto your vehicle so you can recharge the freon using the reclaimer machine.
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How Much Does An Ac Recharge Cost
- Magnus Sellén
The average AC recharge cost is between $150 and $300
- The average price for the recharge is $50 to $150
- The average price for the leak test is $100 to $150
- You should always do a leak test with the right equipment before refilling an AC system.
- Only let an AC certified workshop with the right equipment do any work to your AC system.
- Always replace leaking parts before an AC recharge. This can increase the cost a lot, depending on the failed part.
How To Check The Freon Level In Your Car And Recharge Your A/c
- Time to read: 8 min.
Is your AC not working?
Many times, when your AC stops working, all it takes is recharging your AC by adding freon to your car. Although there are times when more serious issues are occurring that will require a deeper look into the cause and problem with your cars AC unit, more times than not your problem can be solved with the simple addition of freon.
To get you and your car cool again, heres how to check the freon level in your car and steps to recharging your AC by adding more freon.
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How Much Does Freon Cost
Freondoesnt cost a lot, and youll be surprised at how low the cost will be topurchase freon/refrigerant and do it all yourself. There are just a couple moretools you will need to get the job done, but take a look at the list of toolsbelow and check out the combo refrigerant and recharger hose & gauge kit asit makes this process simple for anyone.
We All Know How Hot The Texan Heat Can Be
The Texan heat is tough on air conditioning systems, and during the summer months, the last thing you want is to head out for a long drive only to realize your vehicle’s air conditioning is not working. The chemical used to provide cool air is called Freon. Without it, there’s no way to circulate cold air throughout your vehicle cabin.
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What Tools Are Needed
Protective mechanic gloves Make sure you wear protective gloves while you work with any chemicals such as freon like R-134A refrigerant.
Protective safety glasses Protective eyewear is a must have, and these safety glasses are a prime pick because of the foam gasket that gives extra protection to your eyes.
Best Combo R-134A Refrigerant + Recharger Hose & Gauge Kit This complete combo kit will allow you to recharge your AC with ease, and the recharger hose and gauge can be reused on any can of R-134A refrigerant for many future uses.
For future use, additional R-134A refrigerant The combo kit above includes a 20 ounce can of R-134A refrigerant, but if you want to be able to recharge your cars AC in the future , you can hook up these 12oz cans of R-134A to the same hose & gauge combo from the kit above.
All the links above will take you to Amazon where you can check out these products for yourself!
Air Conditioning Recharge Near Gilbert Arizona
If you notice your car blowing warm air from the vents even once its been running, we at Highline Car Care want to help. We live in Gilbert and spend a lot of time in vehicles, so car air conditioners are near and dear to our hearts. Weve built our name by treating every car like its our own, and were ready to do the same with yours. Contact us today, then keep your cool and let us repair your vehicle.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/daniiD
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Loss Of Cooling Ability
If you notice your air conditioning system functioning at a lesser quality than you are accustomed to, this could be a sign that the system needs to be recharged.
The air conditioning unit works by circulating pressurized refrigerant, such as freon. When the levels of refrigerant are too reduced, the air conditioning system will not function correctly. This may present as the air not blowing out at all, or the system blowing out warm air.
How Do I Know If My Car Ac Needs Recharging
In order to know when your car AC needs to be recharge, these are three most significant signs:
Air Conditioner Clutch wont Engage
Usually when the air conditioner reaches its maximum capacity, the clutch engaging starts to click and drivers can hear it very well. The reason for this is that the clutch engages with the AC pressure switchs signal in order to read the level of system pressure. For this purpose, when AC reaches low level, the pressure switch cannot activate, leading to no clutch engaging. This problem stops the system from circulating.
Cooling capability Decreases
One of the most famous symptoms that tells you the automobiles needs recharging is that the overall cooling capability dramatically drops. Why is this a clear signal? Since the system of air conditioning works by circulating a pressurized refrigerant, if the air is not blowing cold air at all, you need to charge your AC fast.
Signs of Refrigerant Leaks
Last but not least, there will be signs of refrigerant leakage. There will be greasy film on many AC fittings or components underneath the automobiles. If there is any, this might be a sign that you need to recharge your AC.
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Attach The Charging Hose
Attach the charging hose to the low-side service port and ensure that you have a secure connection. If the hose does not attach easily you may be using the wrong port. Attach both connections if using a set of gauges.
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FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.
Your A/c Is Blowing Warm Air
One of the most obvious symptoms of low Freon levels is if your air conditioner is blowing warm or room temperature air. As we discussed, the air conditioning system in your vehicle operates by circulating this pressurized refrigerant. When the amount drops too low, it eventually affects performance.
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Beat The Heat Recharging Car Air Conditioner With A Diy Kit
Summertime in San Diego means trips to the beach, BBQs, and picnics. It can also mean more time stuck in traffic while you and everyone else heads to the shorelines for swimming, surfing or just soaking up some sun.
As temperatures rise to the upper 80s, 90s and could even hit triple digits if you head inland, having a cold-air blowing air conditioner in your vehicle is a must. Unfortunately, many drivers dont realize they need auto A/C repair until theyre sitting in traffic on a hot day with even hotter air blowing at them from the vents. This is a clear sign you need AC repair in San Diego right away.
How To Recharge Your Car Air Conditioning
When your cars air conditioning begins to lose power and doesnt blow cool air, it may be time for an AC recharge. Recharging your AC means adding more refrigerant to your AC system to allow the air to start blowing cold again.
Important to know: recharging your AC is a temporary fix to a likely bigger problem. If your system is indeed missing refrigerant, your air conditioning system has a leak and needs to be inspected and repaired with a certified mechanic. Refrigerant does not evaporate in an airtight system, so air must be leaking in.
- Note: Some older vehicles cannot have their AC unit recharged. These vehicles generally fall before the year 1995 and use an R12 refrigerant no longer made. The only option is AC replacement.
Though an ac recharge can be completed at home, it is still considered a more professional repair, as it contains work with hazardous liquid and is best left for a certified mechanic.
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Overtime These Pressurized Systems Begin To Leak
As with any mechanical system, time is an enemy. As leaks begin to develop in the air conditioning system, the refrigerant and/or the pressure levels of the system begins to drop. The performance of your car’s air conditioning system will consequently weaken until it fails altogether. Leaks not only affect your vehicle’s A/C, but it also would reduce your gas mileage by forcing your air conditioner to work harder!
Vehicle A/C Freon Recharge
A Mechanics Tips About An Ac Recharge
- Always leak test the AC system before a refill.
- Always vacuum test the AC system before you refill the AC. Condense, or water in the AC system may damage it quickly.
- Check the AC compressor clutch and the AC pressure sensors before you do any advanced work on your AC system. If the AC compressor clutch is not engaging, you might be able to remove some shims inside of it to make it functional for some more time.
- The best way to find AC problems is to connect the AC machine Empty the system, put vacuum for 20 minutes. Check for any leaks and then refill the system with leak detector fluid, oil, and refrigerant. Let it run for 20 minutes and check the function and look out for any leaks. If everything seems fine, you can give the car to the customer. If it is not fine, empty the system again and repair any leaks and continue the troubleshooting.
- Pressure tests are a better way to test for leaks than vacuum tests. Vacuum tests can seal the small leaks.
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