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Recharging Your Car’s Air Conditioning

By: StaffPublished September 28, 2021

The good news is that it is possible to recharge your car’s air conditioning system. The refrigerant is slowly used up in an air conditioner system, even a sealed one. A kit to replace/recharge your refrigerant is available at most car parts stores, and if you follow the directions in the kit, you should have no problem recharging your car’s air conditioner.

Below are the abbreviated steps for making this process work, so stay cool and learn how to recharge like a professional!

  • Determine if any refrigerant remains in the system – you’ll need safety goggles and a charging hose for this process. It’s important to find out if all the refrigerant is gone since that probably means there’s a leak that will need to be plugged somewhere in the lines or compressor. Look for refrigerant oil leaks on hoses, tubing, and fittings. Use the soap-bubble-solution test over all the air conditioner system to look for the leak, which will appear as a bubbling broth wherever the hole is located.
  • Check the condenser coils for debris and make sure the compressor is working – you may need to jump the pressure switch if the compressor has a low charge in order to see if it is working.
  • Using a refrigerant tapping valve, connect the can of refrigerant you will use to refill the system to the charging hose. Release enough refrigerant into the hose to fill it completely, then loosen the valve so that all air bleeds out of the hose and is only filled with refrigerant. Retighten the valve for an air-tight seal.
  • Find the low pressure charging port on the refrigerant line, and connect the charging hose to this port with a tight seal.
  • Start the engine, turn the AC to high cool, high fan; open the valve on the charging hose until you hear the refrigerant passing through the hose.
  • Let the can empty itself into the air conditioning system – this can take from three to five minutes depending on the outside temperature.
  • Close the valve, then disconnect the hose from the line once the can is emptied. You’ll know the can is emptied because the coldness on the can will stop or you’ll simply hear the refrigerant cease to exit the can.
  • Test your newly recharged air conditioner system – the temperature should be cold and frosty. If not, another can of refrigerant may be needed, but be careful not overcharge. The use of a manifold gauge to monitor both high and low pressures is recommended here. Auto stores can provide guidance about which gauge will be appropriate for your particular needs.

Also, there are some great videos on Youtube on Recharging Your Car’s Air Conditioning.

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