Recharging Your Car’s A/C

Sure, fall is just around the corner, but we’ll still be using our air conditioning for at least a few more weeks. If you’ve noticed slightly less oomph from your car’s AC, it may mean it’s time to recharge the AC. This is something you could do on your own. You’ll need an AC recharging kit and these instructions.

Before starting, make sure you’re are wearing safety glasses whenever you work under your car’s hood. Also, the refrigerant you’ll be using will freeze extremely quickly, so be careful to not get any on your skin – it will be painful.

Step 1. Start your car and turn the AC on to the max.

Step 2. Is your AC compressor engaging? You’re looking for the device that has a clutch on the end of it that should be spinning along with the accessory belt while your AC is running. This is what changes the refrigerant from liquid to gas.

If your compressor IS engaging, it’s likely your system does need additional refrigerant, so it’s time to move on to the next step.

If your compressor IS NOT engaging, it means your system is extremely low of refrigerant, or there may be a problem with the electrical system or the compressor itself. Move on to the next step to decide what the cause is, but it is important to note if this is the case.

Step 3. Time to test the pressure. Turn your car OFF and find the low side pressure port. This will typically be located on the passenger side in your engine bay and will have a black or gray cap on it, with the letter L on top. If you’re not sure if you’ve found the high or low port, fear not – in the next step, the adapter will only fit on the low-pressure port.

Step 4. Find the recharge hose from your kit, place the quick-connect fitting adapter (this is found on the end of the recharge hose), over the low-pressure port and firmly push down until you’ve heard it click into place.

Note: Do NOT pull the trigger yet, it will release refrigerant from your AC system.

Step 5. Start your car again and have the AC on high. Watch the compressor to see if it engages with the clutch. Once engaged, if pressure is under 40 psi, you’ll know your AC is undercharged. The goal is for your AC to be close to 40 PSI.

If your car’s pressure is OVER 40 PSI, your AC is considered overcharged. At this point, it’s advised to bring your car into Performance Auto as repairs may be needed.

Step 6. Thread the refrigerant can onto the recharge hose so you can slowly add the liquid refrigerant to your AC system. Hold the can upright and squeeze the trigger for about 5 seconds at a time to add refrigerant. Keep checking the pressure gauge and stop once you’re close to 40 psi.

Step 7. Grab some sort of a thermometer, a meat thermometer will work, and check the temperature in your car’s air vents. Once you find a comfortable temperature, your AC is ready to go! Be sure to put the cap back onto the low-pressure port before driving off.

You’re ready to ride cool! If you are at all uncomfortable recharging your AC at home, or if the problem persists, bring your vehicle into Performance Auto and let us help.

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