It is not uncommon for the air conditioning system in older vehicles to stop working because the system's refrigerant is gone. You may be tempted to take the car to an auto AC refrigerant charge service and refill the system, but before you do that, it is essential to determine how the old refrigerant got out of the closed system.
AC System Inspections
When the AC system in your car stops working, it is vital to have a repair shop specializing in auto AC repairs to inspect the system to determine where the problem is. In many cases, the refrigerant pressure has fallen too low for the system to work correctly, but it is critical to determine where the refrigerant is escaping before adding any more to the system.
An auto AC refrigerant charge service or AC shop can add some dye to the AC system that will mark the tubing or fitting when the refrigerant is leaking. Once the leak is found, an AC tech can repair the leak to ensure that the new refrigerant does not leak out again after the system is recharged. The tubing and fittings can often be purchased from an auto parts store or the dealer's parts department and replaced as one complete unit.
Recharging The System
Once repairs are made to your car's AC system, the auto AC refrigerant charge service will add refrigerant until the system pressure meets the specifications set by the manufacturer. Recharging the system properly requires the AC service to remove all the old refrigerant and air in the system using a vacuum system and then add the new refrigerant to the system.
Adding a new refrigerant to the system without this step can cause the old refrigerant to degrade the new material and shorten the refrigerant's lifespan. Recharging the AC system can be expensive, and doing it sooner than you need to because you did not do it correctly the first time wastes money and can be extremely frustrating.
While there are many recharging systems that are targeted at the DIYer, these systems do not address problems like leaks in the system, and they do not remove any old refrigerant or moisture from the system. Often people use these refill kits to say money, but after buying the kit a few times, you will spend as much as having an auto AC refrigerant charge service do it the right way,
Recharging the system without making a proper inspection means you could be adding refrigerant that will leak out and cause the AC system to stop working shortly after you charge it. For more information, contact an auto AC refrigerant charge service.