How to Recharge Your Car's Air Conditioner

Last Updated : October 04 2017

How to Recharge Your Car's Air Conditioner

by Hector Lambert 2017 October 03

How to Recharge Your Car's Air Conditioner?

I love having air conditioning in my motor vehicle and would never go back to the past when you would have to suffer from the heat that was so unbearable. When things go wrong with our air conditioner unit most of the time, it just needs a simple recharge, but sometimes it can be a lot more than just that. The system can last for quite some time, but on the rare occasion, you can find that you may leak into the unit. These systems are really bad for the environment and even more so when you leak.

In the USA, some of the states have laws insisting that you must get the air con fixed straight away if you have noticed that there is a problem. These systems are as bad as a refrigerator because of some gases that are used to power these devices. The problem is that they will remove the humidity from our air, so you won't benefit from the cool breeze that you are used to and will just suffer from hot air.

The chemical is so toxic, and that is why getting a recharge is just so important. Your air conditioner system has a filter system that may also need replacing and this may also be the problem. Once you feel a drop in temperature with the air conditioning unit, you should get it check out because of the dirt and bacteria that the units produce. Getting your system checked for leaks on an annual basis can save you a lot of money in the long run and is an excellent way to avoid any problems.


Before You Start

Before you start recharging your vehicles air conditioner system, you want to check to see which refrigerant your car uses. Some automobiles use the newer R134. Other vehicles may still use the R12 refrigerant. If you plan on recharging your air conditioner yourself, you should always check the owner's manual for your vehicle to see which refrigerant your car uses. You can also check your repair manual for this information as well.

If your vehicle was manufactured in the late 1990's, then there is a good chance your vehicle takes the R134 refrigerant. If your vehicle happens to use the older refrigerant, the R12, then you should visit your auto repair shop and have it converted to the newer refrigerant. You'll be glad you did.

If your AC system is already R134 equipped, follow the steps below to recharge your air conditioner so you can keep cool on those hot summer days.

The Air Conditioning Recharge Kit

These kits usually contain a can of R134 and a pressure gauge - all in one. They do a good job with this particular do it yourself procedure. Even if you have limited or no experience with maintaining an air conditioning system, these all in one kit are simple and easy to understand. Some kits have a visible pressure gauge right on the cap, but any all in one type kit will do.

In order to recharge the air conditioner's system, you'll need a pressurized refrigerant or Freon, and a pressure gauge to observe how much Freon in the system. You can spend quite a bit on air conditioning recharging tools. Auto repair professionals purchase most of them. If you happen to have several automobiles, then it might make sense; it could be worth the investment. However, if you only own a car or two, you might do better with an all-in-one kit.

Preparing your All in One Recharge Kit

Unpack you're all in one kit. Locate the can of can of refrigerant, a rubber hose, and the pressure gauge. Just follow the instructions enclosed in your all in one recharge kit package and assemble the pressure gauge. Usually, the flexible hose enclosed will already be attached to the gauge.

Before screwing the gauge to your can of R 134 refrigerant, make sure you turn the gauge counter-clockwise gradually until it stops. You'll find a pin in the assembly that you will use to pierce through the can of refrigerant once everything has been put together tightly.

When you're ready, control the pin by turning your gauge clockwise until the pin pierces through the can. Remember you don't want to pierce the can until you're ready, so make the pin is all the way out before the kit is completely assembled.

Assembling Your All in One Recharge Kit

Making sure the pin is complete out, go ahead and assemble the pressure gauge and the rest of the kit. Screw that flexible rubber hose to the pressure gauge tightly. Don't tighten the whole thing to the top of the can just yet. We will need to check reading first.

Before taking an accurate reading, you will need to calibrate the gauge. On the face of the gauge, you'll find indications of different temperatures. Simply turn the calibration dial to match the outside temperature. If it happens to be a nice day, say 70 degrees outside, make sure you calibrate the temperature on the gauge to reflect the same.

Locate the Low-Pressure Port

Your air conditioning system has a low pressure and a high-pressure side. You want to recharge your air conditioner system through the low-pressure port side. Stop and consult your owner's manual just in case. Your automobile will also have a cap over the high and low-pressure ports. One cap should be labeled "H" for the high-pressure port, and the other will be labeled "L" for the low-pressure port. The ports are different sizes, so there is no way you attach the pressure gauge or hose to the wrong port. It's a type of safety measure, but it's always a good idea to check anyway.

Clean the Low-Pressure Port

An automobile's air conditioning system is delicate in some areas. If any dirt or debris gets inside the compressor, it may cause your air conditioning system to fail to lead to expensive repair. As a safety precaution, clean the outside area of the low-pressure port before removing the cap. Repeat this step after the cap is also removed. This may seem unnecessary, but it doesn't take much to destroy the system if so much as one tiny piece of debris finds its way into your vehicles compressor.

Attaching the Hose and Testing the Pressure

STOP: Before attaching the hose, you must turn the gauge clockwise until it tightens. This seals the gauge so you can attach it to the AC port safely.

With the low-pressure port cleaned, you can now attach the rubber hose that connects your vehicle to the pressure gauge. This does not screw on but rather uses latching mechanism.

To attach the hose to your low-pressure port first pull the outside of the fitting back and slide it over your low-pressure port; then release it. Start the engine and turn your air conditioning up to the high setting. Look at your gauge and see how much pressure is building up in your air conditioning system. You will need to give the system a few minutes so that the pressure can rise and equalize. Once this happens, you can take accurate readings to see whether you need to recharge the air conditioning system.

Hector Lambert
#1 Hector LambertAuthor 18 March, 2014, 12:37 Hector lives in Costa Mesa with his wife and four children. He is a car enthusiast and spend his free time on anything that is about vehicles.