The air conditioner is a very important part of the car, especially during the summer or if you live in a country with a tropical climate. Hence when it begins to malfunction or straight up breaks down, things can get quite annoying.
A lot of people think that they have to drive over to the mechanic whenever their AC has to be fixed. However, if it’s just a non-engaging clutch in the AC compressor, all you need to do is fill it up with some refrigerant. The latter scenario is what we’ll be mainly focusing on today:
Diagnosing the Problem
You can do the following things to identify what the source of the problem is:
- Turn on the AC and check the temperature of the air – if it’s not as cold as it’s supposed to be then that could point to a problem with the air flow. Next, you should check whether the cooling fans in the radiator are working. If not, then you might be dealing with some sort of electrical disruption.
A defunct cabin air filter may also be the cause of poor air flow. If this is the case, you will need to bring it to a mechanic to have it replaced. Make sure that they use the best auto parts so that you don’t have to keep coming back often.
- Check whether the AC compressor is still functioning properly – this might require some mechanical knowledge. All you need to do is take a look at the conditioner and check whether both the pulley itself and the centre of it are both in sync with their rotations. This means that the clutch which makes this possible is engaged. If the rotations are out of sync, then you may have to replace the clutch or merely fill it with refrigerant.
- Look for leaks in the AC – leaks are hard to spot because we’re dealing with air here. Therefore, it’s probably best to go out and buy a leak detection test. You will be given a coloured liquid that you can inject into the lines. This way you will see liquid leaking out if there are any cracks or holes. If there are any leaks, you will need to bring your car to a mechanic.
Getting Ready to Add Refrigerant
If you’ve figured out that all you need to do is add refrigerant, here are some tips to help you prepare for it:
- Make sure your purchase the correct sort – if your vehicle was made after 1995, then you’ll have to use R134a.
- Find out where the low-side service port is and clean the area around it with a dry rag.
- Take the hose that you get when you buy a refrigerant refill kit. Attach one end to the nozzle and the other to the low-side service port.
Follow these simple steps:
- Pierce the seal on the can by turning the valve on top.
- Keep the can upright and occasionally shake it from side to side to maintain a steady pressure.
- Keep an eye on the ambient pressure gauge and stop once it reads as full.
- Afterwards remove the hose and store it in a cool place.
And that’s all there is to refilling refrigerant to fix your air conditioner!