Refrigerant Recharge: How to Keep Your Car's AC Ice Cold

Refrigerant Recharge: How to Keep Your Car's AC Ice Cold

14th Jun 2019

couple driving in car

Staying Cool with AC

Does your car's air conditioning blow warm or room temperature air? With the summer weather upon us, you'll want to make sure your vehicle's air conditioning is functioning problem. If it doesn't, you can expect some sweaty and uncomfortable rides ahead of you. The good news is that most air conditioning problems can be solved with a simple refrigerant recharge.

What Is a Refrigerant Recharge?

A refrigerant recharge is a service performed on air conditioning systems, including automotive air conditioning systems, that's designed to refill the system with refrigerant gas. All air conditioning systems contain refrigerant in the condenser. Of course, the condenser is a large, flat component that's found in the front of vehicles. Refrigerant picks up heat and releases the heat through the front of the vehicle via the condenser.

During a refrigerant recharge, any remaining refrigerant is forced out of the vehicle's air conditioning system. Next, new refrigerant is pumped into the system. If there's a leak present, it should be identified and fixed to eliminate the need for additional recharges in the future.

The Problem of Low Refrigerant

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for refrigerant to leak from automotive air conditioning systems. In a function and working air conditioning system, refrigerant remains trapped inside, with little or no gas escaping. Over time, however, seals can break, thereby releasing refrigerant into the atmosphere.

Low refrigerant is a problem for several reasons. First, a loss of just 10% can make your vehicle's air conditioning about 50% less effective at cooling the cabin. Second, older vehicles use an environmentally unfriendly type of refrigerant, known as Freon, that's been linked to ozone depletion.

Checking Refrigerant Level

You can't always rely on the cooling power of your vehicle's air conditioning system to determine if it's low on refrigerant. Warm or room temperature air could be caused by other problems, so you really need to check the refrigerant level to determine if this is the root cause. Most auto shops will gladly check your vehicle's refrigerant level using a pressure gauge. A mechanic will hook a gauge up to your vehicle's air conditioning system, allowing him or her to see the pressure generated by the refrigerant. If the pressure is below normal, there's an insufficient amount of refrigerant in the air conditioning system.

Don't let low refrigerant prevent you from driving this summer. If your vehicle's air conditioning system is low on refrigerant, either take to a mechanic or recharge it yourself. It's a simple and straightforward process that can restore your vehicle's air conditioning back to working order.

coolant graphic