Do It Yourself AC Repair

April 28th, 2015

If you decide to fix it yourself:  

With the help of an AC recharge and measuring kit, you can recharge your AC yourself.  These kits include a pressurized refrigerant, most often Freon, and a pressure gauge that will help you monitor how much Freon is in your car's AC system.  A detailed instruction manual, which is included in the kit, will walk you through each step.  All-in-one kits are composed of a simpler design, which have the Freon and pressure gauge integrated into one.  These kits are designed for the driver who has little or no experience with AC service.

Hire a professional:

Do-it-yourself AC recharge and measuring kits can be expensive, and most options are intended for a professional auto technician's use.  Without knowledge of cars, you will have a difficult time diagnosing it yourself.  An AC recharge kit won’t fix a broken compressor clutch or replace a bad condenser coil.  How do you know whether you need to go to a mechanic or use something other than the kit? Here is a list of situations where you would not want to use a do-it-yourself method:

1.     Your car was build before 1994 and has never been converted from R-12 system to an R-134a.  All cars built after 1994 have an R-134a system and are compatible with AC recharge and measuring kits.

2.     Your vehicle is a hybrid or electric car.  These cars use electric compressors, which require a different type of compressor oil.

3.     Your AC went from cold to hot in less than two weeks.  AC recharge kits seal up small leaks in your AC components - these leaks take some time to cause your refrigerant to become low.  If your AC was blowing cold the previous day and now it is blowing hot, you have a bigger AC problem than just low refrigerant from a small leak.

4.     When testing with the measuring kit gauge, you find that the AC pressure is too high while the compressor is running.  It is normal for the AC pressure to be high when the compressor is not running, but it should be low when it is running.  If you find there is high pressure when the compressor is running, then you have a big problem.  This can indicate that the refrigerant is too high or there is a problem with the compressor.

5.     You've added AC refrigerant, but after a few weeks or months it is blowing warm air again.  This indicates a small leak in the metal AC component, which will need to be sealed.