Beat the Heat! Recharging Car Air Conditioner with a DIY Kit

Summertime in San Diego means trips to the beach, BBQs, and picnics. It can also mean more time stuck in traffic while you and everyone else heads to the shorelines for swimming, surfing or just soaking up some sun.

As temperatures rise to the upper 80s, 90s and could even hit triple digits if you head inland, having a cold-air blowing air conditioner in your vehicle is a must. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t realize they need auto A/C repair until they’re sitting in traffic on a hot day with even hotter air blowing at them from the vents. This is a clear sign you need AC repair in San Diego right away.

Recharger Kits Don’t Replace Professional A/C Repair

If you are looking to recharge your cars air conditioner without a getting complete AC repair in, there are new DIY products on the market. These recharge car air conditioner kits are intended to allow you to refill the depleted refrigerant in your vehicle’s AC system. They cost about $25 – $50 plus a bit more for the tools to do the job.  In some situations they can serve as a temporary solution when you can’t get to an auto repair shop for AC repair in San Diego and need to cool down for a trip.

Like all do it yourself automotive products, these AC recharge kits are not without their drawbacks. They do require some mechanical know how; they aren’t as simple as putting gas in your car or refilling your tires with air.

It is also important to note that these AC recharge kits only work if the problem is low refrigerant levels. These kits are a Band-Aid and won’t fix the underlying problem, such as leaks in the AC system. Leaks require auto a/c repair at the hands of a mechanic. Our other AC repair tips can help you identify the issue and save money on a long term fix.

How to Use an AC Recharge Kit 101

Each recharging car air conditioner brand includes its own set of instructions.  * Always follow the manufacturers instruction since Griffins Auto can’t be responsible for your own repairs.   However, here we’ll walk you through the common basics of how to use an AC recharge kit so you have an idea of what the task entails.

First make sure you purchase a recharging car air conditioner kit with a gauge so that you know the proper amount of refrigerant to add to the vehicle’s AC unit. Please note that you cannot recharge car air conditioner for a vehicle made before 1995 as they use a type of refrigerant product that is no longer manufactured.

Most importantly, it is highly recommended to wear safety glasses and gloves when using these kits as you will be handling a chemical product that can cause severe and painful burns if it touches your skin.

Once you have your safety gear on, pop the hood and locate the air conditioner’s low side port. This spot will vary from car to car so get out your vehicle’s owner manual. (Hint: The port has an “L” on its cap.)

Now, start the car and turn on the AC to full blast and let it run for a few minutes. If possible, use a thermometer to make sure that the air coming out of the vents is truly warm.

To make sure the air conditioner’s problem isn’t something more serious, you want to make sure the AC’s compressor is spinning. (The compressor is near the low-side port and looks like a pulley system.) If the compressor isn’t spinning, you need AC repair professional to look at it. Adding refrigerant will not help.

How to Use an AC Recharge Kit: Follow the Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Attach the charging hose to the low-side L port. It should just click on without having to use much force.
  2. Turn the car’s engine on (if it isn’t already). Do not inject the refrigerant into the car unless the car is running.
  3. Before you pull the trigger to inject the refrigerant, it’s best to shake up the canister.
  4. With the hose securely in place and the car running, pull the canister’s trigger to inject the refrigerant into the AC. (The canister will become ice cold, another good reason to wear gloves.)
  5. Continue to hold the trigger until the pressure gauge on the AC recharge kit moves to approximately 40psi; this point should be indicated on the gauge.
  6. Once the gauge moves closer to the indicated level, you want to stop. You will do more harm than good if you overflow it and the gauge moves into the red zone. When you are done, simply release the trigger and remove the hose from the L port.
  7. When you get back in your car and with the AC turned on, you should feel the cold air almost immediately.

So now that you have an idea of how to use an AC recharge kit, you can decide for yourself it is worth the trouble. Again, these kits are just a temporary solution. Low refrigerant levels likely mean there’s a tear in your AC system which can only be fixed with reliableauto repair shop in San Diego.

PLEASE NOTE: *This is not meant as instructions and any repairs should be done at the instructions of the manufacturer.

Posted in Air Conditioning, Summer Car Care Tips
SureCritic Verified Customer Reviews Yelp Reviews Google Reviews
Griffin's Auto Repair