If the air conditioner in your vehicle is no longer blowing cold air, it may be time to recharge it with replacement Freon. Freon is the chemical refrigerant needed in air conditioners to cool the air pumped via the system, and it always runs out eventually. Changing it yourself can save a lot of money you would have used pay to an auto mechanic.
The way in which an air conditioning unit functions is rather complicated, but simply put, hot air is sent out from the inside of the car and expelled to the outside of the car. Air is then pulled through the car’s system, cooled, and then forced into the car’s interior through the vents.
Cars manufactured prior to 1993 use R12 Freon, an environmentally disadvantaging product that is no longer available to the general public, but can be purchased and used by professional mechanics who have access to the required environmental waste disposal system. Cars made after 1993 use R134a Freon, which is readily available at auto repair supply retailers.
Note that R12 and R134a refrigerants do not tally so do not attempt to recharge a car that has a pre-1993 air conditioning system with R134a Freon. If you have a car that was manufactured before 1993 and are having problems with the air conditioner, it is best to carry it to a professional mechanic to diagnose the issue and have the system recharged correctly.
With the right supplies and a little instruction, changing A/C Freon is an easy job to do by yourself.
1 – LINK FREON CAN TO COMPRESSOR
Using your owner’s manual, find the hoses to the air conditioning compressor in your vehicle. Attach the shorter hose to the can of replacement refrigerant, but dont completely tighten the connector.
2 – OPEN THE CAN
Open the valve on the Freon can to release air from the system, and tighten the connection and valve.
3 – DRAW THE FREON INTO THE SYSTEM
Start your engine and turn the A/C on high. Holding the Freon can upright, slowly open the valve on the short-end manifold. When the can seems to be close to empty, slowly close the valve again and then carefully remove the can from the hose.
4 – ADD MORE FREON
If this is your first time including refrigerant to your vehicle, you might want to work in small steps, repeat steps one through four as required until system is recharged. Otherwise, else aim to recharge the system fully the first time through.
If you’re confident that your A/C was recharged fully and you continue to have issues with getting cool air from your vents, you may have other problems or a refrigerant leak. In any case, it would be best to see a mechanic for repairs.