How To Know If Your Car A/C Requires More Refrigerant

How To Know If Your Car A/C Requires More Refrigerant

It’s blazing hot outside and you can’t handle the sweltering heat. You get into the car and switch on your air conditioning. You wait for a blast of cool air to hit your face. But nothing comes… except for more hot air!

While there could be many reasons for this major annoyance in your day, such as an issue with the ventilation system or other reasons, it is possible that your car A/C needs a top-up on refrigerant. But how do you know if that’s what you need? Find out more in this article.

How To Check If Your Car A/C Is Low On Refrigerant

It is important to be sure that your car A/C is actually low on refrigerant before you purchase some more, because refrigerant needs to be at a certain level, not too much and not too little. As refrigerant is a volatile chemical substance, adding more refrigerant than necessary could cause excessive pressures in your condenser or dryer which could shut your entire system down, or even cause irreparable damage. Excess refrigerant could also thin out the oil that keeps your system lubricated.

Get It Checked Professionally

Unfortunately, there is no simple way of accurately checking if your car contains sufficient refrigerant. If you want to do this the proper way, which is to check the quantity of refrigerant in your car A/C system against the amount that was recommended by the car A/C manufacturer based on its design and capacity, you would need to get it checked professionally. A professional technician would have a refrigerant evacuation machine to remove all of the refrigerant from your system, and then weigh it. However, this is a relatively expensive procedure on top of being quite a hassle and is all in all not something you can do frequently.

Estimating It By Yourself

What you can do at home to get a rough estimate of whether your refrigerant is indeed low is that you could measure the pressure of your system via the low side A/C port. This is the pressure between the expansion valve and the inlet of the compressor. You can find out more about which compressor you might be looking for in this directory. If your system is very low on refrigerant, the pressure difference here from the recommended pressure stated by the manufacturer would be easy to record using an inexpensive pressure gauge. However, do take note that this method is in no way an accurate measure of how much refrigerant there is in the system. It can only show you an estimation that refrigerant levels are very low, but you would still have to gauge for yourself how much you should be topping up.

If you do find that your car A/C is low on refrigerant, you might want to consider how to get it recharged. Find out more information about common car A/C problems and how you can solve them, including how to locate your low side A/C port to top up refrigerant, and much more.