In an attempt to save money, some automobile owners are using DIY car A/C recharge kits. While such kits may seem cost-effective up front, there are a number of risks to using them, which are highlighted below.
A/C Recharge Kits May Not Work on New or Older Models
The majority of A/C recharge DIY canisters use R-134a refrigerant. While this is the variant used in most automobiles driven today, any vehicle which was manufactured prior to 1994 uses R-12. Furthermore, a lot of the newest vehicles are using another version named R-1234yf, and because it is not possible to mix the different refrigerant types, placing the incorrect refrigerant into your vehicle can actually ruin your air conditioning unit. So unless you’re absolutely certain which refrigerant your vehicle uses, recharging it yourself is not advised.
A/C Recharge Kits Won’t Evacuate the Older Refrigerant
The reason automobile A/C systems require periodic recharges is that as time passes, their refrigerant gas will leak out. To be sure, it is a process that can take years to occur, but sooner or later every vehicle’s A/C must be recharged. However, when you apply the DIY canister, it is impossible to know for certain how much aging refrigerant is still present in your system. If you overcharge it, serious damage can result.
While hiring a professional will cost more, they have the equipment and knowledge needed to completely vacuum out the older refrigerant, and they will also remove all the moisture. Once this is done then they can add fresh refrigerant.
A/C Recharge Kits Cannot Patch Leaks
Leaks are a common problem in automobile air conditioning systems. These leaks can be tough to find and without a technician to help you locate and patch the leak filling it up with refrigerant will end up being a waste of time and money because it will just leak out.
A/C Recharge Kits Don’t Measure Based on Weight
Once you’ve totally emptied the A/C system, you’ll need to know exactly how much fresh refrigerant should be placed in it. This information is usually provided by the manufacturer, and will be specified by weight. The trouble with most A/C recharge kits is that they only come with a basic pressure gauge. This means that even after you’ve obtained the proper pressure level, the actual refrigerant weight will still be a mystery. And if you add too much, your system might be irrevocably damaged.
As you can see, re-gassing your car’s air conditioning isn’t a simple matter of just buying the right refrigerant and putting it in; there are a bunch of other factors that must be taken into consideration. Due to the inherent complexity of modern A/C systems, it is highly recommended to hire a pro, because you’ll save time and energy which can be used for other things and a professional will ensure that your vehicle’s A/C is recharged correctly and that any leaks which are present in the system will be thoroughly patched up before doing it.