As we enter another car air-conditioning season many drivers are turning on the AC only to be greeted with waves of hot air. When this happens drivers want to feel the cool breeze as quickly and cheaply as possible. That’s what this article is about. Don’t miss the 3 helpful videos below. In the first I run an AC performance test. This confirms just how bad your current situation is using a meat thermometer.
For people that have slow freon leaks it’s not the first time the system stopped working. For these motorists it’s time to recharge air conditioning again. Often it’s a financial situation that stops us from pursuing proper diagnosis and repair.
Other times it’s fear that if we go into a shop they will find large and expensive repairs. Both of these situations are valid concerns that I completely understand. Air-conditioning repairs can easily become an avenue to take advantage of customers!
Look, I know lots of auto repair shop owners that are not only honest but talented. But the reality is it’s not always a bed of roses when you need automotive service. When you have time I wrote a good article about air-conditioning rip-offs that you may find helpful if you plan on taking your vehicle in for repair.
There is a hidden camera video in that article that I will provide here on this page for your convenience. Note that the embedded video is from the today show and there is a 15 second commercial before the real content gets going. If you are thinking about recharging the car air-conditioning yourself I added a video of the procedure at the very bottom!
I just Want to Recharge My Air-conditioning
People that are daily commuting and living paycheck to paycheck would often like to try a simple re-charge of the air-conditioning by adding Automotive Refrigerant (Freon) then drive the car and see how long it lasts. This is not a bad strategy but if you are going to add Freon to the system you have to make sure you do not put in to much. This is why the DIY cans have a gauge on them with green and red colors (see the video below). Also why not add some that contains a dye agent. There are different types of dyes that can be added to the Freon charge.
The two main ones are fluorescent dye and a colored die. If you install the fluorescent type you will also need a pair of glasses and a special UV flashlight so that you able to locate the leaking points. In the case of a colored die no special glasses or flashlights are needed you basically just look for stains of the red dye on air-conditioning components. I will make a few of these leaks tracing freons available below.
If you’re lucky the car air-conditioning system will blow cold air for the rest of the summer. If you are unlucky the Freon leak will be larger and the system may only blow cold air for a couple of days.
If this is the case you can pop the hood with the engine off safety glasses on and inspect all of the air-conditioning lines and components and see if you can find any leaks using the dye you just installed.
Another option would be to install a Freon charge that contains some kind of leak sealer. In my opinion this will not solve the problems in most cases. If you have a small leak on the low side of the air-conditioning system you have a better chance of the air-conditioning stop leak product slowing down the escaping freon. Another thing to mention is you would not want to install more than one or two cans of this stuff because it can cause blockages in the air-conditioning that will make matters worse.
The Proper Way to Fix Car Air-conditioning
Times are tough for all of us and I feel your pain. But consider having your air-conditioning system properly diagnosed and at least get an estimate of what it would cost to permanently fix the AC. I highly recommend that you get a second and maybe even a third opinion and compare the diagnosis and estimates. As you can see in AC rip-off video below you will most likely get a different opinion and price from each shop that you visit.
I’m going to provide a comment section below where you can run these different estimates past me and I’ll try to tell you if they seem excessive. Unfortunately, although I have good intentions I can’t promise how fast that will happen as this post is probably several years old by the time you read it. I’m probably working on the AC system on the first Mars colonization spacecraft by now. However, I will try to provide an opinion from someone that doesn’t have any skin in the game.
I built out an entire section on my youfixcars.com website about automotive air-conditioning systems. There are about seven pages of free information that you can access. Getting a basic education about how the system works can often help you avoid rip-offs when you go in for these types of services. For those that have a system that is cooling a little I wrote an article about what to do with ac not blowing cold enough. For more and the latest articles on this website this next link takes you back to the auto repair information blog home page.
Here is the video from the today show. This was a hidden camera exclusive where they put different dealerships to the test. It’s about seven minutes long and there is a 15 second ad before the video plays but let me tell you that this is extremely educational for somebody that is suffering with air-conditioning problems and is considering a re-charge of the air-conditioning system.