How To Recharge Car AC With A Recharge Kit – The Easiest Way

Recharging automotive air conditioning could be a solution when your car is not blowing cold air. The process involves adding more refrigerant to the AC system so that it goes back to the normal functioning. If you know how to recharge car AC, you can save more than a hundred bucks of the mechanic service.

However, car air conditioning recharge is a temporary fix to a bigger problem. The refrigerant is not supposed to vaporize because the system is airtight. After recharging, you will need to inspect the system again sometimes later and repair the leak.

How To Recharge Car AC: The Course Of Action

Before getting on with the process of how to recharge your air conditioning, you have to know the type of refrigerant the car uses. All the vehicles manufactured after 1994 uses R134 refrigerant. Older ones use R12 refrigerant, which is currently defunct.

The next step is purchasing a recharge kit. An all-in-one unit will be perfect for the job and it is affordable too. It has an R134 can and a built-in pressure gauge. The mechanism of the kit is simple and anyone can understand it without having any technical knowledge.

How To Recharge Car AC – The Instruments

  • A recharge kit
  • A weather thermometer
  • Safety glasses and gloves

Remember to wear the goggles and gloves every time you are working to fix something in the car. Refrigerant on bare skin can be very painful.

recharging automotive air conditioning
Using a recharge kit is the easiest way. (Photo Source: dronefest)

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How To Recharge Car AC – The Procedure

Before starting the process of how to recharge air conditioner in car, you need to assemble the recharge kit. It has a pressure gauge, a rubber hose, and a can of refrigerant. The hose comes attached to the gauge. Turn the gauge counterclockwise until it stops to retract the piercing pin (which will pierce the refrigerant can when required).

Attach the hose to the pressure gauge and tighten the screw. Check the day’s temperature with a weather thermometer and turn the gauge’s calibration dial to that temperature. When everything is set, start the recharging procedure.

1. Find The Low-Pressure Port And Clean It.

There are two ports in the car’s AC system – high-pressure and low-pressure ports. You will recharge through the low-pressure one so your first task is to locate it under the hood. The cap over the pressure port will have the letter ‘L’. But, if you are confused, check the owner’s manual.

In fact, it is impossible to attach the hose to the wrong port because the port openings are of different sizes.
Clean the port’s opening before and after removing the cap. Many people ignore the cleaning part. But, the compressor can fail permanently even a tiny piece of debris gets into it.

2. Attach The Hose To The Port.

You have to connect the other end of the hose to the low-pressure port’s opening. It links to the port with a simple latching mechanism. Before doing it, don’t forget to turn the gauge clockwise until it stops. It will seal off the gauge, making it safe to connect it to the AC port.

3. Check The Pressure.

Kick off the car’s engine and turn the air conditioner to the maximum. Check the gauge to see how much pressure is showing there. Wait a few minutes for the pressure to build and getting equalized. Otherwise, you won’t get the correct reading.

4. Connect The Refrigerant Can.

After taking the pressure reading, remove the hose from the low-pressure port. Turn the gauge counterclockwise to retract the pin so that it does not puncture the can at the time of attaching it. Secure the pressure gauge onto the refrigerant can. After that, turn the gauge clockwise so that the pin juts out and perforate the can. If it is done right, you will hear the hiss of the pressure released from the can.

how to recharge your air conditioning
Always wear safety gloves. (Photo Source: acecarcarecenter)

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5. Recharge The AC System.

It is the last stage of this method of how to recharge car AC. You have to attach the rubber hose again to the low-pressure port before starting the engine and pushing the AC to the max. Wait for a minute for the pressure to build up before spinning the gauge counterclockwise to release the refrigerant into the car’s air conditioning system.

Keep an eye on the pressure gauge display as it will show when the system is full. A few pounds more or less does not matter so don’t worry much. When the system is full, close the low-pressure port by putting its cap back. Close the hood and you are good to go with a recharged AC system. Just purchase a refrigerant can and you can use the same kit next time.

If your vehicle is manufactured before 1994, you can recharge it by using this method. You have to take it to an auto servicing shop to have the AC system replaced or converted to use the R134 coolant.