Sep 13, 2019 @ 3:37 pm

How to troubleshoot gas leakage from your car’s AC?

Is it a non-functioning automobile air conditioner making you go bonkers??

A faulty car AC is troublesome. It cannot be easily diagnosed. However, you need not rush to car pro. Instead, you should be able to troubleshoot car AC. (This advice is not for everyone).

Look for the issue first. Is the gas leaking? Low refrigerant or failed compressor? If major repairs are required, you may need a pro else you can try your hands on.

Know your Car’s HVAC system

Your HVAC ( heater and air conditioner) do three tasks altogether.

1. Cools the interior of the car
2. Heat up the interiors
3. Defrost the windshield

The modes all together make one system, i.e. a car climate control system. This system is monitored by a machine that you see in your dashboard. The system when switched on give command to compressor to start refrigerant and vice-versa

So, when you see the auto AC troubling, look into the dashboard first. Let’s take it step by step.

Diagnose the issue

1. Turn the vehicle on to see the air flow. Start the car engine and turn-on the AC.
2. If you hear nothing, your blower fan is defective.
3. If you feel a little amount of air is blowing, it is an airflow issue. You can try cleaning or changing air filters. This will improvise the air flow.
4. If the warm air gushing out it is a problem with the AC. This is when we move on to next step.

Note: You can also use a thermometer to check the temperature.

Look for gas leakage in AC

The Age of AC and the moisture is responsible for the gas leakage. The hose in AC tends to lose the elasticity with time which leads gas to escape.

1. Leak detection kits are available in the market. These tools provide Black-light enabled dyes. The refrigerants come with UV dye which is visible under black light.
2. You can also use sniffer devices that sniff if there is a gas leakage.
3. If there is a gas leakage, take the vehicle for repair.
4. If there is no leakage, the problem is with refrigerant.

Add refrigerant

As your vehicle ages, you should maintain the coolant level of AC. The gas should not leak and must stay full to ensure the perfect cooling.

i) Purchase the refrigerant kit

1. Buy a suitable refrigerant from the market. Look for the manufacturing year of the car. You can always look for the stickers for the year of manufacture.
2. Use R12 if it is an old vehicle ( built before 1995), else use R13.
3. Unpack your kit. You will see a refrigerant can, a rubber hose, and a pressure gauge.
4. Turn the gauge anti-clockwise to stop it before pinning into the refrigerant can. Find the pin inside the refrigerant can. Follow as instructed on the packaging step by step and assemble the pressure gauge.

ii). Locate low-pressure point

1. Your car’s AC has two points; a high-pressure point and a low-pressure point. A high-pressure point is marked with H and the low-pressure point has L written on it. You need to look for low-pressure point to recharge.
2. Always check twice to be sure.
3. Clean the low-pressure point with the cloth. Get rid of debris before removing the cap. You can use brake cleaner to clean the cap well.

iii) Attach the charging hose

Now connect the hose that comes in the refrigerant refill kit to the low-pressure point. The other end of the hose should be connected to the mouth of the can. In simple words, the hose should be attached to the snoot on the gauze and then to the refrigerant can.

iv) Determine gas pressure

The gauze display will read the ambient temperature. See the required temperature from the air pressure chart and determine the current level of the refrigerant temperature.

Keep in mind the instruction on the can and the gauze. You should know when to stop.

v) Puncture the seal of the can

1. Rotate the valve of the refrigerant in the clockwise direction. This will pierce the can. This will release the charge in the car’s AC and begin the charging process.
2. Keep the refrigerant can straight and upright. Shake the can few times while charging. Do not lie the can or turn it upside down. It can lead to failure of charging process.
3. Once you are done, remove the hose and tighten the refrigerant can for future use. If the can is empty, discard it.

vi) Consult a pro

1. If you fail to charge consult to a pro. Even if you succeed, Look for the further leakage of the charge. If you see any sign of gas leakage, Again look for an expert.
2. If you still feel the AC is still not cooling the interiors, or a leak spotted after this whole process get the compressor replaced.

The above instructions are only for hobby mechanics or a person who know mechanics. Novice should not try their hand on without guidance. The refrigerant leaks can injure you. Be cautious!!