Think about your refrigerator at home. When was the last time you had to recharge it? Your answer is probably never. Unless something is broken, you’ve probably never had to replace the refrigerant. But your car is an entirely different story. Refrigerant does not get “used up” or “worn out” in the process of absorbing and releasing heat in either your car or your refrigerator. So if the refrigerant in your system doesn’t get used up, what’s happening to it? It’s leaking out!
Automotive A/C systems are closed systems that are subject to harsh weather and road conditions. Your A/C has plenty of places for leaks to occur in metal components like the condenser, evaporator, accumulator or receiver / drier, as well as in the rubber components; hoses, O-rings, gaskets. The refrigerant in your vehicle’s system only gets lower because the system has developed a small leak, which over time, causes you to feel warmer air blowing from the vents. Typically, refrigerant leaks occur in cars that are over 5 years old because the rubber O-rings and gaskets that seal the different components of the system have become brittle and dried out over time allowing the refrigerant in the system to leak past them.
In most cases, this can be cured by adding a refrigerant with a proven stop leak additive and O-ring conditioner. A premium all-in-one solution such as A/C Pro® contains stop leak additives and O-ring conditioners that will stop these leaks in most cases. In addition to refrigerant, A/C Pro® also contains special lubricants that help to extend the life of your compressor. A/C Pro® is specifically designed to be as close to “foolproof” as possible. It can be used by people who know basically nothing about how a car air conditioner works or what refrigerant is. It requires no tools and no mechanical experience, making it literally one of the simplest car repairs you can do.
Of course not all leaks occur in the rubber components of your system. Some of these leaks can occur in the metal components of your system. A pin hole sized leak or hairline crack in a metal component can be hard to detect and expensive to fix. Luckily, there is a product designed specifically to handle just this type of leak: A/C Pro® Super Seal. Super Seal’s key ingredients have been used by the gas pipeline industry for years to seal leaks in metal pipelines. Super Seal works by forming a permanent seal when it leaks through a crack or hole and comes into contact with the outside air. Super Seal works great on small leaks that are hard to detect or not easy reach. In order to properly work, the system will have to be able to hold a refrigerant charge for longer than two weeks. Super Seal will safely stay present in your system for years to help guard against future leaks too.
You should also check to make sure there are dust caps on the service ports of your A/C, and that the Schrader valve is not loose. If there are no dust caps, you can purchase a valve repair kit for a few dollars that contains caps for both the high and low side port, and a tool for tightening the Schrader valve. Dust caps on service ports are not an “optional” item, they are an integral part of maintaining the refrigerant in your car’s A/C system, and are a common leak point for many systems.
To see how quick and easy it can be to get your car blowing cold air again, check out our video gallery. If you have other questions about recharging your vehicle’s A/C System you can Ask the Pro or give us a call, toll-free at 1-888-318-5454.