When it comes to keeping cool in the summer months, your car’s air conditioning is essential. Unfortunately, over time and with wear and tear, your car's air conditioning can start to lose its efficiency. It happens so slowly you don't realize the system is slowly leaking. If you're starting to feel a temperature difference, there's a chance that your air conditioning needs recharging.
Estimates put the loss of refrigerant at around 7% per year. This means at around year 3 you have lost about 21% of the air conditioning's power. One of the downsides to this you don't see is that the refrigerant helps carry oil through the air conditioning system to keep moving parts lubricated. As the charge becomes lower the oil does not circulate as well and it causes damage to the AC compressor and the Thermostatic Expansion valve.
The good news is that recharging your air conditioning system is a relatively simple process — but it's essential to do this regularly. It's recommended that you recharge the air conditioning in your car every two years, to keep the cooling power at its highest. This keeps the refrigerant loss to around 14%. This means if we are recharging a system that holds 25oz you would only be purchasing 3.5oz of refrigerant. This helps lower the cost of the recharge and keeps your Car Air Conditioning blowing cold on hot days.
I have been doing this to my truck for a few years now. I can tell when 2 years have passed. The other day when it got hot out I turned on my Air Conditioning and it did not seem as cold as it should. I looked back in my Toyota Sequoia's history and it has been 2 years. I always check the system over for leaks but never see any. So I evacuate the system completely and hold a vacuum on the system for 15 minutes. The reason for this is to cause any water that might be trapped in the system to evaporate. Then I refill it with dye and refrigerant. This gets the air conditioning system back up to 100% and blows ice cold again.
You might think that's great and all but I can go buy refrigerant from the parts store and do it myself. Yes, you can. A word of caution though. Overfilling your car's Air Conditioning system is just as bad as losing refrigerant. It can cause the Air Conditioning not to work at all. Many times we have pulled cars in with the owner complaining about how the system is performing after they charged it. We usually find that the system is very overcharged causing it not to run.
Recharging your car's air conditioning system every two years is an easy and cost-effective way to keep the cooling power at its highest. While it may be tempting to buy refrigerant from a parts store and try doing it yourself, take caution not to overfill the system as this can cause more harm than good. With regular maintenance of your car’s A/C unit, you will have no problem keeping cool in the summer months!