signs that your car's air conditioner needs freon

4 signs that your car’s air conditioner needs freon

Low refrigerant (Freon) levels may be the cause of your car’s weak or failing air conditioner. In an effort to cool off on a hot, sunny day, you rush to your car. Nothing is worse in these situations than a failing car air conditioner. Sometimes the problems are only signs that the air conditioner in your vehicle needs Freon.

4 signs that your car's air conditioner needs freon

A refrigerant (Freon) is basically required for the air conditioning system in your car to function. A compressor inside the air conditioner compresses the refrigerant, increasing its temperature and pressure. The temperature of the hot Freon is then lowered and made to flow through the AC unit’s coils, turning it into a liquid.

After passing through an expansion valve, where it evaporates and becomes a cold gas, the liquid Freon continues to flow. The Freon then circulates through a set of coils in this form, absorbing heat from your car and cooling the interior. You must be able to tell if the Freon level in your car’s AC system is low because Freon is essential to the system.

Well, today, you’ll be provided with 4 signs that your car’s air conditioner needs freon. You’ll also get to know how to recharge your car’s AC and the cost to recharge the AC.

Read more: Understanding the car’s air conditioning condenser fan

Let’s get to it.


Four signs that your car’s air conditioner needs freon

Below are four signs you’ll notice if your car’s air conditioner needs freon.

  • The AC is blowing warm air.
  • AC clutch fails to engage.
  • Visible refrigerant leak.
  • Low pressure on gauges.

The AC is blowing warm air

The car’s air conditioning’s main function is to keep the interior cool. If something is wrong with the system, you may first notice that the air gets warmer or doesn’t get as cool as it should.

When the AC is turned on, a functioning car air conditioner with the right amount of freon will either blow cold or hot air. However, an obvious sign that your car’s Freon levels are low is when the air conditioner blows warm air when it is set to blow cold air. This happens because the system is pressurized and circulated with little or no Freon.

9 reasons why your car’s AC is not blowing cool air

AC clutch fails to engage

The compressor gets pressurized by the A/C clutch in your car. When you switch on the a/c in your car, you will hear a clicking sound. When the AC clutch engages, that sound is what is heard.

The A/C clutch detects the level of Freon. It shows that the Freon level is way too low when it fails to engage. Additionally, it is a sign that there is insufficient refrigerant in the car for the compressor to compress.

Visible refrigerant leak

Visible refrigerant leak is another common sign that your car’s air conditioner needs freon. When freon is liquid, it usually looks like grease but is lighter because it contains some oil that enables it to lubricate the compressor.

Check the various parts of your car’s AC system if you suspect there might be a Freon leak. Check the fittings that connect to the compressor, the front shaft, the accumulator, the condenser, the service ports, the pressure lines, and the service ports.

You may have a Freon leak if you see something on these components, such as a film or stream of liquid. To be sure, wipe this film or stream, and if it reappears, there’s a good chance your vehicle has a Freon leak and its Freon levels are low.

Low pressure on gauges

You might discover that the system is low if you run some simple AC checks. Connect the low-side and high-side ports of the manifold gauges. Start by checking the gauges with the engine off.

The low side may read between 35 and 40 psi, while the high side will read between 200 and 350 psi when the engine is running and the air conditioner is set to high. Anything lower than this means that the system needs Freon.

How to recharge your car’s AC when it’s needs Freon

Here is a video that will give you a clear step on how to add Freon to your car’s AC and automatically engage your AC compressor.

How much does it cost to recharge your car’s air conditioning?

You could spend between $125 and $200 on parts and labor to have the car’s air conditioning system properly recharged. Unless other services are being performed concurrently, the service visit shouldn’t last more than an hour.

However, you can recharge your air conditioning system in your garage if you want to save money. If the freon in your car’s air conditioning system is low, you should check for leaks before recharging it.

But you must also have good knowledge about recharging your air conditioning because freon is bad for the environment and, if you don’t know how to handle it properly, you could cause severe damage to your air conditioning system.

And that’s the reason why it’s recommended to get your air conditioning recharged in a certified mechanic shop. If you already have the necessary tools, recharging the system at home could only cost you $20 to $30, allowing you to save a significant sum of money.


What should I do if my AC is low on Freon?

We recommend that you seek out a certified air conditioning repair agency. Not only will you need more freon, but you’ll also need to fix the leak that started the problem in the first place. If not, you will eventually encounter the same issue again.

How do you know if your car’s AC just needs freon?

  • The AC is blowing warm air
  • AC clutch fails to engage
  • Visible refrigerant leak
  • Low pressure on gauges

Visible refrigerant leaks

If the freon in question looks like thin grease while it is liquid, you can identify it as such. Drivers often find it gathered underneath the car, around the compressor, in the lines, or inside the cabin. Eventually, the A/C system will stop functioning due to the lack of refrigerant.

Can I put Freon in my car’s AC myself?

If your car uses r134a refrigerant, you can recharge the system on your own using a charging kit and some r134a. You must first check for leaks. After that, test your system and check the refrigerant pressure. You can then add your refrigerant and complete the recharge.

What happens when Freon runs out?

When your air conditioner tries to run without the aid of refrigerant, it will lose too much cooling, and the compressor will be affected. It is simple to damage your system by running it in this way.

How much does it cost to refill Freon in an AC system?

According to Home Advisor, a Freon refill will cost, on average, between $100 and $350 in 2021. However, prices are still rising. It can cost up to $600 to refill an older, larger R-22 system.

What causes the AC to run out of Freon?

A leak in the pipes that carry refrigerant from one part of the air conditioner to another is the only way an air conditioner can run out of freon. Freon simply changes from a gaseous to a liquid state; it is not soaked up. Never allow the pipes to leak with freon. but leaks do occur.

What causes the AC to lose Freon?

Refrigerant loss causes

Freon leaks may be caused by improper installation, manufacturing defects, and wear and tear on your air conditioning system. As a result, improper installation means that even a brand-new air conditioning system could have a freon leak.

How do I know if my AC is out of Freon?

  • Warm or room-temperature air from the vent
  • There’s ice on the refrigerant lines.
  • Hearing bubbling or hissing sounds when the AC isn’t running

How long does Freon last in a car?

Except if you reside in a region with hot weather, most air conditioning systems may operate without a Freon top-up for five years or more. Freon is a sort of refrigerant that circulates in a closed system within your car to cool the interior. As a result of the sealed system’s reuse of Freon, your car won’t actually run out of the refrigerant.

How many cans of Freon does my car need?

The average car can hold between 28 and 32 ounces of refrigerant, or roughly two to three 12-ounce cans, but larger cars and those with rear air conditioning can probably hold more. The system capacity for your particular vehicle can be found in your car manual.

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That is all for this article, where we stated and  discussed some 4 signs you’ll notice when your car AC needs Freon. We also took a look at how to recharge the car AC and the cost for recharging it. I hope you enjoy the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!