How to recharge your car air conditioner

Maybe your air conditioner (AC) is blowing hotter air than a politician seeking re-election. Rolling down the windows only gets you so far, and sitting in a stagnant olfactory puddle of thigh sweat and oil-rich exhaust fumes is a recipe for a unpleasant and uncomfortable trip.

Unlike common perception, air conditioning does not pump freezing air into the cabin; rather, it provides the sensation of cool air by making hot airless hot. Instead of supplying cold, it absorbs heat. This is accomplished using a refrigerant that absorbs heat and a circulation system that comprises both a compressor and a condenser. A low level of this refrigerant is the most typical cause of an air conditioner becoming warm.

Auto mechanic using measuring equipment tool for filling car air conditioners fix checking. Concepts of Old car Repair service and insurance.

In this article, you’ll get answers to the following questions:

  • How to recharge your car air conditioner?
  • How does AC works in a car?
  • How do you know when your car AC need to be recharge?
  • What happens if you overcharged your car AC system?
  • How often should you recharge your car air conditioner?
  • How much will it cost you to recharge your car AC?


Read more: How to clean your home air conditioner

How does car AC works?

A car’s air conditioning system works by converting refrigerant from a liquid to a gaseous form. The refrigerant absorbs heat and humidity from the car when it changes states, allowing the system to produce cold, dry air. The air-conditioning system uses pressure and temperature management to transform the refrigerant from a liquid to a gaseous state.

How do you know you AC system needs to be recharge?

There are a few obvious symptoms that your car’s air conditioning needs to be recharged or repaired if it develops a leak:

Warm air is being blown by the air conditioner:

Whether your car’s air conditioning needs to be charged, the quickest and easiest method to know is if it’s blowing warm air out of the inside vents. Less refrigerant will influence the system’s performance because it functions by circulating compressed refrigerant.

The air conditioning clutch will not engage:

When your car’s air conditioning is fully functional, you may hear a little “click” as the A/C clutch engages. If you don’t hear the click (from outside the vehicle), the system is probably not working properly and the refrigerant level is low.

Visible Leaks:

Thin, oily puddles on the floor of your car’s engine compartment are another easy method to tell whether your air conditioning needs to be charged or fixed. It’s critical to have the refrigerant serviced if it’s leaking that badly.

Read more: Understanding automobile air conditioning system

How to recharge your car air conditioner system

Get your goggles and gloves, grab the refrigerant and fixing hose for the operation. The followings are the instructions to follow to successfully recharge your car air conditioner system:

Start the car, put it in park, and apply the parking brake.

Set the air conditioner to the coldest setting, the fan to the highest level, and the air circulator to the highest setting.

Remove the plastic cap from the AC low pressure service port between the compressor and the evaporator after opening the hood. If you’re having trouble finding the service port, A/C Pro has a helpful online port locator. The fitting from the refrigerant hose, which only fits onto the low-pressure fitting, is a secondary approach.

Connect the attachment hose to the low-pressure point if it is unplugged from the refrigerant can.

Look at the supplied gauge and set the temperature dial to the current temperature with the compressor turned on.

Do not top up the pressure if it is in the red area of the pressure gauge. This could indicate a greater issue, such as a malfunctioning or non-functioning compressor.

More refrigerant is required if the PSI measurement falls below the gauge’s stated “full” range.

Connect the hose to the service port and disconnect it.

Remove the refrigerant container’s safety tab, shake it, then reattach the gauge and hose to the can.

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Connect the hose to the low-pressure service port and start charging the system with refrigerant with the trigger. To maintain good refrigerant flow, twist the can up and down.

To detect when the system is full, use the built-in indicator. Don’t take on more.

Remove the plug and recycle any empty cans according to local recycling rules.

Read more: How to fix your car AC in a few steps

Watch the video below to learn how to recharge a car air conditioner:

  • What happens if you overcharged your car AC system?

You will have the necessary refill kit to aid you in adding the correct amount of refrigerant to your vehicle’s air conditioning system if you undertake this service yourself. It is possible, however, to pump too much refrigerant, causing the air conditioner to “overcharge.”

As a result, your compressor is unable to provide sufficient cooling capability, and instead warm air is sent to your vehicle. As a result, it’s wise to be cautious when presuming a non-functioning air conditioner is short on refrigerant, as this isn’t always the case. If you’re overcharging the system, it’s preferable to take it to a mechanic and have it correctly drained by an air conditioning unit, then wait for the proper quantity.

Read more: Understanding the working of a heater core

How often you should recharge your car AC?

The manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule for your car does not include recharging the air conditioner. The system is sealed in theory, so you should never have to do this.

Rubber seals, on the other hand, dry out and wear out with time, and refrigerant steadily evaporates, leaving too little in the system for the air conditioner to function properly. Other components can fail as well, but the first thing you should do is a recharge, which is a cheap and simple DIY fix that is typically all it takes to get it operating again.

  • How much will it cost you to recharge your car AC?

Depending on whether you go to a mechanic or do it yourself, the cost of recharging your car air conditioner ranges from $50 to $155.

  • Cost at the Mechanic: $123 to $155
  • Cost to DIY: $20 to $50


When you consider that regular maintenance will also extend the life of your compressor and keep your air conditioner functioning at its best season after season, the cost is usually not that costly.

Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, professional AC charging can cost anywhere from $150 to $300. This service should be added to your vehicle maintenance schedule due to refrigerant losses that develop over time. It is advised that this service be performed every 100,000 miles on a vehicle.

You can save money on these expenses by charging your car’s air conditioner yourself. In that situation, a decent charging kit should cost between $40 and $60. This may appear to be a significant cost savings and potentially more convenient than sending the car to the shop, but it’s critical to understand what occurs when you get your air conditioner serviced in a workshop rather than doing the work yourself.

Read more: Why does my car heater only work when am driving?

In Summary

Recharging car air conditioner can be easy when the right steps are being followed. In this article, I have properly explained how you can recharge your car air conditioner system. Doing it correctly can save you huge amount of money and the refilling process can be enjoying.

I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with others. Thanks for reading, see you around!