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How to Recharge Your Car AC

Anuja Marathe Kanhere
Car air conditioners need to be charged once in a while. You can do this recharging in comforts of your home using eight simple steps. Read more to find out.
A car air conditioning technology is often perceived to be complicated in nature. But let me assure you that it is definitely not 'rocket science'. You need not be a skilled person in car mechanism to recharge your car's AC. So forget any kind of anxiety and learn this simple and straight technique.

Here is What You Need to Know

All those first timers, who do not have a thorough knowledge about their car's mechanism, should first spend some time reading through the car's user manual. Yes, the manual is pretty long, but you need to do it. If you are running short of time, hit straight on the page detailing your car's AC system.
Now answer one simple question. Is your car manufactured prior to 1994? If yes, then you need a R12 coolant solution, which at present is difficult to lay your hands on.
If your answer is no, then you need an R134 coolant which is easily available in the market. To recharge your car's AC you need a pressure gauge and a rubber hose which are again easily available in the market.

Process to Recharge the Car AC

  • To start with, connect the rubber hose to the gauge and turn the gauge firmly in an anti-clockwise manner. This is because, the gauge contains a tiny piercing needle under it which gets inserted in the freon coolant can when you turn the gauge clockwise.
  • Let the gauge remain turned in anti-clockwise manner till you are actually prepared to deliver the coolant solution in the car's AC system.
  • Now check the normal environment temperature in your city. You may use the car's thermometer for this purpose.
Once you find out the temperature, you need to slowly adjust the calibration dial on the gauge to equal the environmental temperature.
  • Irrespective of the car's make and brand, there are two pressure port's in the car's air conditioning system. These ports can be located by referring to the car's user manual.
  • On a closer look you will notice, that these ports are denoted with names such as high pressure port and low pressure port. You can identify the port going by the alphabets stated on caps for the ports. 
  • Here 'H' stands for high pressure port and 'L' stands for low pressure port. Additionally, the ports are different in sizes. We are concerned with low pressure port only, so you might notice that the rubber hose will only fit on the low pressure port of the car's AC.
  • Be sure to bring along a clean old rag to clean the low pressure port before you actually attach the hose to it.
Your car's AC system is highly sensitive and may go kaput in case dust particles enter the compressor system through an open port. Clean the port very carefully.
  • Turn the gauge in a clockwise manner to attach it firmly to the AC port. Now attach the hose to the car with its inbuilt latch. Wait to hear the clicking sound when the hose attaches in the correct place. You will now need to start the ignition of you car on a neutral gear.
  • Start the air conditioning of your car on the highest level. Use the gauge to check the pressure of the car's AC. This will also help you understand how much coolant needs to be added. After finding out the pressure, turn off the car.
  • Now turn the gauge anti-clockwise once again. Attach the bottle of coolant can to the gauge and the hose and pierce the bottle with inbuilt needle sharply while turning the gauge clockwise once again. Finally, you can start delivering the coolant in the AC system.
  • Now, turn on the ignition of the car once again and place the air-conditioner on the highest level. After the pressure builds up, turn the gauge anti-clockwise.
  • The area corresponding the calibration dial will gradually indicate when system is completely full. My additional tip to you is to lightly shake the coolant bottle to successfully deliver the coolant into the system.
  • Once the system is recharged, remove the hose and the gauge. Immediately place the cap back on the low pressure port. And before you know it, you are done with recharging your car's AC system.
This method may seem slow when you are doing it for the first time. But gradually, you will gain expertise and will be able to apply the technique with ease. Similarly, learning to recharge your car's air conditioner will help you save some precious dollars as well as your time.
Most of the coolant bottles are meant for one time use only. However, there is no harm in storing the gauge and the hose in a clean dry place. It helps to save a few dollars as these instruments can be reused many more times.