If you find yourself with a car air conditioner leaking refrigerant it can be fixed by a home DIY backyard mechanic.
There are a few ways to approach a leaking air conditioning system.
If the leak is slow it likely is small and a can of Stop Leak can be added to a system to help it seal up.
If the leak is large it will need to be fixed and A/C system set into a vacuum before adding in refrigerant.
Below is how both methods can be done to fix a vehicle A/C system.
How to Fix a Car Air Conditioner with a Small Slow Leak
There is a stop leak that can be added to see if it seals up an A/C system.
Using Stop Leak is low-cost quick and easy, making it a good method if the leak is small enough.
The stop leak is mixed with refrigerant and simply added to a system on the low pressure line (Big-Line).
A hose is used along with a can of Refrigerant Stop Leak which is quick and easy to do.
Video Adding Stop Leak to a Car A/C System
Refrigerant Stop Leak on Amazon
FJC 9140 Stop Leak – 3 Ounce
Low cost Refrigerant Fill Hose on Amazon
FJC 6036 R134a U-Charge Hose with Gauge
Tools and Parts Needed to Fix a Large Leak
- Vacuum Pump
If the stop leak will not work the leak will need to be fixed by replacing the bad part.
Some tools will be needed but there is inexpensive budget options as well as loaner tools from auto part stores.
If you only will be working on a single car many auto parts stores such as Auto Zone will loan out gauges and a vacuum pump for a deposit.
There is also many good budget tools on Amazon that is a good option, especially if more than one car is going to be fixed.
Budget Vehicle A/C Repair Kit Vacuum Pump and Gauges
XtremepowerUS 3CFM 1/4HP Air Vacuum Pump HVAC R134a R12 R22 R410a A/C Refrigeration Kit AC Manifold Gauge Carrying Tote
Refrigerant will also be needed to refill the system.
R134a Refrigerant on Amazon
ZeroR AC Refrigerant 6 Cans – Better Than R134a – Made in USA – Natural Non Ozone Depleting
How to Fix a Car Air Conditioner with a Large Leak
- Find the Leak
- Fix the Leak
- Vacuum Down the System
- Add Refrigerant
The hoses are a very common source of a leak.
This also helps to find any leak since the vacuum will not hold if there is still a leak.
Once the leak has been fixed and the system is in a vacuum refrigerant can be added back in.
The correct amount of Refrigerant needs to be added back in or the A/C will not work.
Overfilling a system with too much can damage parts.
There is two ways to add back in the correct amount of refrigerant.
Use the gauges and add refrigerant to the correct pressure.
Use a scale and add in the correct amount by weight.
All vehicles will have a pressure they operate at which can be looked up and set at.
A/C system will also have the amount in pounds that can be added into a system using a scale.
Which ever way is used refrigerant will need to be added back into the system.
Fixing a leaking car air conditioning system fall in the DIT category.
Many leaks can be fixed with a can of Stop Leak and a hose to add it into the system.
For larger leaks the part will need to be replaced and refrigerant added back in.
If you have a very hard to find leak Dye can be added into the A/C system which helps to see where it is leaking.
There is also refrigerant leak detectors which can sniff out a leak and beep loudly as it approaches a leaking spot.
Using a low-cost leak detector is the best option as they are quick an easy to use.