2000 HOnda Accord A/C issues

I feel really dumb, but I also hate going to mechanics because I always suspect they are trying to scam me. Last year we were forced to plow our way thru a flood-about a foot of water (didn’t know there was a flood). Since then our AC doesn’t work. The blower works because we have heat, just no AC.

I took it to a shop just to figure out what is wrong with it and they said they have to charge the Freon. First question, what does this mean?

Then once they do that, they have to fill it with Freon with a dye in it to look for leaks. Is this something I (or my husband can do ourselves for much cheaper than a mechanic wants to charge?)

I think we will start with those questions and go from there. I think I will have more once I know these answers.

If the refrigerant is low the compressor will not come on. When you drove through the water, is that when it stopped working? Check and reseat plug on the compressor. You can get the R134A kits at the auto parts store and try it. Some of them contain stop leak.
Here is a how to. http://www.cnet.com/news/ac-pro-recharge-kit-a-diy-fix-for-aging-car-air-conditioners/

Your air conditioner works by first compressing “freon,” (it’s not really freon in your car because it was built after they banned the refrigerant used in older cars, but people still call it that) and then expanding it. When gasses expand, they get colder. The air conditioner blows air over the part that expands the freon, which cools the air down, and gives you air conditioning. If your system has a small leak, then eventually the freon will leak out, there won’t be any gas to expand, and you won’t get cooling.

Recharging the freon just means adding freon back into the system. You put the dye in it so that if you lose the freon again in a short amount of time, you can shine an ultraviolet light on the air conditioner parts - when you see a glowy trail, you’ve found the leak and can fix it.

You can pick up an air conditioner recharge hose from an autoparts store. Should be around 15 bucks. It’ll have a pressure gauge on it. You hook it to your charging nipple and it will tell you what pressure your freon system is at - this will let you verify whether or not the shop is correct that you need to recharge it. At that point, if you do indeed need to recharge it, you can either do it yourself with a can of refrigerant from the auto parts store (be sure to just get plain refrigerant, without any “subzero” additives or stop leak additives, and wear gloves to avoid freezing your fingers if some of the refrigerant leaks out while you’re screwing the can onto the recharge hose) and see how long it lasts, or you can have the shop do it for you.

I suspect the shop may be wrong in its diagnosis if your AC was working well before you drove through the water, and stopped immediately after you drove through it. I suspect you may have shorted out the electronics that control your AC compressor’s clutch - if the compressor won’t engage, then you can’t compress the gas, which means you can’t expand it to make it get cold.

Also, there are fuses you need to check. Here is a diagram for the compressor fuse.

If it quit right after going through deep water, I’d suspect that you have a big leak in the system. This means you do need freon, but when they put in the dye charge, they will find a cracked line or a crack in the condenser or dryer.

If the mechanic actually put a gauge on your system and found that it needed a charge, the problem not not likely electrical. If he just threw out a guess without looking at the system, then it could be just about anything. I would not trust a mechanic who offers an opinion without doing any basic troubleshooting first. BTW, they are entitled to a fee for doing the basic troubleshooting, it takes some of their time.

You can check the system yourself, but you need to do a little study first. You can buy a gauge to check the static (non-operating) pressure in your system. You can buy a can of freon with dye and a built in gauge and port for your system, but you need to be able to identify the high side from the low side.

The system is designed with different sized ports for the high side and the low side, but if somehow you got the can on the high side, it could blow up in your face if/when the pressure in the system builds up enough to make the compressor operate. For safeties sake, do learn the high side from the low side before you attempt to do anything on your own.

Read and follow all the safety instruction that come with anything you buy for this system. Freon escaping from the can will freeze anything it comes in contact with. If you get it in your eyes, it could blind you.

Thanks Guys! We will try all these things and hopefully find the fix is on the lower cost end of things. I am not opposed to paying money of course to do a job I cannot do. But at this point, AC in my car is a “luxury” as we are on a single income, so if it is something I(we) can do on our own or at least investigate further for as little as possible I would rather do that.