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'95 Altima with no AC, is it worth trying freon?

I’m borrowing a car from someone, a 1995 Nissan Altima. It doesn’t have AC at the moment, the owner told me he had a mechanic look at it a year ago and told him the fix would cost about $80 but the owner doesn’t remember what it was (why he didn’t fix it then I don’t know). One person told me to try recharging the freon, but someone else told me to see if the compressor turns on at all…

So with the car running, I turn the AC on to max cold and I never hear the compressor turn on. Is it worth buying a can of freon at this point to try to charge the ac or am I wasting that money without taking it to someone?

Thanks so much!

It’s not your car… A $20 can of freon could blow the seals on the AC pump, or the condenser. Turning what may be a 80 dollar repair into $$$$$$$$$$$.

If you MUST have AC, look in the yellow pages and take it to a shop. They should be able to tell you in a quick visit how much, and what is wrong. Usually the $80 dollar repair is simply a recharge with dye to look for leaks.

BUT what if YOU blow something up? A responsible person would feel bad about killing the AC and making it worse wouldn’t he?

If the compressor clutch is not engaging, the system pressure is too low to deactivate the low pressure cutout switch. The original freon charge has leaked out so there is probably a leak in the system somewhere. It could be a hose, a O-ring, compressor seal, whatever. In addition to losing the freon, some oil is probably lost so the system oil level should be checked. If you put a can of freon into the system, it will probably leak out and the compressor (if it engages) may distruct due to lack of lubricant.

Hope this answers your question.

There’s a lot of reasons why should not do this.
The car is not yours.
Your friend was apparently too cheap to even spend 80 bucks fixing what was allegedly wrong a year ago.
If it’s out of refrigerant (proper term) then it has a leak that must be fixed.
You dink around with this and there’s a 90% chance you will be blamed later for any problems even if they existed for 10 years prior.
A/C work is not for a novice and can be dangerous.

No, you should not bother trying to recharge the system with refrigerant. Either spend the $80 to fix it or live without air conditioning.

That $80 repair was probably for something simple, like a Schrader valve. However, what is really wrong with the air conditioner is probably not that simple, and you don’t want to be blamed for whatever else is really wrong with it.

Air conditioning troubleshooting is sometimes so hit-and-miss that spending $80 for the repair might not solve the problem. You won’t get the $80 back, and will end up sinking more money into it.

You need to check the static pressure before you try to add a can. If the pressure is low, then maybe a can would help, but another $80 repair might have been the clutch relay.