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96 Honda AC stops cooling after couple months/dye test shows no leak

I sometimes get my Honda AC inspected, leak tested and charged (at a Honda dealer). The leak tests always reveals no problem. It always quits cooling after a couple months. When it does work, it doesn’t work well (like my wife’s 2003 Buick Century AC which has always worked well and never needed recharged). Is there anything else I can direct the technicians to consider? Or, should I just stop wasting my money every summer in PA and just use window AC?


Oops. I forgot to clarify that the “initial” dye test shows no leak; but it obviously leaks out after a couple months.

I would suggest finding an independent shop that specializes in A/C repair and with an electronic sniffer to check for leaks.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of dye checks and will take the sniffer any day of the week.

As to not working well, that can be caused by any one of a number of things. Knowing both the high and low side pressures at idle and elevated RPMs need to be known before even venturing a guess.

@bob812 since you’re losing refrigerant and the leak can’t visually be seen, I suspect the condenser or evaporator may be leaking.
Evaporator leaks are especially hard to sell, because you can’t show the leaking part to the customer until the entire dash and heater case are out of the car!
Condenser leaks are also sometimes difficult to verify, because it’s not always possible to see the whole surface area of the component with it installed in the car.
I once had a leaking condenser on an Astro van. The leak wasn’t visible until I had removed the grille and looked at the most remote parts of the condenser with a mirror! Once it was out of the van, the leak was obvious.

This is pretty much standard for 16 year old cars…I would learn how to blow a can or two of refrigerant in there yourself to get through the A/C season…It’s a pretty simple process…

@bob812 some mechanics and some shops are just better than others.

You’re getting the AC recharged every few months.
There’s obviously a leak.
These guys can’t find the leak.
You should consider bringing the car somewhere else to find that leak.
You can can still go to that Honda dealer for other repairs, if you trust them.

The schrader valves that Honda uses tend to leak if used after a couple of years. Next time it is low, have them replace the schrader valves before they recharge the AC. BTW, those dye tests aren’t all that good either. I tried that in our 97 Accord and it did not detect the leaking schrader valves, but I did an old fashioned spit test and the high side was leaking. I replaced both valves and its held ever since.

Thanks everybody.