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A/C in a 97 VW Jetta

My car has been recharged ever more often since I bought it new. Last time it was good for about 15 months - early summer one year to late summer the next. That’s really not good enough since I live in LA. Took it to an AC/ radiator specialty shop, they used the purple dye and found no leak. Do I just recharge now and hope I can change cars before the time comes again? Do I have to go to the shop or can I use the recharge canister I found at the local car parts store? It says something about leaky AC systems and one friend was worried that in the process of sealing the leak this stuff would also seal off circulation of the AC system itself. Which sounds even worse than recharging every year.

Just find a good shop that can locate and repair the leak. It’s not magic, they just have to keep looking until they find it.

Using a dye to locate a refrigerant leak won’t reveal where a potential leak may be located. For example, if there’s a leak in the evaporator this can’t be seen with a dye. Instead the system should be checked with a refrigerant sniffer. This tool can detect leaks as small as a half ounce loss per year. And if there is a leak, this tool will find it.

As far as using a refrigerant with a sealer in it? I wouldn’t do it. The only things that should go into an airconditioning system is oil and refrigerant. Nothing else. Adding a substance such as this can cause problems in the system. Besides, if you add this stuff, and then need AC service in the future, nobody will touch it because of the damage it can do to very expensive AC service equipment. If you brought it to me and it had this stuff in it, I’d tell you don’t let the door hit ya where the Lord split ya!


Today I was told it could be a leaky compressor. I guess it could but at $1450 to replace plus flush the system etc. I’d have to be REALLY sure that would solve the problem. I’d think about replacing the car instead. How to know for sure about that being needed - and all that’s needed?

That doesn’t sound like a very solid diagnosis, it shouldn’t be that hard to locate a leak. Once you have a good diagnosis, decide if you want to fix it. If the cost of repair exceeds the value of the car, consider getting another car.