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Air Conditioning Cost Question

I have a 1994 Skylark which I picked up used in 2005. The AC still works but it needs to be charged. I never bothered in the Northeast because it was bearable. In the Southeast, it is not.

What is the charge for this these days? I know they don’t use Freeon or whatever its called anymore and I friend told me you can’t even do it yourself because they don’t sell the kits. He told me its around $300. Well, for that amount of money my car is just going to have to feel like the Space Shuttle re-entering earth’s atmosphere.

Is he correct? Any advice as always is most appreciated.

Well, for that amount of money

First, make sure what’s in it, the changover from R-12 happened right around '94. Second, if it’s the new stuff, you can get a recharge kit at any parts store, if it just needs a bit of a recharge.


Thank. It probably needs a big recharge. I’ll look into the kit but would probably prefer to have a mechanic do it.

I don’t recommend the DIY recharge kits. I believe automotive AC requires specialized equipment and knowledge, which neither you nor I have. If you refill it yourself the new refrigerant will just leak out the same place(s) all the old refrigerant went, and you’ll be back where you started.

Take the car to a shop that specializes in automotive AC and let them tell you what you need.

I can tell you this: $300 doesn’t go too far when you start working on the AC.

Mcparadise is correct. $300 is going to the tip of the iceberg here. And indeed 1994 was during the changeover from R12 to R134a. I’ve seen Dodges as old as 1993 that have R-134a, and I know ford was almost entirely switched over by 1994. I would guess that GM would be switched over by then as well. If that’s indeed the case, recharging it will be cheaper. But a recharge doesn’t fix the real problem. Your AC system has a leak, and it’s going to fix itself. You’re going to need to determine how bad and where the leak is, and you’re going to want a qualified person to perform the dye test and go from there. Again, I fear $300 isn’t going to get you very far in this endeavor.

I appreciate all the replies folks. Thanks very much. Now, another nagging issue has arisen which makes the AC seem like a non-issue. In fact it was so annoying I didn’t even notice the intense heat while driving the car. I’ll be posting that shortly.

There are DIY recharge kits. Even for the new stuff. Wall-Mart even sells it.