Camry A/C slow

My 2001 Toyota Camry V6’s A/C has been very slow get cold air through the vents since the weather has warmed up. I’ve heard of A/C systems needing to be recharged. We just had the 90,000 maintenance done on it 4 months ago.
Is this more likely the solution than putting coolant into the reservoir under the hood myself?

“Is this more likely the solution than putting coolant into the reservoir under the hood myself?”

This statement makes me cringe. If you need refrigerant then take your Camry to an AC shop. This is not a DIY project unless you are trained to add refrigerant. It can be dangerous to both you and your vehicle.

Only add coolant to the reservoir if the level is below the “add” mark. You most likely do need a recharge of your AC refrigerant. This is not part of the 90K service.

You are confused between coolant, a fluid that is in the radiator and used to cool the engine, and the freon type gas that is the refrigerant used in the AC. Take it to a specialist.


Also, if refrigerant needs to be added, you have a leak somewhere. Be sure to have the shop add a UV dye to the refrigerant so that you can find out where the leak is and replace that part, otherwise you’ll have to add refrigerant a lot.

“if refrigerant needs to be added, you have a leak somewhere.”

I am going to partially disagree with that statement

The car is 14 years old, and every ac system is going to lose some of its charge over time. If it’s 1 pound low, there might very well be a leak. If it’s only 8 ounces low, for example, that might be normal over the span of 14 years

I agree that adding UV dye is a smart move, to find any possible current and/or future leaks. Sometimes the leak is so slow, it takes months or years for the dye to become visible. Obviously, if it took that long, the leak was not rapid

It used to be the case a diy’er could add refrigerant themselves to fix a degrading AC system, and expect to be successful, but those days are past. The modern systems are much less forgiving of an over-charge, and the above comments are spot on, this problem requires the help of a specialist. The fix is probably not going to be overly expensive.

The slow to cool problem can be caused by two things.

Either the refrigerant charge is low, or the expansion valve isn’t functioning properly.

But in either case, a set of AC manifold gauges needs to be connected to the system to determine which is causing the problem.


Yes, if you don’t understand the difference between engine coolant and air conditioning refrigerant, PLEASE take it to a specialist. And by specialist, I don’t mean one of the quickie oil change places that offer an A/C recharge special. There are a lot of stores that offer cans of refrigerant that the do-it-yourselfer can hook up and recharge their own A/C. I urge you to stay away from these and have a pro look at it. Yes, it will be more expensive than a $15 recharge kit. But you can easily damage your A/C system if you don’t know what you’re doing. (and maybe yourself too) And overcharging your A/C can cause major problems–the cheap gauge on these cans will not give you an accurate reading. Also avoid A/C “stop leak” products like the plague. These will gum up your A/C system’s sensors and lead to expensive repairs.

Make sure your fan is running, variable resisters and fans can fail. When variable resistor failed, ac was fine on the highway, but not around town. Also check the manual to see if you have a cabin air filter, if badly clogged that could be a factor.

No need to take the car to a “specialist”

Any independent shop with an a/c recovery/evacuate/recharge machine and a 609 certified guy who knows how to use it will do

@db4690: By “specialist”, I meant a shop with the right equipment and technicians that know how to work on air conditioning. Sorry to muddy the waters.

@oblivion It’s fine

I realize there are shops that actually do specialize in ac work, and my point was the situation’s not drastic enough to go to those guys