Car Freon Leakage

Our 2003 Toyota camry air conditioner was not cooling so we took it to a car bodyshop to have freon recharged. They charged us for 130 bucks and the next day the AC was not cooling again. We took the car back to the bodyshop and the guy told us the leakage was too small so they could not detect it. He referred us to another bodyshop and said they did not have the right equipment to fix the leak. But now I start to think if they knew the leakage when they did the service because if the leakage was so tiny that they could not detect, how could the freon be gone just in one day. I have absolutely no knowledge about carw, can anyone help? I want to know if the guy’s lying to me because now obviously i will need to pay another hundred bucks to have the leakage detected and fixed.

They shouldn’t have serviced it if they couldn’t leak check the A/C system. Any mechanic knows that refrigerant is lost ONLY through leakage.
The shop owes you $130 or a credible repair. Demand one or the other. Of course, they won’t be happy; but, your happiness as a customer is more important than theirs. Maybe, small claims court?

Car air conditioners are junk. They ALL develop leaks sooner or later. Why go to a body shop?? Any decent repair shop will have a freon leak detector that can find ANY leak quickly. This is A/C repair 101. If it’s low on Freon, then it OBVIOUSLY leaked out!! Recharging the system is a waste of time until the leak is located and repaired. Why mess around with $100 recharges when you can generate a $800 repair bill by restoring the system to original condition, as poor as that may be…

If recharging the system is all you want to do, so it will work for a few days or weeks or even months, learn to do that yourself. You can buy a can of R-134a for about $5. As you can see, A/C service is a VERY profitable business…

What hellokit and Caddyman said - you are being jerked around (boat payment?)

I’ll just add one thing though about Caddyman’s comment - I have a '97 Escort with all of its original AC equipment - no leaks, ever. It all still works great, though I am knocking wood as I type. Though I will say that is probably more the exception than the rule.

Right. Knock on wood. I do every time I move the lever to “hi cool”…Things HAVE gotten better, but the open compressor, rubber hoses, Shrader valves and O-ring flex fittings mean it’s only a matter of time…

I hope the word “bodyshop” is not being used to refer to a paint and body shop. That might not be the best place to have an A/C system repaired.

If the system was low then it’s leaking. If the A/C was cooling fine after the recharge then it’s a major leak and one of the most common sources of a major leak is the compressor shaft seal.

Inspection for leaks should be part of every A/C repair service and if they can’t do this then they should not be doing A/C work. An electronic sniffer will find the tiniest of leaks or they could even add dye and use a UV light to find a leak.

Sounds like a crummy job and they owe you in my opinion.

Maybe you don’t know cars but you knew when things wern’t right, I would work on getting as much of that $130.00 back as I can. You won’t get it all but approach the situation as you did in your post,explain that the leak must be large not small as they say, you did lose your refridgerant in one day.Good job.

They all do indeed leak, but I think a 2003 is pretty young to have a leak so bad that all the refrigerant disappears in one day. The shop should have shot the system up with dye, which can be seen under bright light. (and better under an ultraviolet or black light) It may be leaking from the compressor shaft seal, which may be hard to see, or somewhere else that is obscured so that you don’t see the dye leaking out, like the evaporator. It may even be leaking through the low-pressure fitting that was used to charge it. In any case, they should put dye in, charge it back up, and find the leak. A leak that bad shouldn’t be THAT hard to find.

oooh - don’t say stuff like “only a matter of time” - I’m looking for immortality man :wink:

Likely your town has an A/C or Radiator shop (they usually do both) and they are usually the real pros in town. No shop should have had any trouble finding a lean that was that bad. Besides, why would you go to a body shop for an A/C problem. that is sort of like going to the dentist for a broken arm.

It is quite common for body shops to perform AC work as these components frequently get damaged in accidents or need to be removed to repair other parts. The body shop owner probably saw how much money he was paying for sublet labor to get AC systems recharged and tooled up and got someone in his shop trained in AC repair.