DIY Condenser repair/replacement

2007 Honda Accord LX 2.4 liter engine.

I purchased a can of r134a to refill my refrigerant in my air conditioning. in the process of doing so I discovered a leak in the front of the condenser. The leak looks as though a rock or something struck it and caused a small crack or fracture in the grill’s tubing. I used AC pro refrigerant which has leak sealing additives within it. so I assumed they might be able to seal it since it appeared to be small, I discharged some refrigerant and allowed time to pass for the seal secure to cure (5min or so), then I would repeat until the pressure held and no leak appeared present. Or at least that was my plan, a tiny leak still was present when I finished the bottle just a moment ago.

My question is… Do I get another bottle to finish filling the system until it’s in the green and hopefully no longer showing a leak? or should I begin the process of researching the repair of my condenser?

If the recommendation is to go forward with repairing the condenser or replacing it, what are the tips and recommendations?

Actually it sounds like a leak in the condenser (coolant part that looks like a radiator). I am not sure about repairs, but recycled or new should not be too bad price wise. Replace is my preference. Tips, have a qualified shop do the work.

Radiator? Air conditioning? Frankly if you don’t even know what part of the car you’re working on and don’t understand that the radiator has nothing to do with the air conditioning I would think you would be safer and better off having a qualified shop do the diagnosis and repair for you.

Back Up A Bit. You Purchased The R134A , Why?
Was Your A/C Not Working Properly, Not Cool Enough?
Next You Noticed The Stone Damage?

The A/C condenser sits ahead of the car engine cooling system’s radiator. Chances are it would take the hit from a stray rock, not the radiator.

Attempting repair or replacement of the condenser is not advised for the DIYer. You would be better off trusting the car to a technician certified in air conditioning repair and one who’s got the equipment to handle it. Get an estimate, first.


Derp. I did mean the Condenser. Is there any hope it would be sealed by the additives?

One can always hope.

If the condenser is leaking, REPLACE it! Don’t try to fix a leak in this item.

If you’re going to do it yourself, be sure you learn about replacing the receiver-dryer, pulling a vacuum, filling the system with the correct amount of the correct type of oil, and finally filling it with the correct amount of R134A.

Have a pro replace the condenser. I’d be stunned if the leak could be stopped with additives.

The reason the stop leak didn’t work at the condenser is, the condenser is made of aluminum.

The condenser takes the high pressure refrigerant as a gas from the compressor and converts into a high pressure liquid to the evaporator. This conversion creates heat. That’s why the condenser sits in front of the radiator.

Since the condenser is made of a aluminum, the thermal expansion and contraction of the condenser as it heats up and cools back down won’t allow the stop-leak to work.

The condenser needs to be replaced if you want the AC to work again.


AC repair is a very expensive area to venture into for a DIYer. A set of gauges and a vacuum pump plus all the miscellaneous hand tools of any good DIYer are needed plus a basic understanding of system operation and dangers involved. And as already mentioned stop leak is unlikely to even slow a leak in a condensor.

Since I already DIY most other area’s of the car and don’t feel like shelling out the extra cash for the tools. I think I’ll bite the bullet and take it to a shop. Hopefully the end cost isn’t too steep.

A nephew here in Mexico, several years ago, had a Yukon with low Freon. I urged him to find a shop if one exists. He added a whole bunch of Freon and suddenly it lost all pressure. I assumed he blew a hole in the condensor. The good news is it really doesn’t get that terribly hot here in the mountains.

My point here is I believe you can harm your system if you don’t know what you are doing. It wouldn’t have cost that much to have a pro put that freon in, but it will cost a lot to have the condensor replaced.

The condenser is already leaking so that cost is on the table now.

ASE, I often describe the AC condenser as “the little radiator” too, since it dissipates heat and, well, it looks like a little radiator. As a matter of fact, they’re all probably bigger than the radiator in the original Mini (the real one, not the reinvented version). In industry we’d call them all “heat exchangers”, a term that I often also use.

But I agree with everyone that a shop that does AC work is the answer. The expertise and equipment necessary isn’t in the average driveway.