CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How to get one more summer out of an old crappy A/C

My leaky A/C was diagnosed last summer and I was told that the system would need to be O/H and pretty much replaced in order to work properly.



However it still cools at 41 degrees and the compressor still cycles,



it just still leaks.



Will a fresh recharge this spring with a can of stop leak do the trick? How about that “high mileage” refrigerant with leak sealers built in?



I’m not willing to invest the money to properly repair the a/c. The car is 21 years old and rusted through with a carburetor and I will be getting rid of it next year.



Advice? Thanks.

It doesn’t sound like you have much to lose. Run it until it loses pressure and give the stop leak stuff a try, it will either work or it won’t. If it doesn’t work, you will be hot.

Any idea where the leak is ?

If it’s the compressor seals, there isn’t much you can do other than overhaul or fit a replacement. If your car uses R12, the recharges might cost more than an overhaul ~ that stuff is hard to get and isn’t cheap.

Your leak might be a simple o-ring leak. These are usually easy to find and repair. Less than $100. On the other hand, a $15 can of R134a with oil, sealant and a built in connection fitting will likely get you through the summer. I have used the coolant with sealant and the systems always continued to leak. Your results may differ.
I just caught the 21 year old bit. There is a R-12 replacement called Freeze 12. It much cheaper than regular R-12. I have only seen this coolant in cans that require a special hose or manifold set to install. Your cost differential is getting smaller.