Recharging refrigerant in a 1998 Chevy Prizm

I recently bought a 1998 Chevrolet Prizm with a 2007 Toyota Corolla engine. The car is super clean, just needs a few cosmetic repairs. And, the A/C blows, but it’s not cold. I picked up a bottle of Auto Zone R-134a, and started to watch a YouTube video about how to install (if that’s even the right word) it, but I have no idea where my A/C compressor is. I know nothing about cars, so I’m hoping for some help!

You are not going to like my response.
It is easy to ruin an AC if done wrong. Worse you can severely injure yourself.
This is one of those things best left up to professionals.
If you still want to try it, ask around your friends or co-workers to see if anyone has actually added refrigerant to an auto AC, but if they injure themselves you might be liable.


Thanks! I appreciate your honesty. I didn’t thing it was such a major thing, so thought I could do it myself… however, my hesitation was that I am terribly great at failing when it comes to repairing anything that requires power, a motor, a cord, a battery, etc. (But I can build the heck out of a bike from Frankenstein parts!). I have a good relationship with my AutoZone guy, would it be OK to ask him to do it for me? I imagine that they would for a charge.

I have read the instructions on cans of DIY refrigerant and the best it offers is to replace ignorance with confused ignorance. And if there is air in the AC system, introducing enough refrigerant to the system can enable the compressor to operate which can damage a great many good parts.

Proper charging requires - total evacuation of the system-pulling a total vacuum (0.0BAR)-monitoring for 0:30 minutes to ensure no leaks reduce the vacuum- charging with the correct measured amount of refrigerant or charging to the pressures on a proper system operating chart.

Parts stores in my area call DIY refrigerant cans HAND GRENADES.

Find a good shop to do this repair, not a parts house.

No , you need a real air conditioner service place.

Thanks for the insight you guys. I thought this was a simple thing that couldn’t be screwed up, like an oil change. My stepdad knows diesel and conventional (is that what they’re called?) cars and trucks and their engines. I just don’t like asking for favors, but it sounds like this would be worth it. Thank you so much for your input, I could have made a really bad mistake with this little car that I love!!

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