Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Recharging the AC

I have a 2001 outback and I bought a can or artic freeze to recharge the ac myself. I dumped the can into the low pressure valve while the blower wasnt engaged. Now it doesnt engage, It trys but doesnt go all the way on.

I know I messed it up but I am not sure how bad.

any information would be great.

You’re going to need to clarify. You can’t “dump” a can of this stuff into the system. That’s not how it works.

And the blower fan is irrelevant. That’s just the fan inside the car that moves the air. It is the compressor that “engages” - and this is a whole separate thing. You are supposed to run the compressor when you use these kits, largely to monitor the pressure but they can take refrigerant without the compressor running. So are you saying that your blower fan inside of the car isn’t working? What does it mean to say that it “tries” to go on but won’t go on all the way?

I have to say that it really sounds like you shouldn’t be messing with this. Even if your AC system is low and you can recharge it this does mean that there is a leak. You will not have the equipment or experience to find and fix the leak. So maybe its just time to take it to a good shop.

If the AC was not on HIGH/MAX AC, you probably didn’t add enough to do any good. With the AC off, the system ‘normalizes’ the internal pressure, and I’ve seen idle systems with static pressures of 100 PSI at both high and low side ports. With the system running, the low side will go to 25-50 psi and the high side will go to 200-350 psi.

I think at this point you should visit an AC mechanic.

Hijack-Ah ha that would explain why when I hooked the guage up to the low side it read 80 and I chickened out and never did put the freon in. Don’t remember if the compressor was running or not but must not have been.

I’m puzzled about your statement that the blower won’t engage. Do you mean the compressor? As far as those cans of refrigerant to recharge the system yourself, I don’t recommend them to anybody. I spent a number of years doing A/C work professionally (among other things), and I actually tried one of those recharge kits on my sister’s car. I followed the instructions on the can, applied my knowledge of how the system works, and was no better off when I got done with the can. I ended up taking the car to work one day and using the shop equipment to recharge her system, successfully this time. You probably didn’t damage anything, but you do need to have the system evacuated and recharged properly. I recommend taking the car to a shop with an experienced A/C technician to recharge the system, add some dye and possibly try to find your leak. A recharge with dye will probably run you less than $100.

Depends on where you live. Some parts of the east and north east seem to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer. I’m looking at record highs in VA tomorrow (low 90s). Very warm. Lots of humidity. I’m sure the DIY recharge kits are flying off the shelves.

ACs don’t use that stuff. The may get leaks so they need more, but if you are smart, you have the leaks addressed rather than just keep feeding it. In this case I recommend a local INDEPENDENT AC shop. In the north they are often radiator shops. Get it done right, that is cheaper and better in most cases.