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Refrigerant?

Everything works but it appears not cool enough.
My partner tells me that fan speed is increased to max compared to what we used to do.
Its a 99 Acura Integra with 140k. We never did anything to it.

Several yrs back I desired more coldness so a m/c put a thermometer in the vent told me its working fine.

I called a m/c and he told me that he will connect some equipment and check. If its low than $100 to recharge. Am I on the right track?

Update:
m/c - mechanic

I don’t know what an “m/c” is, but the standard advice here is to go to a good local air conditioning shop for issues like this.

21 year old a/c? i would not spend a penny fixing it because what you are discribing is a compressor failure.No amount of freon can fix that.

if you don’t trust the m/c, then find one that you can trust. $100 for a check and charge is not a bad deal.

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Don’t sound to me like sound advice not knowing what is wrong. Could be as simple as buying a can of refrigerant with a gauge and adding more if it is low on refrigerant. $25 bucks.

A lot of people use “m/c” instead of spelling out the word “mechanic” . . .

On a 21yr old car that’s no longer blowing cold, it’s obvious that some . . . probably a pound . . . of refrigerant has leaked out over the years

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Must be California slang, like “fresh smog”, we receive fresh smog from the California wild fires, days of overcast.

But if you are on a public forum using things like ( m/c ) when the energy to actually write mechanic is so low do you really want help ? Not every slang word or abbreviation is world wide.

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You ask nicely and any auto parts store will do it for free.

Some how I don’t think having a parts counter person adding to an air conditioner system who is not licensed is really a good idea .

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You’re definitely onto something

Just blindly adding refrigerant to a system isn’t the answer, either

I’ve encountered plenty of vehicles that have poorly working ac systems

Some of them weren’t working well because they were overcharged by 1 whole pound . . .

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This is a one in a lifetime maintenance for this car - I thought its prob best to leave it to professionals.

I took it there today and they did the following:

  • checked for leaks - didn’t find any
  • recharged it as it was 25% low

This car - AC works when driving not on idle.
I noticed the improvement after the repair but hope it will last!

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If it was 25% low then there is a leak. They just didn’t find it. Left unsaid is how they checked for leaks.

As for the A/C not working at idle that means there is still a problem and likely related to the state of the refrigerant charge, cooling fan inoperative, etc. What needs to be known are both low and high system pressures at idle and at elevated RPMs.

Everyone has their own way of doing things but whenever I service an A/C i always notate static pressure along with both low/high system pressures etc on the repair order.
Personally, I don’t think that they should have sent the car out the door like this without some kind of an explanation.

25% low over the course of 21 years is not terrible

Probably leaked out slowly, over those years

The best thing . . . in my opinion . . . is to inject some uv dye into the low side with the ac compressor engaged and the engine running.

Then check with the black light in about a month’s time. Might have to remove the blower motor and/or resistor, if you want to check the evaporator. But I’m not sure if you’ll actually see the evaporator. What I just described doesn’t work on all vehicles. On some, when you remove that stuff, you’re looking at the heater core, not the evaporator . . .

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@ok4450 & @db4690
I am not an expert on AC
Yelp did not give an AC specialist.

They prob did not use UV die - but 25% over 20yrs an issue? When I called around m/cs said they typically need to recharge on average 7yrs.

I am not saying that there is no issue on the AC - but I have no experience or knowledge on this to make a judgement.

I really felt the coolness when I left all the way to Costco. Then when I drove off from Costco, it might not have been that cool - unsure if the car got hot or temp went up outside or I was coming from much cooler place (Costco).

Is there anything else I should do to the car?
The m/c reported to the shop owner saying that its not cool at idle and about 25% low.

We do inflate tires periodically right - for Freon, I believe that there is a tough environmental regulation. Owner of the shop asked me if this is the first time I am recharging.

Generally speaking . . . a shop is not allowed to charge a system that they know for a fact is leaking. Let me further clarify. If your ac compressor is glowing green with uv dye . . . which means it’s 100% leaking, no doubt about it . . . the shop is not supposed to recharge your system and just send you on your way

That was probably one of the reasons why they asked if this was the first time you’re recharging . . .

They checked (likely without uv die) and did not find any leaks

Let’s be real. This is a 21 year-old car. All auto parts stores sell refrigerants and it does not require a license or professional experience to put a few ounces of refrigerant in the system. One does not have to be Einstein to do that.

It’s very easy to overcharge a system . . . and then you’re wondering why it doesn’t work very well

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Granted, some more info would help but since most people do not keep a car for 21 years and most automotive A/C units get dinked around with a number of times over the years my assumption was that the 25% loss happened over far less than 21 years.

The OP took it in with a problem and got it back with a problem. This means lack of airflow through the condenser (and I assume they would have to be blind and deaf to not notice an inoperative cooling fan) or there’s a refrigerant quantity issue. My humble opinion is that the latter is not correct. The OP should not have to travel at speed to have a sort of working A/C.

I can’t say that i agree with comments about pro experience not being needed and not being an Einstein to recharge an A/C. I wonder how many A/C systems get damaged each year due to DIY charge kits and how many DIYers get injured when things go south due to lack of knowledge. A statistic for which there are no numbers that I’m aware of.

I consider myself proficient with A/C work and in a few seconds of carelessness (outside in 108 degree temps and about to die…) I inadvertently blasted the forefinger and middle finger of my right hand with some R22 while getting a home central unit going for someone. Ten years later the fingertips on those 2 digits are still a bit numb from frostbite.