How To Recharge Your Car AC? – Tips That Work

When the air conditioning (AC) in your vehicle starts to lose power and stops blowing cold air, it is possible that it is time to get the AC recharged. Recharging your air conditioner entails adding extra refrigerant to your air conditioning system so that it can begin producing chilly air once again.

It is essential that you be aware that charging your air conditioner is just a short-term solution to what is most likely a more serious issue. If it turns out that your system does not have enough refrigerant, then your air conditioning system has a leak, and you will need to have it examined and serviced by a trained professional. Because refrigerant does not evaporate in an airtight system, there must be some way that air is entering the system.

Even if it is possible to recharge an air conditioner at home, this is still regarded to be a more professional repair since it involves working with potentially dangerous liquid and should be left to a qualified technician.

How Does Car AC Work?

There are seven primary parts that make up the air conditioning system in a vehicle. The system operates in a closed-loop fashion and circulates the refrigerant all the way through. The following describes the function of each individual component in the puzzle:


The compressor, which is driven by a belt, draws in cold gas refrigerant, heats it up, and then pushes it through the loop of the air conditioning system. After being pressured by the compressor, the refrigerant travels through the high-pressure tube to the condenser, where it is discharged.


The condenser is responsible for converting the gaseous refrigerant into the liquid form. The heated refrigerant may be cooled down by the air that circulates through the condenser, which also helps remove heat from the air conditioning system. Because of this, the refrigerant transforms into a liquid. The refrigerant travels from the condenser to the receiver/dryer after leaving that component.


A container or reservoir that is used to assist in the removal of moisture from the air conditioning system. It is possible for the components of an air conditioning system to be damaged if water gets into the system and freezes. In the path between the drier and the evaporator is a valve that, in addition to reducing the temperature of the liquid refrigerant, also limits its flow. Because of this, the pressure might drop while the refrigerant is allowed to expand.


Inside of the vehicle, the evaporator may often be found under the dashboard. In the evaporator, cool low-pressure refrigerant is introduced, and when it absorbs heat from the cabin, it undergoes a phase change and becomes a gas. 


A common placement for an accumulator is between the evaporator and the condenser in a refrigeration system. It performs the function of a system filter and aids in the removal of moisture from the system, whether the moisture in question is water or refrigerant.


R134a, also known as 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane, is the kind of refrigerant that is used in air conditioning systems for automobiles. It is a chemical gas that boils at a temperature that is fifteen degrees Fahrenheit lower than absolute zero. Under pressure, however, this boiling point increases, and the vapor eventually condenses into a liquid.

How To Reacharge Your Car AC: Tools & Gears Needed

Recharging the air conditioner in a vehicle is not too difficult. Having said that, working on vehicles can be a hazardous and filthy endeavor. Therefore, you are going to require some kind of protective clothing in order to recharge auto AC in houses and vehicles. This is the safety equipment that will keep you protected.

  • Safety glasses
  • Mechanic glove.

Aside from the necessary protective gear, there are a few things that you need to have near at hand before beginning the procedure. Go to a shop that sells automobile parts and acquire the following goods.

  • Can of refrigerant
  • Thermometer
  • Hose connector (if the refrigerant doesn’t come with any).

Purchasing a vehicle AC recharge kit is a good idea if you want to avoid the hassle of hunting out each component required to re-charge your air conditioning system one at a time. It comes with everything you need to give your car’s air conditioner a fresh charge.

Before beginning a repair work, it will save you some valuable time if you arrange your tools and gears such that they are within easy reach.

To carry out the AC recharge in an effective manner, you will need to choose a suitable workspace. It is acceptable to park on a garage floor, driveway, or street parking. If you want to undertake the work in an on-street parking spot or a driveway, you should research the relevant local rules to ensure that you do not break any of them.

Steps On How To Recharge Your Car AC

We are going to walk you through how to utilize the AC recharge kits since the process that we are going to go through is really delicate. They have shown to be the solution that is both the most successful and the safest when compared to the alternative of attempting to perform the duty of a technician at home.

Step 1: Turn on your AC

Turn on your air conditioning and rev your engine. Set it to the highest setting.

Step 2: Determine if AC compressor is engaging

A device that transforms liquid refrigerant into gas and is powered by the auxiliary belt is called an air conditioning (AC) compressor. When the air conditioner is set to its highest setting, the clutch that is located at the very end of the compressor has to be rotating in unison with the auxiliary belt. Keep an eye out for these pulleys to move.

  • If the clutch on the compressor is truly engaging, then it is probable that there is insufficient refrigerant in the system; this is particularly true if the air is still flowing with a little degree of chill. You should proceed with checking the pressure before adding the refrigerant even if this may not be necessary.
  • If the clutch is not engaging the compressor, the air conditioning system either has an extremely low level of refrigerant, there is an issue with the electrical system, or the compressor itself is not working properly. After doing the pressure test, adding more refrigerant will let you to determine which of these possibilities is the reason.

Step 3: Test the pressure

To do a pressure test, first stop the car and look for the port on the low side of the vehicle. On most vehicles, the service port for the low side pressure may be found on the driver’s side of the engine compartment. It will have a cap on it that is either black or gray and will have the letter “L” on it.

A helpful hint is that if you are having trouble locating it, you should look for the two aluminum pipes that are protruding from the firewall (the metal wall that is located behind the engine), and then follow the pipe with the bigger diameter until you discover the service port.

Step 4: Attach the recharge hose from the kit

Put the quick-connect fitting, which can be located at the end of the recharge hose, over the port, and press down hard until you hear it click into place. This will allow you to attach the recharge hose.

Be very cautious not to pull the trigger at this time since doing so will cause the air conditioning system to discharge some of its refrigerant into the environment.

Step 5: Restart the vehicle and monitor the gauge

Start the car from cold and check to see that the air conditioner is set to its maximum possible level. Start keeping an eye on the gauge by keeping an eye out for the air conditioner compressor to engage the clutch. After the compressor has been started, it is determined whether or not the air conditioning system is undercharged by determining whether or not the low side pressure is higher than 40 psi. You need the reading to be as near to 40 pounds per square inch as it can get.

Step 6: Thread the refrigerant can onto the recharge hose

After you have threaded the can onto the hose, you will be able to gradually add liquid refrigerant to the air conditioning system. After the can has been placed, you will need to hold it upright and pull the trigger for a period of between five and ten seconds in order to add the refrigerant to the system. When you have finished releasing the trigger, check the pressure gauge to ensure that the system is not being overcharged.

Continue until you are within a few psi of the target pressure of 40.

Step 7: Return to the inside of the car and check the temperature

Put a thermometer into one of the air conditioning vents on the driver’s side of the vehicle, next to the steering wheel, and make a note of the temperature it reads. When completely charged, the device is capable of producing air at a temperature as low as 28 degrees. This may change somewhat based on the temperature of the surrounding air as well as whether or not the car has been moving when this information is being gathered.

If the pressure is more than 40 psi, then the low side pressure is deemed to be “high.” The overcharging of the system or a problem with the compressor itself both have the potential to bring about this issue. If the pressure reading is excessive, it is essential to get aid from a skilled mechanic since there may be damage that has to be repaired.

You have done an excellent job of recharging your AC! Your air conditioner should be blowing cooler air now, and the ride should be a lot more pleasant.

  • Caution: It is imperative that this point be emphasized as there is a high probability that there is a leak somewhere in the system if the refrigerant level was already low to begin with. Repairs to air conditioners require a high level of expertise, and this particular type of repair must be handled by a trained technician in order to ensure correct procedures and practices, as well as to prevent the refrigerant from escaping into the atmosphere and contaminating the air that we breathe.

Driving With Broken Air Conditioning

Yes. From the time when the first automobiles were put on the road until now, when an automobile’s air conditioning unit breaks down, people have been known to travel long distances in vehicles that do not have air conditioning. It is in no way dangerous to operate a vehicle without the use of an air conditioner. Your defogger will not function as well if the air conditioner is not running to assist it in doing its job, and this is the only potential threat to your safety. Even so, it will still blast air over the windshield, which may or may not assist in removing any fog.

Having said all of that, vehicle air conditioner recharge kits simplify the process of doing so at home that it is so simple that there is no reason not to at least give it a try. A low charge of refrigerant is the most likely culprit if your air conditioner is not functioning as it should. Although it is not the sole reason, giving it a go before looking into the possibility of replacing key components of the air conditioning system is definitely something you should do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should you have the air conditioning on your vehicle recharged?   

A: If you feel that the air coming out of the vents in your vehicle is warm, it is time to recharge the air conditioning system in your vehicle. Additionally, a maintenance plan for the vehicle should be created, and the refrigerant should be recharged in accordance with the recommendations provided by the manufacturer.

Q: How long does it take to get the air conditioning in your vehicle back to full power?   

A: It should take you anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to complete the procedure if you are doing it yourself utilizing do-it-yourself techniques.   

Q: Can I Recharge the Air Conditioning in My Car Myself?

A: AC refrigerant ensures that your vehicle maintains a comfortable temperature at all times. If it suddenly stops blowing cold air as it used to, this is a strong indication that there is not enough refrigerant in the system. You are in luck since you are able to replenish the air conditioning system on your own provided that your car utilizes R134a refrigerant. Naturally, I am aware of the thoughts that are going through your head. You want to know how to recharge the air conditioning on your automobile, right? R134a, right? Be sure to strictly adhere to the directions above.

Q: Does an AC recharge kit work?

A: There is a widespread misconception that the AC recharge kit is ineffective, however those people are incorrect. These sets are completely functional. Leaks in the system are the most prevalent cause of low refrigerant levels. If you are unable to fix this leak and continue to recharge the system, then your money is being wasted. These kits are produced by manufacturers of auto parts to repair low system leaks and to recharge the air conditioning. The fact of the matter is that bringing your vehicle to an auto repair to have the components of the air conditioning system disassembled can set you back hundreds of dollars. It is possible that you’ll have the same problem again the following summer, at which point you’ll be rushing to the repair shop. Rather of doing this, you should invest between 45 and 60 dollars on an AC recharge kit and correct the leak.

Q: How long does it take for an AC recharge to take effect?

A: When the level of the AC refrigerant drops, you should cleanse the system and then recharge it. This helps to maintain the temperature of the air conditioner, ensuring that you and the other passengers are always comfortable. It is not always going to be on, but the air conditioner will eventually kick on. A recharge should be good for up to three years of usage, unless you reside in a region with a persistently hot temperature and make heavy use of air conditioning. Naturally, you have the option to establish a preventative maintenance program for the recharging of your air conditioning system.

Q: How long does it take to fully recharge an air conditioner?

A: Whoever is responsible for the recharging will determine this. It will take trained specialists an average of thirty minutes to thoroughly purge the system of its previous gas and replenish it with fresh gas. On the other hand, doing it yourself may take up to an hour.

Q: How much does it cost to have the air conditioning on a vehicle refilled?

A: When you take into consideration that recharging your air conditioning system prolong the life of the compressor and keeps you and your passengers comfortable, the expense of doing so is really very reasonable. The price of recharging your air conditioner is determined by a number of criteria, such as the brand and model of your vehicle, as well as whether you maintained it yourself or contacted a qualified HVAC specialist. However, the cost to recharge an air conditioner by a professional is between $150 and $300 on average. You might save money by deciding to tackle the project on your own. If you want to buy a nice recharge kit and charge the vehicle on your own, expect to pay between $45 and $60.

Final Words

We have answered certain questions that are necessary to acquire the art of recharging your car’s air conditioning, in addition to providing appropriate information on how to recharge your car’s air conditioning. This should make it possible for you to tackle the project on your own utilizing the directions that were provided before.

In light of the fact that the procedure still seems too complicated to be fixed by a do-it-yourselfer, you should get in touch with an HVAC professional. It is entirely up to you to decide what course of action to take.

If you decide to go the do-it-yourself path, please check up on the laws in your area. Because you will not want to break the rules of your community, doing this is essential.