Things to Know About DIY Vehicle AC Charging - KIA Air Conditioning Service Questions in Olympia, WA

Over time, your car's A/C system will slowly but surely leak out the refrigerant gasses that allow it to blow cool, refreshing air into the cabin. When the system starts underperforming, and the air isn't getting as cold as you like, it's time for a refill on A/C refrigerant. But putting refrigerant in your car isn't like filling the gas tank! While there are DIY A/C recharge kits on the market, here are three reasons why we think it's best to avoid them. Instead, get professional A/C service for your car from the trained experts at Hanson Kia. We have the know-how to take care of your A/C system properly.

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Reason #3: It Could be Incompatible with your Car

If your car is particularly old or new, it's possible your car is incompatible with DIY A/C recharge canisters commonly found at auto parts stores.

Those cans typically use a mixture of R134a refrigerant, compressor oil and a leak stopping compound. Many classic cars built before 1994 use R12 refrigerant instead. Mixing refrigerant types is never a good idea, and can cause unintended consequences. In fact, the resulting mixture is so volatile it could damage the equipment used in professional A/C service -- and many auto shops will refuse to work on cars that have had the wrong refrigerant put in.

 
Get your A/C system recharged in Olympia, WA

What's more, many modern cars aren't compatible with these at-home recharge kits either. Some newer cars are equipped with a new, more environmentally friendly R1234yf refrigerant. And most hybrid and electric cars use a different type of A/C compressor which requires a different kind of oil. On these cars, it's best to leave the A/C maintenance to the pros.

Reason #2: Stop Leak Can Cause Damage

The delicate components of your car's A/C compressor and other aspects of the system can sustain damage from the stop leak included in most DIY A/C recharge kits.

Don't wait recharge your A/C unit visit Hanson KIA in Olympia, WA

In order to plug up small leaks in the system that may have leaked refrigerant, a stop leak compound is included in these kits. It's designed to fill small leaks so that your car's AC system won't leak any more refrigerant. But it often has unintended consequences! These compounds generally won't fix major leaks, while excess stop leak can gum up the works of your AC system. Evacuating stop leak from the system can be a major hassle, and some auto shops may even refuse to work on a car that's had stop leak put into the system!

A little bit of refrigerant will leak out of an A/C system that's working properly. If there's a major leak, it should be professionally repaired with the right parts. A DIY kit is only a temporary fix that's likely to make matters even worse over time.

Reason #1: Improper Recharging

Even if your car is compatible with refrigerant recharge kits and it doesn't have any major leaks, there's one fatal flaw in these devices: they don't measure the amount of refrigerant going into the system.

Sure, there's a gauge at the top that indicates the pressure in the system -- but that's not an accurate way to determine if the right amount of refrigerant is in the system. Refrigerant gas is measured by weight, not pressure. To properly recharge a car's A/C system, the entire system must be evacuated to remove any remaining refrigerant and any excess moisture. Then, the right amount of refrigerant is added -- by weight -- and the system pressure tested on both the high and low side of the system.

These cheap DIY kits only measure the pressure on one side of the system, meaning it's easy to accidentally overcharge the air conditioner. An overcharged system will blow hot instead of cold, and will need to be serviced by a professional to safely remove excess refrigerant from your car. What a nightmare! That's why we think it's better to get professional A/C service the first time instead of using cheap refrigerant recharge kits.

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  1. Hanson Kia

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales: (877) 816-5820

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Hanson Kia

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Sales: (360) 339-5079
  • Service: (360) 339-5079
  • Parts: (360) 339-5079