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Refilling the Car Air Conditioner - Inspection and Diagnostics

Refueling a car air conditioner is the responsible thing, which must be approached wisely. To refuel by yourself or to use the services of professionals?

By David WardellPublished 3 years ago 5 min read

Car Air Conditioner: the Principle of Operation and Refueling

Nowadays, air conditioning in the car is not an attribute of the financial well-being of the vehicle owner, as it was still considered to be 10-15 years ago. The car air conditioner is a necessity, which can provide a comfortable climate in your car for relatively little money. In this article, we will look at issues related to the diagnosis and charging of the automobile air conditioner, as well as understand what is better: to entrust the work to professionals or perform everything with your own hands?

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Air Conditioner in the Car:

The advantages of such a useful unit include:

  1. Generation of comfortable temperature in the cabin;
  2. Maintenance of humidity at an optimum level for the car;
  3. The lack of effect of window fogging;
  4. Provision of effective interior ventilation, which eliminates recycled gases and unwanted odors from the automobile body;

The disadvantages include the need for regular diagnostics and refueling of the air conditioner, which causes additional costs and time.

Operating principle of the air conditioner in the car

First of all, you need to know the structure and the main operating highlights of the air conditioner. For any such unit, there are three main units: a compressor, a condenser, and an evaporative element. These are the primary units of the system; of course, there are also others. We will mention them below, briefly. The operating mechanism of an automotive air conditioner is as follows:

  • There is an isolated circuit within which circulates a cooling reagent—Freon (in the gas state).
  • By getting into the compressor, freon is compressed, and its temperature gradually increases.
  • Further, with a powerful jet of heated air, condensation, and the release of heat from the gas occurs.
  • The substance is then passed through a closed-loop, after which it enters the expansion valve.
  • It is then sprayed and moved to the evaporator, where freon is evaporated, resulting in air cooling.
  • At this stage, freon again takes the form of a gas and under low pressure, moves into the compressor.

Then the whole cycle repeats.

When It Is Necessary to Refill the Air Conditioner

There is a regular leakage of freon, which plays a fundamental role in the conditioning process. There is an optimal percentage of losses—about 10 percent. Refueling of the old air conditioner should be carried out at least one time in two years, with the new, it can be done every three or four years. Anyway, no matter what type of air conditioner you have—new or old, filling it with your hands is carried out by the same algorithm.

Reagent leakage from the air-conditioning system can be the result of:

  • The pipeline is not sealed, leakage occurs;
  • There is damage in the system of communicating tubes;
  • The main elements of the air conditioning system were corroded.

Selection and Preparation of Equipment

If you need to diagnose and refuel the air conditioner, you will need the following tools:

  1. Metric installation. Used to check the pressure level in the air conditioner.
  2. The tubes and hoses.
  3. Set of adapters and valves.
  4. A container with freon.

To date, car shops offer to buy ready-made a/c recharge kits for refueling of air conditioners. The cost of such kits starts from $150.

Experts talk about the need to use different types of freon, depending on the novelty of the car model and air conditioning system in it.

Consider all the necessary steps to assemble the equipment:

  1. A container containing freon has a special top opening, which is necessary to pierce with a sharp object—pierce it.
  2. Next, attach the hose with an adapter to the pierced place.
  3. The second end of the hose connects to the installation for measuring pressure.

Thus, the installation is assembled; you can proceed to the filling of the air conditioner. But before that, it will be necessary to set the correct values ​​of the basic parameters, such as temperature, humidity, and so on.

Automotive Air Conditioning Refilling Process

We came to the instructions on how to appropriately fill the air conditioner with your hands.

You must find the backbone area, and thoroughly clean the area around it, as even the smallest amount of dirt or dust, if it gets into the air conditioning system, can bring it down. Then you should attach the hose with which we will fill the air conditioner, to the union. Start the engine, and bring the number of revolutions to 1400 - 1700 per minute, run air circulation through the cabin at the maximum value, slowly open the valve on the container with freon. It is necessary to accurately monitor the pressure indicator, which should not be higher than 280 kPa. After a while, the cabin begins to receive air with a temperature of 7-10 degrees—an indication that it is time to stop the supply of freon. To check the quality of work, it is necessary to make sure that there are no gas bubbles, by looking into the filter window.

As can be seen from the above, timely diagnosis and refilling the air conditioner with your own hands is a complicated and costly process. To successfully carry out these works, it is necessary to purchase expensive equipment that is unsafe (freon cylinders can explode). As well as competently track the moment when you need to make a diagnosis. Also, the conditions in which the refueling of air conditioners should be close to sterile, to exclude the possibility of foreign particles entering the system that can wreck expensive equipment.

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