The car AC needs Freon or refrigerant to keep running smoothly. If it is giving you problems or not running as smoothly as earlier, the common reason is that it is running short of Freon. So, the easy answer is just to add Freon and get it going again. But, the problem here is that the refrigerant is quite dangerous and you always run the risk of overcharging or undercharging your AC. This can cause further hassle and unnecessary damage that you could easily have avoided. This is why you must be aware of how much Freon is actually needed.
Warning: If you have never handled Freon or are new to the world of automobile DIY, we recommend that you see a car mechanic.
How Many Cans of Refrigerant does a Car Need?
There’s actually no right answer to this question because every car has its own needs. However, a standard AC unit needs around 3 pounds. We highly recommend that you check what the manufacturer suggests, though, and not go blindly with this number. Some car ACs may need more, and some may need very less. Also, this makes sense only when you remove all the Freon and recharge it from scratch. More often than not, you will only need to top it off and not drain it entirely.
So, let’s talk about top-off now. This is usually required when there’s a leak. Get the leak fixed and add how much ever refrigerant is needed. Simple? Theoretically, yes. But practically, it can be very hard because there’s no way to know how much Freon your AC lost. This means you do not know how much to add! Unless you are absolutely confident in your skill, it is best to leave it to the mechanic. He will be able to help you and avoid the hassle of undercharging or overcharging. Of course, it will cost you a few more bucks, but we are sure you prefer this to the risk of damaging your AC completely.
DIY tips for AC recharge and top-off
In case you do not want to go to the mechanic, you will need to remember the following:
- Stop adding the Freon when the tube that connects the evaporator to the compressor is extremely cold. This is a handy tip when you are topping off the Freon.
- If you have extracted the Freon completely and are recharging the AC, we suggest you buy a DIY kit to make the process easier. The market has quite a few DIY kits that have everything you need including a gauge to help you measure the amount of Freon. The reading should ideally be between 25 and 40 psi for the low pressure gauge.
There you go! We hope this article helps you handle Freon carefully and do the needful for your car’s AC. We would also like to warn you again – if you are not confident, don’t do it!
Do you have any other tips that might help our readers? Let us know through comments, and we will add them here.