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How Long Does Freon Last in a Car?

  • Car Services
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 6 minutes

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Your car needs regular maintenance and tune-ups if you always want to see it in good condition. However, you may be unaware that their car’s cooling system also needs routine maintenance. You Freon is an important cooling system component since it keeps the engine cold and running capably. So, knowing how long freon lasts in a car is vital! 

Ideally, car freon should last the life of the car. You needn’t change the freon in your car as long as the climate system continues to cool. The freon won’t last when there is damage, such as a leak in your car’s air conditioning system.  

So, do you want to know more about freon? Then keep reading our blog to understand what freon is and how long it lasts in a car! 

how long does freon last in a car

What is a freon?  

Before knowing how long freon lasts in a car, you must understand what a freon is! It is a non-combustible, odorless, and colorless gas utilized in ACs as a refrigerant. It is primarily responsible for collecting heat from a car’s interior and ousting a cool blast of air from the AC system. 

R12 (Freon 12) got banned in 1994 after discovering it caused ozone layer depletion. Because of its adverse environmental impact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the manufacture of R22 (Freon) in 2020. Since 1994, most cars have been using R134a since it has a less adverse effect on the ozone layer than R12 as it is CFC-free. However, scientists concluded in 2011 that R134a also increases global warming. 

After 2021, many automobile manufacturers stopped using R134a in newer models.  

How long does freon last in a car?


Ideally, a freon should last in a car for around 3-4 years. Leaks, adverse weather, and frequent use of the system may demand more frequent inspections. With good care and maintenance, freon gas life can extend up to five years. The duration will be less if you frequently use your car for long travels. 

But many mechanics have a misconception that freon will last in a car’s air conditioning system indefinitely. But this is not the case. When freon leaks from a car’s AC system, the system stops functioning properly. The only solution to this issue is to replace the freon with a new refrigerant. 

What are the signs of freon loss? 

So, what symptoms indicate your car is low on freon? A car’s heated interior is the most evident symptom. So, if your AC isn’t blowing out cold air, you’re probably out of freon. These are some other symptoms that you should notice.  

Is the air warm or cold? 

Suppose the air conditioner cannot maintain a cool temperature in the cabin, especially in hot weather. In that case, you must check the freon level immediately. 

Visible leaks of refrigerant 

When refrigerant leaks, your AC system is no longer sealed. It’s leaking if you discover a thin, oily liquid beneath the hood around the compressor. There will also be a leak within the cabin or under the car. If you see these leaks, it’s time to service your car’s AC. 

The AC clutch isn’t engaging 

You should be able to hear a ‘click’ sound every time you switch on your air conditioner. It indicates that the compressor clutch has already been pressurizing the freon. 

A frozen compressor 

When a car compressor begins to build up ice, it indicates that coolant is leaking out, just like an air conditioner in your home. It also suggests that there is excess moisture in the system. Be mindful that a low level of freon in the AC system can spoil the overall operation of your car. Freon depletion can harm the compressor and reduce gas mileage by forcing the AC to work harder. 

What are the factors that impact freon maintenance? 

Ideally, the freon should last the lifetime of your car. However, these factors can impact the car’s air conditioning system.  


When temperatures are high, your air conditioner will work harder. The outside temperature can impact how soon other air conditioning system components wear out. 

Your car’s type 

Typically, older cars will have noticeable freon leaks. 

How frequently do you drive the car? 

Suppose you use a car and have already traveled thousands of miles. In that case, there may be a few leaks in the AC system due to wear and tear. 

How much does it cost to refill freon in a car? 

If you do it in a shop, a freon recharge costs between $150-$300, and this generally includes a leak test. The brand and model of your car and the amount of required freon determine the recharge cost. Another option is to refill the freon manually. A do-it-yourself project will greatly reduce costs because you can buy the refill kits for $40 to $60. 

Be mindful that freon is a dangerous material that, if inhaled, can cause disease. So It is best to have your car’s AC recharged properly. We recommend you take the car to a skilled mechanic since they have the necessary equipment to check for leaks or other problems before replacing the freon. 

Know about how to recharge AC in your car!

How long does freon last in a car with a leak? 

If there is a leak, freon will flow out while replacing. So depending on the severity of the leak, freon will only last a few weeks to a few months. There could also be multiple leaks, causing freon to deplete faster. 

How often does freon need to be replaced in a car? 


Most AC systems in a car last for around 3-4 years, or five years, with recharging freon. Freon is a refrigerant recirculated in a closed system in your car to cool the interior. Since the car utilizes freon in an enclosed system, your car may never run out of it. 

What happens when a car is low on freon? 

If the freon levels are low, the clutch won’t engage, indicating insufficient refrigerant to pressurize the compressor. So, your air conditioner won’t have anything to work with! 

Here’s how you can clean the car’s air vents!

Will low freon damage a compressor? 

A low freon level can cause compressor failure and reduce the efficiency of the overall air conditioning system. This problem occurs when the evaporator coils freeze due to low refrigerant levels. Ice buildup eventually leads to coil insulation and slows down the cooling process. 

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