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How to recharge AC in a car – A step-by-step guide

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Do you feel hot inside your car even if the AC is switched on? Is your car’s air conditioning not blowing out cool air? In most cases, recharging the AC with a refrigerant will allow the system to blow cold air again. The good news is you don’t have to rush to a mechanic to get this done. With a little know-how and necessary equipment, you can recharge your car’s air conditioner. For a stress-free experience, use our step-by-step guide on how to recharge AC in a car. 

How to recharge AC in a car

Things you’ll need 

  • AC recharge kit   
  • Gloves  
  • Thermometer  
  • Safety glasses 

Step 1  

Before you begin the process, wear gloves and safety glasses for protection. Once you’re ready, turn ON your AC and set it to the maximum. Also, set the fan to the highest level. Next, open the car’s hood and check if the AC compressor is working. If the AC compressor is not engaged, the system has no refrigerant and needs to be topped.  

Step 2

Now locate the low side pressure port to check the pressure. It is usually located on the passenger side of the engine bay with the letter ‘L’ on the cap.   

Step 3  

Now attach the recharge hose from the AC refill kit to the port. Don’t pull the trigger now; it will release the refrigerant. Next, turn ON the vehicle and set the AC level to the highest. Monitor the gauge to determine the pressure. Refer to the table with the dispenser to determine the minimum and maximum pressure based on the ambient temperature.   

Step 4  

If the pressure is low, start recharging the system with refrigerant till it reaches the optimal level. Hold the can upright for good flow, and press the trigger for 5 to 10 seconds. Next, check the pressure gauge reading. When the gauge nears the recommended level, stop recharging the AC. Remember not to overcharge the AC system. It can damage the components.   

Step 5  

Now get back to the car and note the temperature inside the car. If you can feel the difference immediately as you get in, that means you have successfully recharged your car’s AC. To be sure, place a thermometer near one of the AC vents and see if the temperature has come down. But, if you still find the AC not working properly, we recommend you visit a mechanic since the issue could be more serious.  

How to recharge AC in a car – FAQs  

How much does it cost to recharge the air conditioning in your car?   

On average, it can cost you anywhere between $150 to $300 if you get it changed professionally. However, if you choose the DIY route, the car AC recharge kit will cost you $40 to 50.  

When should you recharge your car’s AC?   

If you feel the air coming out of your car’s vents is warm, it’s time to recharge your car’s AC system. Also, have a car maintenance schedule in place and recharge the refrigerant based on the manufacturer’s recommendation.  

How long does it take to recharge your car AC?   

If you’re using DIY methods, the whole process should take you anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes.   

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