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DIY Auto-AC Refueling Fails Many Vehicle Owners Make

In the dead heat of the summer season, you climb in your car, turn on the air, and start to notice that your AC system is no longer blowing nice, refreshing coldness as usual. Unfortunately, the problem just continues to get worse. If you are like many auto owners, when your AC system starts to fail, you will head to the local auto-parts store for a can of refrigerant and attempt to refill your AC compressor on your own.

While this over-the-counter stuff can work if your AC is low on coolant, it hardly ever works as it is expected to, and taking care of the problem like this definitely doesn't compare to having your AC system serviced by a mechanic. Here is a look at the common auto AC refueling mistakes commonly made by unwitting owners. 

Mistake: Not having your AC checked for leaks before adding the refrigerant.

Why? Refueling your car's air conditioner with store-bought refrigerant without first having it checked for leaks is about as bad as buying refrigerant just to release into the atmosphere. What most vehicle owners don't know about an auto AC is that refrigerant levels should not change unless there is a leak. This means that the coolant would not be too low if there were not some place where it was leaking out. An auto AC repair center such as Modern Auto Air can take a look at the system and check for leaks, and this usually only takes a few minutes. 

Mistake: Assuming more refrigerant must be better than less. 

Why? You fill the air conditioner's coolant reservoir to the recommended pressure, but it feels like the can you just bought is not completely empty, so you go ahead and add the rest. Unfortunately, this is never a good idea. In the case of AC systems and coolant, more than what is recommended can actually prevent your air conditioner from blowing as cold of air as it should. This is because the excess pressure will prevent the coolant from acting as normal, and, therefore, proper flow will be compromised. 

Mistake: Using the wrong refrigerant type to refuel the air conditioner.

Why? There are several different types of refrigerant used in automobile air conditioners. Before you go buy the first thing you find because it is affordable, it is best to know what kind of refrigerant the system already has in place. There is often a small label on the motor or compressor, but if not, take a look at your car's owner's manual to find the recommended type. Mixing refrigerants can lead to a dysfunctional air conditioner that will not produce cold air at all.