4 Signs That Your Car A/C Needs to be Recharged

  • August 22, 2022
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What is an air conditioning recharge? It's the process of refilling your vehicle with the proper amount of refrigerant. We'll walk you through what an A/C recharge is and how to tell if it's time to schedule an A/C service appointment.

What Is an A/C Recharge in a Car?

As mentioned above, an A/C recharge might mean topping off the refrigerant in your vehicle's air conditioning system. However, the A/C system is a closed loop — so when it's functioning properly, there should be nowhere for the refrigerant to leak from. Instead, the refrigerant follows a constant, recurring path through components like the evaporator, condenser, and compressor to cool your car.

How to Recharge a Car's A/C

If the refrigerant in your vehicle is low, there is likely a leak in the air conditioning system. Topping off the refrigerant may help get your A/C to blow colder temporarily, but the issue will likely return — which is why it's important to schedule an expert A/C diagnostic or service at Firestone Complete Auto Care.

Our professional technicians will identify the source of your A/C system's leak and repair it after your approval. After all, leaks have been fixed, our technicians will pull the A/C system into a vacuum to remove all moisture from the system. Then, we fill it with the proper amount of refrigerant according to OE specs. Once these steps are complete, we'll confirm the pressures and duct temperatures to ensure everything is running properly.

How Often Do You Need to Recharge Your Car's A/C

Since the air conditioner is a closed system, it should not need to be recharged that often — compared to an oil change or tire rotation service. Always check your owner’s manual for your Manufacturer Suggested Maintenance Schedule. OEs may ask you to regularly inspect parts of your HVAC system.

Note: Some hybrid and electric vehicles require a properly maintained and working A/C system as it may be used to help cool the high-voltage battery pack. 

It's important to understand the signs that your car's A/C needs to be serviced or recharged. This way, you'll know when to schedule your appointment at Firestone.

How to Tell if Your Car A/C Needs Recharging

Does something seem off with your vehicle’s A/C? Here are four signs to help you determine if it's time to schedule an appointment.

1. Your car is blowing warm or hot air instead of cold

Perhaps the easiest way to identify an issue with your air conditioner is if your vehicle is blowing warm or hot air. If your vehicle is too low on refrigerant, the evaporator core will not reach the optimal temperature for cooling. The air may start out cold, then blow warm. Or, it may never cool down at all. Either way, it's time to schedule an A/C Performance Check.

2. Your car is visibly leaking refrigerant

Have you noticed frost or wet spots around A/C component welds or on A/C lines under the hood? These issues coupled with your vehicle not blowing cold, may indicate that you need A/C service.

3. The A/C clutch is not engaging

The A/C clutch on your compressor engages whenever you turn on your air conditioner, and it usually sounds like a small click. The clutch relies on the pressure of the system to engage on most vehicles. If the refrigerant is too low or too high, the vehicle may not allow the compressor clutch to engage. Whatever refrigerant is in the system won't be circulated, and your car won't cool. 

4. There's a weird smell coming from your vents

Weird smells do not belong in your vehicle's A/C vents. Typically, a strange odor means water or mildew is present in the system. Several factors could cause this, so it's best to head into your local Firestone repair shop for A/C services

Get Cool With an Expert A/C Performance Check at Firestone

Is it time to recharge your vehicle's air conditioning? Maybe your A/C compressor is making loud noises when turned on? Keep it cool with a professional A/C service from the experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care. Schedule an appointment online or visit your local Firestone Complete Auto Care today.

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