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Air Conditioning in a Car: When It Doesnt Blow Cold Enough

If someone’s air conditioner is not blowing cold enough, we are often asked if it’s because they are low on refrigerant, and will adding more refrigerant to the system solve the problem? Our answers?

Not necessarily, and No! There are many reasons why your air conditioner may not be working correctly.

For one, temperature controls may not be functioning as they should, which has nothing to do with the system charge (refrigerant level). If the system charge is low, there is most likely a leak somewhere in the system. This leak allows air and moisture to get into the system as well as loss of refrigerant. If the cause of the leak is not repaired and the air and moisture are not purged from the system, the refrigerant will mix with the moisture and create hydrochloric acid. This acid will deteriorate the components of the system from the inside out. Not good!

If your air conditioning system is not performing correctly, please have it examined by a professional with the correct equipment to both diagnose and repair the system defect. The most critical piece of equipment that is required is a refrigerant identifier. There are only two types of refrigerant that should be in an automobile’s A/C system (depending on the age of the vehicle): R-12 (older vehicles) or R-134A. If anything else is put into the system, it is considered contaminated and must be removed from the system and handled as contaminated waste. As an example, if your system is using R-12 and another type of refrigerant is added, there is the potential for serious damage to your vehicle.

There is also equipment needed to check the operation of the A/C system that is dedicated to either R-12 or R-134A, as well as equipment that checks for external leakage of the refrigerant and finds the source of the leak.

Be aware that many quick lubes and repair facilities may be putting the wrong refrigerant into automotive A/C systems because of a lack of knowledge, training, or correct equipment, so don’t hesitate to ask your shop if they are using the correct equipment before they work on your vehicle.

Do you know which A/C refrigerant is the correct one for your car?

Donna McCord

Owner, Dean’s Automotive, Inc.


Air Conditioning
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