Matthew Wright has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years and an automotive repair professional for three decades specializing in European vintage vehicles. Updated November 03, If your car's air conditioner isn't blowing cold airyou may need to recharge the AC unit.
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With the right tools and some care, you can recharge your car's air conditioning unit yourself and save money, too. This guide shows you how to do it. If your car was manufactured afterit uses R refrigerant.
Older cars use R12 refrigerant, which is no longer manufactured. To get the AC working on a pre vehicle, you'll first have to take it to a repair shop and have it converted to use R A leaky air conditioning system can't cool as efficiently; running it without sufficient coolant could cause permanent and costly damage. There are lots of different AC recharge tools you can buy, but most are for professional mechanics and are pretty expensive.
For the purposes of recharging your family car, an all-in-one AC recharge kit is perfectly sufficient. These kits consist of a can of R and a built-in pressure gauge. You can purchase AC recharge kits at your local auto store.
Follow the instructions in the package to assemble the pressure gauge part of the kit. Usually, the hose is already attached to the gauge. Before you screw the gauge into the can of refrigerant, be sure to turn the gauge counterclockwise until it stops.
There is a pin inside the assembly that pierces the can of refrigerant once everything is together tightly. This pin is controlled by turning the gauge clockwise until it pierces the can.
But you don't want to do this until you're ready, so be sure to back it all the way out before you assemble everything. Screw the rubber hose onto the pressure gauge and tighten it. This is also a 2013 vw passat ac recharge time to calibrate the gauge, which is a basic procedure. On the face of the gauge, you'll see different temperatures. All you need to do is turn the calibration dial to the outside temperature, which you can check with an old-fashioned weather thermometer or the weather app on your phone.
You'll recharge your AC through the low-pressure port.
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You should consult your owner's manual to be sure, but your vehicle will have a cap over the pressure ports. One cap is labeled "H" for high pressure and the other is labeled "L" for low. As a further safety measure, the ports are different sizes, so you physically cannot attach the pressure gauge or hose to the wrong port. To be safe, clean the outside of the low-pressure port before you remove the cap, and then again after the cap is removed.
This may seem like overkill, but one grain of sand can ruin a compressor.
With the port cleaned, you're ready to attach the rubber hose that links the car to the pressure gauge. The hose uses a quick and simple latching mechanism. To attach the hose to the low-pressure port, pull the outside of the fitting back, slide it over the port, then release it. Take a look at the gauge and you'll see how much pressure your system is building. Give it a few minutes to get the pressure up and equalized, then you can take an accurate reading.
Turn the gauge counterclockwise again to retract the piercing pin. Screw the pressure gauge assembly onto the can of refrigerant tightly.
Turn the gauge clockwise all the way, and you will hear the pressurized can pierce. Start the engine and turn the AC to high.
Give the system a minute to pressure up, then turn the gauge counterclockwise to start releasing the R into the system. The area of the gauge that corresponds to the outside temperature tells you when the system is full. As you add refrigerant, slowly rotate the can back and forth.
Don't worry if you are off by a few pounds. When you're finished filling, put the cap back on the low-pressure port to keep gunk out. Even if the can is empty, hold on to the pressure gauge.
Fixing the ac on a Volkswagen Passat