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How to Easily Recharge Your Vehicle’s Air Conditioner for the Summer Heat

Summer is just around the corner, and riding around in a vehicle that doesn’t have a cold air conditioning system is something we all hate. Being hot and sticky when you’re on your way to dinner with friends is the pits. 

The good news is that you can probably do something on your own to fix your A/C’s cooling problem. It takes years, but eventually, your A/C will run hot due to a shortage of coolant. 

Charging your vehicle’s A/C system is an important job, and it’s one you don’t necessarily have to break the bank to complete. You don’t need to pay a mechanic to recharge your system. The process isn’t really simple, but it’s entirely manageable. 

With a little inside knowledge, you’ll be back on the road in a cool cabin in no time. Take a few moments to learn a new trick, and check out some of the specifics of how you can charge your A/C with ease. 

Keep in mind: Always verify with your vehicle’s manual before working on it yourself.

Can I Recharge My A/C Myself? 

The answer is a resounding yes. You’ve probably seen the charging kits at your local Wal-Mart or AutoZone. Y

, but you should research the process before diving into it. 

Things could go wrong if you don’t know your vehicle’s specific needs. Overcharging the system can break things, causing a much bigger issue to manage. You could also be dealing with a leaky system, which would make all of your efforts for naught in the end. 

Pro Tip: This recharge kit is only $45 on Amazon

Woman sweating in vehicle with broken air conditioning
As temperatures rise, you’ll want to ensure your vehicle’s air conditioning system is working correctly.

How Do I Recharge My Vehicle’s A/C System?

The first thing you need to do is look at your vehicle’s manual. Check to make sure your vehicle’s cooling system takes the standard r134a refrigerant. Go to the nearest auto parts store, and pick up a coolant charging kit. You may need to get one with two cans of refrigerant if your A/C is totally drained. 

Then, take the time to watch a few videos explaining the process. You don’t want to miss a step. Having some competent guidance along the way will likely make you feel a bit more comfortable with the situation. The charging kit you buy will also have some pretty detailed instructions for you to follow. 

Some of the more important aspects you’ll need to pay attention to include the pressure gauge reading and the temperature of the air coming out of your vents. These two are what will give you the data you need to get the job done right. 

How Do I Fill My A/C With Freon?

The charging bottle you get with your kit is the freon. You know the can that says r134a on it? That’s the freon.

Adding more to your system will make the air coming out of your vents much cooler, but you have to make sure you don’t put too much into the system

When you’re ready to fill, squeeze the trigger on your bottle. Slowly turn the bottle upside down and then upright repeatedly while holding the trigger to help assure all the coolant is transferred to your vehicle’s cooling system. 

Woman turning up air conditioning in vehicle
There are many technical aspects involved in recharging the air conditioning system in your vehicle, so if you’re a DIY beginner be careful as you work!

How Can I Charge My Car A/C Without a Vacuum Pump? 

You only really need to use a vacuum pump when you need to clean the system before charging it. A vacuum pump works to flush and clean the vehicle’s A/C cooling system from the ground up. 

You likely don’t have a vacuum pump sitting around the garage. A simple chagrin kit will give you pretty much everything you need to take your next ride in a comfortable, cool cabin. 

Pro Tip: Using your RV air conditioner unit a lot? We uncovered Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner With Solar Power?

Can AutoZone Charge My A/C?

You won’t find an AutoZone in the country that will recharge your vehicle’s A/C system for you. While AutoZone does offer some simple services for customers, it doesn’t really center around performing mechanical services to customers. 

Instead, you’ll be able to find locations that have what you need to get the job done yourself.

You can purchase vehicle manuals, refrigerants, pressure gauges, complete charging kits, and any other tool you need to recharge your vehicle’s A/C system. Doing the job yourself will save you more than $100 on average. 

Is It Worth Recharging Your Vehicle’s A/C System On Your Own?

It’s totally worth it if you don’t mess it up. If you haphazardly jump into the job without really understanding what you’re doing, you could cause more harm than good. In that case, it’s not worth doing the job on your own. There are quite a few technical aspects included in recharging your vehicle’s A/C system, and it’s easy to miss something as a beginner. 

Fixing the possible damage you could cause will cost you way more than the price of paying a professional to charge the system in the first place.

If you’re going to do the job on your own, try to have someone who has done the job before close by. You need to be able to ask operational questions along the way. 

Again, here’s a great, affordable recharge kit.

Have you ever had to recharge your vehicle’s A/C system? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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