Why To Avoid DIY A/C Recharge Kits

Posted July 1, 2022

Now that summer is in full swing here in Minnesota, one of the more popular things for car owners to try to do themselves is to recharge their air conditioning unit with a store-bought recharge kit. While this may seem for the typical owner to almost be too good to be true, let us tell you some cold hard facts around these kits.

Dangers of DIY A/C Recharge Kits
One of the biggest issues with these kits is that they do not get rid of the fluids and refrigerants that are still are in your system. Instead, they merely add refrigerant to what is already there, sort of like topping off your engine oil. While on the surface this might seem a good thing, it doesn’t address the root cause of your issue and may even lead to more problems down the road.

A/C Refrigerant Leaks
A little known fact is that air conditioning refrigerant does not evaporate, but rather it leaks. So, if your system is low on fluid, that means you are leaking that fluid right into the atmosphere, potentially causing harm to the ozone. This is especially if you are driving an older vehicle that’s using CFC-12CFC-12CFC-12. In fact, this refrigerant itself isn’t allowed to be produced in the United States anymore due to the issues it causes for the environment.

A/C System Contaminants
Different contaminants can leak into your air conditioning system, such as dirt, grime, and dust. This in turn can cause different components of the system to clog, causing further damage and limiting it’s ability to cool your car down.

Since manual recharge kits only refill your system, they can leave water and other contaminants still inside of it. When water is mixed with refrigerant it can do something known as hydrolyze, forming hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid which eats away at different car parts and creates sludge clogging the system.

Mixing Different Auto A/C Refrigerants
It’s never safe to mix different types of refrigerant together. This can cause unsafe chemical reactions and potentially damage the compressor or other parts of the system. If you do not know exactly what kind of refrigerant you are using, then make sure to bring your car to an ASE-certified technician to have it checked out before you use one of these cheap DIY recharge kits.

Other System Issues
Many DIY recharge kits claim to be able to fix current and prevent future leaks. Unfortunately, usually the sealant they use doesn’t work and, if it does, it tends to clog other parts of the system as well, creating bigger problems for your vehicle in the process.

For more information on your vehicle’s air conditioning system, give us a call at 651-426-0462 or click HERE to schedule an appointment with our auto care experts!

Categories: White Bear Lake Auto Repair


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