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Car A/C Recharge Questions

A. Refrigerant (traditionally Freon, now being phased out) has two jobs: cool the air, and sustain enough pressure to blow air through the AC system. Lose a little -- and your AC won't cool the air like it used to. Lose a lot -- and your whole AC system can stop kicking in due to low pressure.

A Car AC Recharge fixes the most common problem diagnosed in Car AC Repair service: low refrigerant.

A. Vehicle air conditioner recharge service consists of vacuuming out used refrigerant and refilling your system with fresh refrigerant. We then test the air coming from your vents to ensure it's cooling your cabin to manufacturer specifications. If your low refrigerant is caused by a leak, an AC Recharge will follow other repairs to your climate control system.

A. It may be time to recharge your vehicle's air conditioner if:

  • Your cabin doesn't get as cool as it used to - If you're consistently turning to a cooler target temperature or running the fan harder (but the weather hasn't gotten hotter) you may be low on refrigerant.
  • You see refrigerant spills under your vehicle - It's greasy, filmy stuff, and it means you have a leak.
  • You can't hear your AC clutch engage when turning your air conditioner on - The clutch switch could be broken, or your refrigerant may be too low to achieve the pressure needed to activate your AC.

A. Your car's AC unit may be running low on Freon if it doesn't cool your cabin the way it used to. But soon, you may be recharging your AC with Opteon instead. Freon is a brand name for a family of fluorocarbon refrigerants that became so successful that many people use it as a generic noun. But the classic Freon was phased out to protect our ozone layer, and now the ozone-friendly Freon in most modern vehicles is being phased out to help address climate change. Chemours, the company that owns the Freon brand, has chosen the name Opteon for their next-level refrigerant. (For your next trivia night: Freon was trademarked way back in 1930 by Kinetic Chemicals, a joint venture of Du Pont and General Motors. Chemours is a 2015 spin-off from Du Pont.)

Sound confusing? That's why we just call it refrigerant. And don't worry. You can trust Midas to keep track of which refrigerants your vehicle can use and to safely dispose of your used refrigerant.

A. For most vehicle models, the manufacturer-suggested maintenance schedule doesn't include a specific AC recharge cycle. You'll have to be alert to declining AC performance or signs of refrigerant leaks. And take advantage of the Midas Touch® Courtesy Check1 whenever it's included in one of our services. We'll visually inspect your AC system.

A. Driving with low refrigerant is safe in the short term, but letting it go too long can increase your repair cost when you finally have your AC serviced. Refrigerant not only cools your cabin air -- it lubricates the seals in your AC system. Over time, the seals in your AC system can degrade from lack of lubrication.

A. The number one reason for your car air conditioner to blow air that's not cold is low refrigerant. (In other words, you need AC Recharge service.) Other common reasons are:

  • Clutch Cycling Switch failure - Your refrigerant can't pressurize.
  • Broken or blocked condenser - Warm air can't enter your AC system to be cooled.
  • Blocked or kinked airflow - Cool air can't get into your cabin.

If you need an AC Recharge, you've come to the right place. If you need service on the rest of your AC system, Midas can help. Start by diagnosing the problem. Learn about our Car AC Repair service.

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