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Recharging & refrigerant (freon) for the auto A/C
Q: How can I tell if my auto A/C system is low on refrigerant?
A: The truth really is, there is no easy way to tell if your auto A/C system is low on refrigerant. The pressure gauge readings provide a pressure, not the amount of refrigerant in the system. Therefore, connecting a set of pressure gauges and taking a pressure gauge reading will not tell you that the system is low on refrigerant. However,  you should know that experienced A/C service technicians generally understand what the pressure should be. With that experience, they can quickly test for low refrigerant charge by adding a small amount of refrigerant (usually between 3-4 oz.). This is a common practice when diagnosing the auto A/C system. By adding the refrigerant, the service technician is trying to see if the pressure gauge readings improve. If they improve, then the small amount of refrigerant confirms that the system was low to start. If the pressure gauge readings do not improve with a small amount of refrigerant added, there are other problems or restrictions in the A/C system. More information is available about understanding the pressure gauge readings of your auto A/C system.

NOTE: Adding refrigerant to an A/C system may not be legal in some jurisdictions. We mention adding refrigerant for 'test purposes' only. Usually between 3-4 oz. is adequate to determine if the A/C system is low on refrigerant. From our experience, most jurisdictions allow for small amounts of refrigerant to be added for testing.


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Our list of FAQ's is growing, so please visit back often. If you can't find the right answer here, visit the auto A/C help and discussion board at the COOL ZONE. You'll get all the right answers to your questions about troubleshooting and diagnosing auto A/C systems.

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