What Happens under the Hood When the AC Is Recharged in a Vehicle

2 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog

This time of year, it seems like every oil and auto body shop is running a special to "recharge your AC." Here's what's really going on under the hood when you get your vehicle's AC recharged this summer. 

Your AC Needs Help Cooling Off

The air conditioning system in your vehicle needs assistance in order to provide you with cool air. The air conditioning system circulates a substance known as refrigerant or coolant throughout its system in order to keep everything cold. When you take your vehicle in to get it recharged, the mechanics on duty will check the level of coolant in your air conditioning system to make sure there is enough circulating in order to produce cold air. 

Your Coolant Levels Determine the Next Step

When you bring your car in to get the air conditioning recharged, the first thing that the mechanic is going to do is check your coolant levels. How much coolant is still in your vehicle's system determines what steps the mechanic takes next.

  • Almost Full: If your coolant is almost full, all your mechanic is going to have to do is "top off" your coolant. Just like when your mechanic tops off your oil, they will just add a little extra coolant in to your system in order to bring it back up to the full line.
  • Close To Empty Or Old Fluid: If your coolant is not near the full line, looks like it is close to empty or the fluid looks degraded and old, your mechanic will have to take an extra step to get your AC up and running.

First off, your mechanic is going to empty out all the old coolant that is still inside your AC system. Then, your mechanic is going to add new coolant and fill up your system.

If your coolant was dangerously close to empty, your mechanic may also inspect your AC system for leaks. Your coolant levels should never get near empty if your air conditioning system is running correctly. By spending a few extra minutes, your mechanic will be able to identify and repair the potential leak.

Basically, when you go in to get your air conditioning recharged, your mechanic checks and refills the fluids. It's like an oil change for your air conditioning system. If you want to stay cool this summer, swing by your local mechanic shop, such as Modern Auto Air, and have them check out your coolant levels.