Every month, our auto technicians at Loper’s Performance Center answer hundreds of questions about the recommended recharging intervals of a car air conditioner. We entertain many inquiries from business owners with fleets that contain thousands of trucks and utility vehicles, amateur racers with custom air conditioner parts, and average car owners who live in a broad range of climates.
Our repair team is proud to be a reliable source of information about automotive air conditioners. We fix more models than anyone every week.
Here, our repair professionals detail how to maintain your automotive air conditioning system, including the amount of refrigerant to buy per recharge. We will also give you pointers to help you keep cold air blowing through your front and rear air vents long after your service warranties expire.
How Often Do Car Air Conditioners Need Recharging?
Every Three Years, Depending on Climate Factors
At Loper’s Performance Center, our technicians serve many clients living in towns near the Sonoran Desert. This region’s temperatures are often sweltering, making cool air a commodity. Most people find it hard to drive when daytime temps reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as it often does in many areas around Arizona.
Refilling your air conditioner with the correct amount of refrigerant is essential, as is keeping its sensors and electronics free from damage. Working exclusively with licensed professionals is even more critical.
In temperate climates, climate control systems usually require a Freon recharge every three years. In states like Arizona, two and a half years is a stretch.
When Do I Need a Recharge?
You generally need to take your vehicle for an air conditioner recharge when it stops blowing cool air. Most of our clients prefer a proactive approach to AC upkeep. They create detailed maintenance plans with our technicians that include AC vent sanitation and health checkups at least once a year.
Unlike residential and commercial HVAC units, automotive air conditioners work in a close loop, recirculating pressurized Freon and absorbing hot air through chilled liquids passing through radiators. Refrigerant tanks require consistent pressure to convert Freon into liquid, making automotive AC systems vulnerable to leaks.
After a few years, refrigerant and system pressure levels will diminish. So, you will have to recharge them at a service center.
Is Every Car Air Conditioner the Same?
Automotive air conditioners come from numerous third-party suppliers, with many companies subcontracting their manufacturing to east Asia. Nissan is famous for having durable air conditioners that last longer than their Renault-designed engines. They subcontract their ACs to a company called Calsonic, well-known for making the best car air conditioners in the business until their acquisition by Fiat.
Toyota is famous for behaving like Apple, making nearly 100% of their vehicles with no subcontractors and third-party designers. They manufacture their air conditioners with internally sourced parts from the Toyota Industries Corporation, with facilities in Japan and China.
Trucks, cabs, and SUVs will have larger air conditioning systems that might be less fuel-efficient. Sedans and smaller hybrid cars create the least waste while cooling the air. For that reason, they only require a recharge every four years as they contain fewer parts subject to wear and tear.
Signs Your Car Air Conditioner Needs a Recharge
You Smell Strange Odors Whenever You Turn the AC On
Low refrigerant levels can cause humidity to rise inside your car vents, leading to mold and mildew growth. Mold spores travel through the air. If you smell strange odors when you turn the AC on, bring your car for a checkup as soon as possible.
Your A/C Clutch Does Not Work
Your A/C clutch depends on the pressure from your compressor to start up. Having too much or too little refrigerant can make it malfunction.
You Cannot Keep a Stable Temperature in Your Car
If you’re running low on Freon, your AC unit will blow cool air that will turn warm after a few minutes. If your refrigerants are 100% depleted, you will not detect cold air at all.
For Efficient Service, Contact the AC Experts in Phoenix, AZ
Loper’s Performance Center carries every car air conditioner part from every brand. We have a 9000-square-foot showroom where we stack components like AC compressors and vents from floor to ceiling. Our facility also includes a multi-bay performance shop, with a chassis dyno and a custom exhaust shop.
If you need an AC part for a classic, high-performance, or rare vehicle, call us at (602) 264-5288 for a free consultation.