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Things to Know About DIY Vehicle AC Charging from the service professionals at Carr Subaru in … The information age has inspired many car owners to take on more of their own maintenance. At Carr Subaru, we're all for it -- when it makes sense. However, we want to warn you against using some popular A/C system recharging kits that are now available at your local auto parts store. These products can actually do damage to your car!

The A/C system in a modern car is extremely complex, and adding the incorrect amount of refrigerant to the system can cause it to work poorly. What's more, there are a number of important procedures you may need that these DIY canisters just don't help with. Instead, we always recommend visiting our service center to have your A/C system recharged by our trained technicians. We have special tools that allow is to do this procedure the right way. At Carr Subaru, we simply don't believe in cutting corners.

Below, we've gathered four reasons why it's best to trust the pros at an authorized Subaru dealership when your car needs air conditioning service.

1. DIY A/C Charging Does Not Patch Most Leaks

If your car's A/C system was working well one day, then stopped blowing cold the next day, your A/C system may have sprung a leak. That means you'll need to have a technician locate the leak and patch it before the system can be refilled with refrigerant. While there are some compounds in these products that are designed to fill small leaks, bigger leaks will still remain. At Carr Subaru, our technicians have special tools that can help us find leaks on your car, so we can patch them properly. If you use a DIY A/C recharge can on your car with a leak, all that gas will come right back out of the system -- and you'll have wasted your money. It's one more reason we think it's smart to trust the pros whenever it's time to recharge your car's A/C system.

 
 

2. DIY A/C Charging Does Not Measure By Weight

Once your A/C system is completely empty, we just need to know how much refrigerant goes into your particular car's system. This specification comes direct from the manufacturer, and it tells us how much refrigerant to add by weight. By contrast, DIY A/C recharge cans have a simple pressure gauge. That means, even if you get the pressure to the correct level, the actual weight of the refrigerant in the system is a mystery. If there's too much, the system can be damaged; and if there's not enough, your A/C might not work well. Instead, trust the pros who can properly measure the refrigerant going into your car.

 
 

3. DIY A/C Charging May Not Work On Very New Or Very Old Cars

Most DIY canisters are filled with the R-134a type of refrigerant. This is the type found in most cars on the road today -- but classic cars built before 1994 were designed for R-12 refrigerant. What's more, many of today's newest cars use the latest refrigerant called R-1234yf. You cannot mix refrigerant types, and putting the wrong refrigerant in your car will cause damage to the air conditioning system! If you're not sure which kind of refrigerant your vehicle takes, DIY A/C charging may not be for you.

 
 

4. DIY A/C Charging Does Not Evacuate Old Refrigerant

The reason your car's A/C system needs to be recharged is that, over time, the refrigerant gas that makes the system work will leak out of the system. This process can take many years -- but, eventually, every vehicle will need its A/C system recharged.

When you use a DIY canister to add more refrigerant, you can't be sure how much is remaining in the system! This can lead to overcharging the system, which can cause significant damage. Instead, our professionals will begin by vacuuming out all the refrigerant from your car's A/C system. This also removes any moisture that got into the system, which can also cause your A/C to run poorly. Then, once we know your car's A/C system is totally free of stale refrigerant and moisture, we can fill it up with fresh refrigerant the correct way.

 
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