Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Often Does an AC System Need to Get Recharged?

ac recharge

Your car’s air conditioning system is a lot like your home’s central heating and air, and even more closely resembles the system that keeps your refrigerator cool. It relies on refrigerant to operate – when the refrigerant gets low, the system won’t cool properly, and it might not work at all.

How often does an AC system need to get recharged?

First, understand that your system may never need to be recharged. While some amount of refrigerant loss is possible, even normal with some systems, it’s a minute amount, and it shouldn’t affect system operation. With that being said, most of us aren’t that lucky and you’ll find that your system begins to perform less and less as the years pass.

To get back to the question of how often an AC system needs to be recharged, the answer is, “it depends.” There’s no service or maintenance schedule here – you don’t need to recharge your air conditioning system every year, or even every two years. The best indicator that you need to recharge the refrigerant is when the system begins to cool less than it used to, but before it stops cooling completely.

When your system doesn’t blow as cold as it once did, you need to have it inspected. A mechanic will check the system for refrigerant leaks, and then perform an “evac and recharge” service (if no leaks are found – if they find a leak, the damaged components will need to be replaced). An “evac and recharge” service consists of connecting your car’s AC system to a special machine, which vacuums all the old refrigerant and oil from the system, and then refills it to the proper level. After the service is complete, the mechanic will test the system’s operation and verify that the air conditioner is cooling to the automaker’s original specifications (by measuring the temperature of the air produced at the dash vents).

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance Related Trouble Codes: P2158: Vehicle Speed Sensor B P2160: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Circuit Low P2161:...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...

Related questions

Q: Air conditioning makes whirring noise

Hi there. Depending on where the noise is occurring, this will help determine what is causing it. If the noise is coming from under the hood, then it is the compressor. It is common for the AC compressor shaft bearing...

Q: How do I turn on the defroster?

The defroster is an important safety feature that increases your visibility through the windshield and front windows. When the defroster is turned on, fogging and condensation will quickly be eliminated. To turn on the defroster, press the Defrost button. ...

Q: Air conditioning blows hot air

The A/C compressor is the most likely cause of the A/C blowing hot air due to failure of the front seal or internal compressor failure. There may be other possible failures but would need a thorough A/C check to verify...