What Causes the AC System to Leak?

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Your car’s air conditioner is responsible for keeping the interior cool and comfortable on hot days. However, in order to do that, you need the right level of refrigerant in the system. If your refrigerant is low, the air conditioner may blow warm or hot air. A special switch is designed to sense when there isn’t enough pressure (or when pressure is too high) and disengage the AC compressor clutch, which operates the compressor to pressurize the system.

Causes of low refrigerant

There are a number of potential causes for low refrigerant in your car’s AC system. Some refrigerant is lost naturally over time. It takes years, though, so if your car isn’t that old or the system has been recharged recently and is now blowing warm air again, chances are good that you’ve got a leak somewhere.

There are two causes of AC system leaks – age and moisture. While much of your air conditioning system is made of metal, including the high pressure lines, rubber is still used throughout. You have rubber O-rings, grommets, lines and more. The problem here is that rubber degrades over time and with exposure to heat and moisture. As that wear accelerates, the affected part will fail. Something as simple as a degrading O-ring can cause you to loose refrigerant surprisingly quickly.

Other sources for a leak include:

  • Failed Seal
  • Failed Hose

That’s not the end of it, though. If you have a leak in your air conditioning system, it’s possible that moisture has entered the lines. Moisture in an automotive AC system is very bad. It mixes with the refrigerant left over and creates a type of acid. Once your system is contaminated with moisture, it’s very possible that other components will be affected and require replacement. This can include:

  • The receiver/dryer
  • Accumulator

Detecting the leak in a timely manner is vital. If you wait too long from the initial point of AC malfunction, moisture will enter the system. Locating the source of a leak depends on the type of system you have. Some are pre-injected with UV dye, while others will have to be charged with dye. In both cases, a black light held over the engine will show where the refrigerant is leaking.


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Oreste

12 years of experience
111 reviews
Oreste
12 years of experience
Nissan Sentra - AC is not working - Miami, Florida
Oreste is extremely knowledgeable and professional. He fixed my car quickly and knew exactly what I was asking about and made me felt confident I was getting excellent service. He is a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend him!
Mini Cooper - AC is not working - Miami, Florida
Excellent mechanic , he know all abou the Minicooper engines , he fixed the fail and check all , he did a great job

Joe

41 years of experience
704 reviews
Joe
41 years of experience
BMW 740i - AC is not working - Saint Petersburg, Florida
Great guy. Knows his stuff and easy to work with. Very friendly and helpful. Knows BMW and that’s important to me. Highly recommend.
Honda Odyssey - AC is not working - Tampa, Florida
As expected - Joe was great. Insightful, helpful and explained everything. Will book again without hesitation.

Brian

21 years of experience
238 reviews
Brian
21 years of experience
Honda Odyssey - AC is not working - Jacksonville, Florida
Very knowledgeable and courteous. He was able to quickly diagnose the problem and tell us how to fix it! Thanks Brian!!
Nissan Rogue - AC is not working - Jacksonville, Florida
Amazing service!!! Brian was timely, professional, informative, and this service is just SO convenient. This was my 2nd time booking with Brian via Yourmechanic.com and it wont be my last!!

Benji

20 years of experience
62 reviews
Benji
20 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - AC is not working - Paradise Valley, Arizona
Benji was beyond professional and handled our issue with speed. Super efficient and went above and beyond!
Land Rover Range Rover - AC is not working - Scottsdale, Arizona
Very knowledgeable! On time, kind, Courteous. Definitely a master technician. Identified the issue Immediately and resolved quickly! A pleasure to work with.

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