Q: How do I tell if my refrigeration system is faulty?

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I find it necessary to add refrigerant every month or so. No obvious leakage visiable.. Works great when charged. Someone told me it is probably the unit under the dash. Any suggestion?

My car has 65000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

The refrigerant leak will in most cases not leave any evidence of where it leaked from. There are many possibilities in the system to leak. The evaporator in the dash is one of the major area that will leak and requires the entire dash to be removed to replace it. This is not the only possible leak areas. You may have a compressor or a pressure line leaking. Another possibility is that the condenser in front of the radiator is leaking.

I suggest having the A/C system diagnosed and leak tested first by a certified technician, like one from YourMechanic. It may save you from replacing a component that is not needed.

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