How frequently should I have my AC system recharged?
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The refrigerant in an automotive AC system circulates through a sealed system. It is designed to be totally leak-free and usually is. Many vehicles are driven for years and years without needing any refrigerant added to the AC system.
However, because AC systems have various connection points where hoses meet, vehicles vibrate and flex, and seals are not perfect, leaks can develop. Sometimes the leak is so small it can take a year before enough refrigerant has leaked out to result in a noticeable decrease in cooling performance. Larger leaks can leak out much faster. Various methods are used by technicians to locate the leaks so they can be fixed.
So the answer to your question is, “It depends”. When the temperature of the air coming out of the vents is warm, not sufficiently cold, or a new clicking sound is cycling on and off, an AC system inspection is recommended to be done by a certified mechanic. The correct method of repair for a vehicle with low refrigerant is to locate and fix the leak, then recharge the AC system.
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