How Long Does Freon Last In A Car?

How Long Does Freon Last In A Car?

We all know how hot the Texan heat can be

The Texan heat is tough on air conditioning systems, and during the summer months, the last thing you want is to head out for a long drive only to realize your vehicle’s air conditioning is not working. The chemical (refrigerant) used to provide cool air is called Freon. Without it, there’s no way to circulate cold air throughout your vehicle cabin.

How Often Does My Car AC Need to Be Recharged?

There’s no hard and fast rule here. Some new cars that stay cool with R134a may only need to be recharged every seven years or so. Living in a hot place like Gilbert though, there’s a good chance you’ll feel the need for a recharge even more often than that. Older cars (from before 1994) will need an AC recharge much more frequently, but you can’t even find many good shops that work with R12 Freon in the United States anymore for environmental health reasons.

In 2014, some cars started running on R1234YF. 1234YF is an effective coolant, but unfortunately, not many shops service it. It requires specialized equipment, which makes it hard for these car owners to get their AC recharged. Luckily, we at Highline Car Care are one of the few shops with the appropriate equipment to work with R1234YF.


Will low Freon damage a compressor?

A low Freon charge can lead to compressor damage and overall inefficiencies of the air conditioning unit. This problem happens when the low refrigerant causes freezing on the evaporator coils. Eventually, the ice build-up leads to the insulation of the coils and slows the cooling process.

Step 3: Verify That the Compressor Is Running

1. Start the engine2. Turn the A/C on3. Turn the fan to maximum4. Follow the hose from the low side fill port to a cylindrical device attached to the engine – this is the compressor5. Locate the pulley on the compressor.6. Is the center part of the pulley spinning?Yes. Then the compressor is engaged, as it should be.No.  Add half of a can of r-134a as detailed in the manner described in the upcoming steps. If the compressor still fails to engage, take your vehicle to a mechanic.7. Leave the engine running and the A/C on maximum until you are finished with the entire filling process. The photos depict the compressor in its engaged and disengaged states.

Need maintenance or a repair? Got a question?

We love hearing from our neighbors in the metro Atlanta area. So if you have any questions, ask one of our experts for help.

Also, if you think your AC is low on Freon, or you just want to prevent a Freon leak, contact us for help. (P.S.: You’ll save 10% on any repairs by scheduling online!)

Do cars lose Freon over time?

Refrigerant gas does not “wear out” like oil nor is it used up like fuel. In a properly sealed system the gas can continue being compressed and released over and over, so long as it doesn’t leak out.

Can You Drive A Car With A Freon Leak?

There is a chance that the Air-Con can still be turned off from time to time in most cases. If it doesn’t work, simply not use it anymore. In spite of its name, R134a’s chemical composition is nontoxic. Oxygen can be relieved by any refrigerant. Therefore, if the car contains enough fuel to fill it to the roof, as long as air is leaking into it, you’ll run out of breath pretty easily.

“Are Freon leaks inevitable?”

Yes. Age eventually takes its toll on an air conditioner, so you could say a refrigerant leak is inevitable. Refrigerant circulates under high pressure and therefore wears down and thins the inside of the tubing.

A better question is, “What can I do to prevent refrigerant leaks?”

Your goal is to prevent refrigerant leaks and, when you do get them, nip them in the bud before they get too large. The larger the leak, the more refrigerant you lose.

1. Your A/C is Blowing Warm Air

One of the most obvious symptoms of low Freon levels is if your air conditioner is blowing warm or room temperature air. As we discussed, the air conditioning system in your vehicle operates by circulating this pressurized refrigerant. When the amount drops too low, it eventually affects performance.

Conclusion:How Long Does Refrigerant Last?

Many parts stores, and even Walmart, sell refrigerant. Topping it off may cool the vehicle for a while, but it’s not going to stop the leak.

If your A/C is blowing cold right now, it’s not going to need a recharge unless is gets a leak.  

What Are the Signs of Low Freon in a Car?

A very notable sign of a low freon (refrigerant) o

A very notable sign of a low freon (refrigerant) on a car is “a hot interior.” If your vehicle’s AC is not working correctly and blowing hot air instead of cold, you most likely have a coolant(freon) shortage.

1. A/C Compressor Not Turning On

The compressor of the air conditioner uses the refrigerant as a lubricant. The car’s air conditioning system will stop working if the system lacks refrigerant. The refrigerant also protects the compressor from damage.

Usually, the vehicle makes a clunking sound when the air conditioner is turned on. Compressors produce this sound when they engage and activate.

The car will not make this sound if the coolant level is so low that the fail-safe has been activated, the serpentine belt is not in place, or the compressor is not operating.

2. Frozen Compressor

You might be quick to notice the compressor is ice-caked if the air conditioner in your vehicle is leaking freon. The freon leaked is replaced with water which freezes with time and ice cake the compressor.

3. Warm Air

If your air conditioning system is blowing hot air, it means it is either leaking freon, or something is wrong with one of the components.

In addition, if your AC system has consistently had low efficiency or its cooling rate has declined, it could be low on refrigerant.

If the change in air temperature happens suddenly, this could also mean that it resulted from a severe coolant leak or a failed compressor, bad blend door actuator, lost belt, or any other problem.

4. Noticeable Leaks

Another sign of low Freon level in a car is greasy little trails of a substance released through the vents of the air-conditioner when it is running. The substance can be freon.

5. Listen For The A/C Clutch to Engage

There is a ‘click’ sound when the air condition of your vehicle is turned on, which you might have noticed if you listen closely. This ‘click’ means that the clutch is engaged.

If the level of Freon in your air conditioner is very low, the clutch will fail to engage, and you will not hear this ‘click’ sound.

The inability of this clutch to engage is because the compressor does not have enough refrigerant to pressurize and the conditioning system or has no Freon to work with.


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Step 1: What You Will Need and What You Should Know

First, was your car made before 1994? If so, your car likely uses R-12, and this guide isn’t for you. However, if you search the engine bay and find a sticker stating that the system has been converted for use with r-134a, continue.WHAT YOU’LL NEED:  – Two 12oz. cans of r-134a refrigerant ($9.99/ea)  – One refrigerant dispenser ($16.00)  – One pair of gogglesPURCHASING GUIDE:Refrigerant:       Purchase the plain r-134a refrigerant from the bottom shelf. Don’t be fooled by the shiny cans that have leak sealants and  performance enhancers. These are just “snake oil” and can actually harm your A/C system.Refrigerant dispenser:      Your dispenser needs to have both a pressure gauge and a trigger. These are not optional, and are required to do this safely and correctly. DO NOT purchase the dispenser/refrigerant combos.Note: I do not endorse idQ, EZChill, or SpeedSteed  in any way. These are the parts that I happened to choose, and I am sure their competitor’s products are just as good.

Can A Freon Leak In Your Car Make You Sick?

Although it is not unpleasant and odorless, Freon has a powerful impact on how healthy you and your family are. When refrigeration is exposed to air, it can cause difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, vomiting, itching of the skin, and coughing, among other symptoms.


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