Dangers of DIY A/C Recharge Kits

Unless you’ve been locked in your air conditioned house for the last two months, you may have noticed that summer is here in AZ and it’s the usual extreme heat. We’ve had a few customers coming to the shop since then with the worst that could happen while driving their car… the A/C is blowing hot air. So now what?

You could go to your repair shop to get a proper diagnostic or you could do what some people do and try to fix it yourself by buying one of these DIY manual recharge kits that let you add refrigerant into your system and save

 some money. Sadly like everything else in life if it’s “too good to be true” well it is too good to be true! Here’s why:

1) Manual recharge systems do not evacuate the fluid in your system – instead they add refrigerant on top of your current levels. It’s like adding new oil on top of old oil. Topping off fluids does not solve any problems but only temporarily covers up the symptoms. In fact, topping off usually leads to bigger problems and ultimately costly repairs!

2) Mixing refrigerants can cause dangerous chemical interactions! Because there are many types of refrigerant, you may not know if the refrigerant you are adding is the same as the refrigerant currently in your system and in addition, mixing refrigerants can cause damage to the compressor or other parts of the air conditioner. If you cannot identify the type of refrigerant in your system, you should evacuate the system and replace with new refrigerant rather than risking “topping off” with the wrong type.

3) And here’s the most dangerous one. Many recharge kits also feature a stop-leak sealer, claiming to fix and prevent leaks. One of two things typically happen with these sealers, either it won’t work at all and you will continue to leak refrigerant into the atmosphere or it will stop the leak, as well as the hoses, the compressor, and the pumps in your A/C! We won’t even connect the car faulty A/C to our diagnostic machine because it would also damaging/clogging our machine.

So we always recommend that the first step is to get the right diagnostic and if it only needs a recharge (lucky you) precision matters because manufacturers determine a specific amount of refrigerant that is correct for your car. When you bring your car into your repair shop for a recharge, you can trust that your air conditioning will be working properly and will meet your vehicle’s OEM specifications.


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