Things to Know About Automotive Refrigerant - information from the the pros at Shingle Springs Subaru serving Sacramento, CA

The A/C in your Subaru can feel like a lifesaver on a hot day--and we have plenty of those here! One of the most important components of your A/C system is the refrigerant; without it, the system wouldn't work. If your air conditioning isn't blowing as cold as it should, there are several possible causes, and low or bad refrigerant is one.

If the refrigerant in your Subaru is in need of a refresh, we recommend taking it to the experts at Shingle Springs Subaru. Because we understand the importance of staying informed about Subaru service, we've put together this page with five things we think are important to know about car AC refrigerant.

AC gauges resting on a refrigerant can.

5. Refrigerant Makes Your A/C System Blow Cold Air

Refrigerant is at the heart of your car's A/C system. As it absorbs heat, it turns into a gas. It's then compressed, losing heat as it turns back into a liquid--and then it starts the process again. This removes hot air and lets cold air in through the vents. Without refrigerant, the A/C system would simply circulate the air that's already present without cooling it down.

AC gauges and hoses attached to a vehicle.

4. It's Natural for Your Vehicle To Slowly Lose Refrigerant

A sudden, large loss of refrigerant might be the sign of a more serious leak that should be looked at. However, it's common for car AC refrigerant levels to slowly decrease over an extended time. After enough time, the refrigerant level may become low enough for the system not to function as well, or at all.

The good news is that the solution to this is simple. Bring your Subaru by an authorized service center like ours to have the AC system recharged.

3. How Often Does My Subaru Need an A/C Refrigerant Recharge?

There are many different factors that can affect how quickly the refrigerant leaks from your vehicle. Because of this, there's no hard-and-fast rule as to how often your A/C will need a recharge. The best thing to do is to wait until the air conditioning no longer seems as cool as it should be.

A special AC recharge machine. 

2. Home Refrigerant Recharge Kits Can Cause Damage to the System

You'll find many DIY, at-home refrigerant recharge kits at auto shops. While the idea of such a quick, cheap, and easy solution may be tempting, it's generally too good to be true. Sure, the can in these DIY AC recharge solutions probably comes with a simple gauge, it usually takes more than that to get AC refrigerant levels just right. If you ever watch a professional charge an air conditioning system, you'll notice they use two gauges. The fact of the matter is that these DIY AC kits typically don't work as well as they'd like you to think.

Unless you're going to spend the time and money to get a set of automotive A/C gauges and take a class on how to properly charge different automotive HVAC systems, it's usually best to leave this job to the pros. It may cost a little more than those DIY kits, but it typically ends up saving you a substantial amount of money in the long run.

1. There Are Different Types of Refrigerant

For a long time, R12 refrigerant was the standard. However, it was discovered that, when R12 is vented into the atmosphere, it can cause damage to the ozone layer. Because of this, R12 refrigerant was banned in the mid-1990s, and is no longer legal to install in new cars in the United States. In fact, if your vehicle originally required R12 refrigerant and needs a recharge, you'll need to have the system converted to accept R134a or something similar. Today, many of the newest car AC systems now use a refrigerant called R1234yf.

No matter what kind of refrigerant your system needs, it's always best to leave this job to a licensed expert like the technicians you'll find in our authorized Subaru dealership service center in Shingle Springs.

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Shingle Springs Subaru

4045 Wild Chaparral Dr
Directions Shingle Springs, CA 95682

  • Sales: 530-677-8771
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