Can I recharge a failing AC myself?

Can I recharge a failing AC myself?

| By: Christian Brothers Automotive

Can I recharge my car’s failing AC myself, or should I bring it to a nearby auto repair shop?

This is a question many drivers ask themselves when they realize their vehicle’s AC is beginning to slowly lose its cool or has started blowing hot air altogether.

Today, the team at Christian Brothers Automotive is here to help you weigh your options to recharge your car’s AC, assess the situation for any repairs needed, and get you back in your cooled cabin in no time at all.

Editor’s Note: This blog has been updated as of 2022 to reflect current industry standards and technical knowledge.

How Can I Recharge My Failing AC on My Own?

Your car’s AC uses refrigerant, so you’ll need that and the help of an AC recharge kit. You can usually find an all-in-one kit at most local auto shops that’ll include a pressurized canister of freon and a pressure gauge to help you monitor how much you’re putting in.

The Dangers of At Home Vehicle AC Recharge

Sounds easy enough, right? The temptation to do the job on your own may be high, but there are cons and risks you need to be aware of before jumping into it.

The Cost (And Trouble) Can be More Than The Service

Depending on your experience with working on cars and the number of auto tools you have lying around, the cost of your at-home AC recharge is probably more than you want to pay – and the time you want to spend gathering everything you need.

Not to mention, while the AC recharge and measuring kit is a valuable and convenient resource, this do-it-yourself tool can be expensive, and many varieties are intended for professional use only. If you don’t have any experience servicing your car or feel unfamiliar with auto parts in general, shoddy AC maintenance can cause damage to your AC that will cost you more in repairs than just taking your car to a local shop.

Does Not Clear of Old Refrigerant

A large part of a professional AC recharge is removing the old, stale, and often dirty refringent from your system, allowing the mechanic to fill the system from scratch to avoid overcharging the system. Doing so also removes any trace of moisture from the system, making sure that your AC can run at peak performance after a refilling.

Repairs May Be Needed

Is it only a recharge? Or is a repair needed? DEPENDING ON YOUR SPECIFIC SCENARIO, your AC may need more than a recharge. Without the proper inspection of your vehicle’s air conditioning system, you may be throwing money away by adding freon that will just end up leaking away – and spending money on equipment you didn’t need.


Bringing your car into a professional auto shop ensures that any possible leaks, old seals, or any other common air conditioning problems are spotted and repaired to avoid future problems. 

DIY Doesn’t Offer the Precision You Deserve

Nothing is worse than experiencing an AC that blows warm air in the middle of a summer afternoon. To make sure that you’re getting the absolute most out of your next recharge and to ensure that your system is as reliable as can be before you set out on your next road trip, seek out help from a professional auto mechanic or service tech.  

The Verdict: You Can, But You May Want to Turn to the Professionals Instead

Whether you can’t pinpoint the cause of your car’s air conditioning problems, you want to avoid damage to your system, or you wouldn’t even know where to begin with completing a DIY AC recharge, make sure to reach out to your local auto repair shop.

Request Your AC Inspection, Recharge, or Repair Today!

At Christian Brothers Automotive our team can help! From AC recharges to repairs, our professional auto mechanics can complete any AC service you need to bring comfort back onto the road!

Use our online store locator to find your nearest Christian Brothers Automotive location and call today to schedule your visit!

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