As the summer continues to get hotter, air conditioning becomes one of the most important elements of a vehicle. Nobody wants to hit the road and suddenly find out that their A/C is busted, so it pays to do your due diligence on the system before any longer road trips.
If you notice that your air conditioning isn't as effective as it once was, you may be dealing with a coolant leak. This can be difficult to spot, according to Yahoo! Autos, as any refrigerant, also known as R-134A, that leaks out of the system and into the air will almost immediately evaporate, making it invisible to the naked eye.
Still, sometime compressor oil gets mixed in with the coolant. In this case, you should notice some oily patches around the potential problem areas. In addition, you may notice that there is a liquid underneath your vehicle, which could indicate a leak. This is usually colored yellow or green if it's coolant.
If you really want to pinpoint the source of the problem, you can buy a "leak detector" solution. This colored dye runs throughout the entire system and will then easily highlight where a leak is. Some professionals also have electronic devices that can detect these issues.
It might be tempting to talk yourself into putting off this repair once the leak is found. "Fall is just around the corner," you might be thinking. Yet a faulty A/C system can actually become a damaged one if not taken care of. Moisture and air can begin to eat away at critical parts without the presence of coolant, and this will just end up being more costly if you wait.
You'll first have to pump all the prior refrigerant out of your system. This stuff is harmful to the environment, so you should head to your local garage and have them remove the coolant - they are required by law to have the appropriate devices if they do A/C work. Once that's done, you can make the repair yourself if you wish.
In most cases, this is a simple repair. You'll need to purchase a sealant product that will close off the leak and ensure no more coolant escapes. Read up on these products before selecting one - they are of varying quality and some may do the job better than others.
You'll then need to use a vacuum pump to take all air and moisture out of the system before refilling it with R-134A, at which point your A/C should be back in business.