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Afternoon all,


A quick question...How can i actually tell if my air con needs re-gassing? I have a 2005 titanium saloon 2.0TDCI. Bought the car 2nd hand about 3yrs ago with 88k OTC..and in those 3 years the air con has seemed perfect (have now done around 118k). I hardly use the air con at all apart from on the extremely odd occasion that its really hot....or if I need to de-mist the windscreen quickly. I do make sure i use it at least once a week for a minimum of 10mins (which i read somewhere is a good idea to stop things seizing up).


As i said it seems to be working fine and seems cold enough. But since ive owned it ive never had the air con looked at or topped up...cos have been put off by how much it costs. So is there an easy way to tell if it needs re-gassing?




It doesn't cost the earth, only £50 from kwik-fit last time I checked. They'll check it for you and IIRC if its not 10% colder, you get your money back. They wont bother doing it if it doesn't need it.


But tbh, if its cold enough for you, save yourself the £50.


I always leave my aircon on, doesnt use as much fuel as they say as apposed to opening a window.


Minnis is correct in saying kwikfit, if they also find something wrong like a leak, they wont charge you anything.


They say its best to get it changed every year or so, to reduce mould and other allergens building up. but if you get it regassed, will be worth buying a new cabin filter and buying one of those air con cleaners for a few quid...Cleans the system and is a new filter...will notice straight away the difference


My AC worked perfect until 2 weeks ago, when there was no air cooling at all. At the AC service shop they told me that the system automatically shut off, when the amount of cooling media is to low. There was only 100gr left, they filled 500gr. Told me that this was normal, as some media leaks from the system at all times. I also have a 2005 Focus - never had AC service before.

Exactly right, if the pressure drops then the system doesn't kick in as the A/C fluid is also the lubricant for the compressor pump.
Remember that the A/C is also good for warming the car quickly in winter too.

A/C also dries the air in winter, demisting your screen quicker, that is why on cars with climate control if you press the max demist button it automatically kicks in the A/C.


I still don't use mine that often though, so will only get it regas'd when it stops working.

Like yourself, if I'm not using my air con on a regular basis I always make a point of switching it on once a week for 15-20 mins (usually on my motorway journey from work)
As you have correctly stated, using the air con once a week is a good measure. It stops the seals drying out and keeps the system lubricated.
I have never checked the pressure of the air con in my car despite having 2 gauges but it works very well and has done for 2 and a bit years since I bought it.

If the air con doesn't work it's likely that the gas pressure is too low or non existent. If there is no pressure in the system then it's quite important that a specialist air con place checks for leaks and vacuums the system for a period of time to remove any moisture before refilling
Also by law any refilling has to be done by a professional as the old gas has to be drawn off and can't just be vented into the atmosphere.
Also a measured amount of lubricant had to be added to the manufacturers specs to maintain the system properly.

i use it every day all the time it lasts at least a year between top ups and costs £35 from ford dealers well up here it does the aircon should be used regularly to prevent the input shaft siezing and breaking its not expensive at £35-£50 a year


there are several places that are willing to do aircon recharge for pretty cheap...Cheapest ive ever seen it was a garage on the gateshead quayside and they were charging £20 a refill. Took my sisters fiesta there, hooked it up to machine, which did leak test with uv dyes then filled it...its like mine...a fridge in hot weather.


Also by law any refilling has to be done by a professional as the old gas has to be drawn off and can't just be vented into the atmosphere.
Also a measured amount of lubricant had to be added to the manufacturers specs to maintain the system properly.


I completely agree.


But what gets me is this..


refrigerant R134a as used in car air con systems is illegal to knowingly release into the atmosphere... but I have a very expensive (commercial grade) pipe freezing kit which like most also uses R134a but its not illegal to use. Depending on the pipe size and pipe/ambient temperature is uses anything up to 600g per freeze

All money steff mate they can shaft us for extra money ive repaired a few compressors and that meant releasing the gas however they were leaking and releasing the gas anyway then when repaired taken to a garage leak tested and refilled at a fraction of the price

As you say the pipe freeze uses the same stuff and is legal to vent into the atmosphere

I always leave my aircon on, doesnt use as much fuel as they say as apposed to opening a window.

That is not exactly accurate, in this test -


The round town MPG dropped from 25.6MPG to 20.2MPG (a large drop of 5.4MPG) with the aircon on, at  constant (motorway) speeds, there was no difference with it off/ on, the windows being open one third dropped the MPG by an insignificant 0.1MPG, and having them open fully dropped the overall MPG by only 0.3MPG


So at a steady speed on the Motorway, the Aircon does not affect MPG, arond town, it reduces the MPG significantly  (minus 5.4MPG in that test)


And overall, the wide open window only dropped the MPG by 0.3MPG in the test   


That report is quite an eye-opener      

Id still rather take A/C rather than having my window open on the motorway...i would listen to the classic fm over the booming of pressure release through window anyday. Dont worry i listen to radio 1 and capital most of the time haha but it goes to show how much i hate windows open on a motorway. Dont mind them on town roads where limits barely exceed 30mph but its when you get to speed and you cant hear yourself think

Even with aircon on im still acheiving high mpg ive had it to 62mpg on a long journey from sunderland to leicester. I can even do it again for evidence on a journey from gateshead to Darlington

thanks for all the responces seems like i should just wait till i notice the air con not quite being as cold as normal then just take it to kwik fit or my local ford garage (depending on price). £49 seems reasonable....i cant imagin my local ford garage would do it cheaper but you never know!

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