Looking for an AC refrigerant leak is one of the most challenging leaks to find on a car. Unlike an oil leak or coolant leak, refrigerant does not leave any noticeable residue around the leak site to indicate a refrigerant leak in that area.
The most common AC refrigerant leak sights include:
- The fins of the condenser
- Connections from soft lines to hard lines
- O-rings at hard connection
The fins or cooling are of your AC condenser is the most common leak site for an AC refrigerant leak on any car. The condenser is mounted at the front of your vehicle where it will get maximum air flow and is made of relatively thin metal to help encourage heat transfer out of the hot compressed refrigerant and into the air blowing through it. While making the condenser great at its job of transferring heat out of the refrigerant, it also makes the condenser susceptible to small leaks. These leaks can come from hairline cracks in the thin metal from vibrations or other small cracks due to an impact from road debris, dirt, and rocks.
The second most common AC refrigerant leak site is where a soft line connects to a hard line. The compressor in your vehicle is mounted to the engine so it can be driven by the engine belt. The rest of the equipment in your air conditioning system is hard mounted to the frame of the vehicle. The engine in your car is shock mounted on rubber to reduce vibrations and shock from sudden loading on the engine. These rubber mounts allow the engine to move around in your engine bay as it is revved and your transmission shifts. As the engine moves, the AC compressor has to be able to move also so the lines going to and from the compressor are all soft rubber lines mated to a hard line. At the connection of these two lines there is a lot of movement and stress which can cause small leaks to form either in the rubber line or at the joint.
Lastly, it is common to get leaks at the O-ring connections in your air conditioning system. Since your air conditioning system operates at relatively high pressure and the refrigerant used is volatile and can escape easily, O-rings are used to seal any connection from a hard line to a component like the condenser or dryer. Over time, these or rings can become hard or shrink so they lose their sealing ability causing a small AC refrigerant leak.
All of these leaks described are small leaks causing a slow loss of refrigerant and a gradual loss in cooling capacity of your air conditioning system. If you have found that to be happening in your car, don’t bother spending hours looking for the leak location. Instead, simply add Red Angel A/C Stop Leak & Conditioner to your air conditioning system and let it find and seal the leak. Re Angel A/C Stop Leak & Conditioner will stay in your system inert, acting as a lubricant and conditioner until it finds one of these small leaks sights where it will seal to leak and keep more refrigerant from escaping your system.
You can purchase Red Angel A/C Stop Leak & Conditioner at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
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- Pep Boys
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- Consumer Auto Parts
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