Knowing what the pressures are in the air conditioning system in your car can tell you almost all you need to know about how your system is functioning. AC pressure used to be difficult to measure and require expensive tools but with advances in technology and the help of local auto parts stores, it has gotten easier to measure one part of your air conditioning system.
AC refill cans are readily available at your local auto parts stores and even at many larger stores. Many of these refill cans come complete with a pressure gauge to help you discover a little bit of what’s going on in your system and to help you guess at how much refrigerant to dispense. These gauges are relatively accurate and an inexpensive way to measure the low side pressure in your system.
Unfortunately, the low side pressure is just one piece of the puzzle. Your air conditioning system is split in half when it comes to pressure. Your air conditioning system holds a very high pressure between your AC compressor and condenser up expansion valve, and a relatively low pressure after the expansion valve and evaporator and back to the inlet of the compressor.
The can of refrigerant you purchased from the auto parts store is pressurized so it can push the new refrigerant into the system. To make sure you get as much refrigerant out of the can and into your system, you connect it to the lower pressure side of the system so it is the low side pressure that you see measured on the gauge on your refill can.
To measure the pressure in the high-pressure side of your system, you need a little fancier piece of equipment. The pressures in the high-pressure side of your system are so high that it requires special hoses and connections along with a special gauge to contain the pressure and ensure you don’t release any of the refrigerant to the atmosphere. The best way to measure the high-pressure side of your system is to get the proper tools for a local auto parts store. This set of A/C Manifold Gauges would work great!
Now that you’ve got a safe and reliable way to measure your AC pressure, you need to know what you’re looking for. Pressures can vary from car to car based on the system and the pressure in your system will also vary with the ambient temperature. The warmer it is outside, the higher the pressure will be. For a general reference, you can check out this chart of R-134a system pressures.
If you find you’ve got a low pressure on the low side of your system, then it’s most likely that you’ve got a leak as that is a common problem in automobile air conditioning systems. A low pressure on the low side could also indicate a clog somewhere in your system. If you find a higher than usual low side pressure it usually is an indication of a failed compressor, but it’s also possible that your system is simply overfilled if you’ve recently added refrigerant.
On the high-pressure side of the system, a low pressure can also indicate that you’ve got a low refrigerant level or if the pressure is close to the same as it is on the low-pressure side it can confirm you’re having compressor issues. A higher pressure here can again indicate your system is overfilled if you’ve recently serviced it, but usually, it is an indication of a clog in the system.
Most problems with your air conditioning system will require a vacuum, repair, and refill of the system. Leaks, on the other hand, are problems solved simply by adding Red Angel A/C Stop leak & Conditioner through the low-pressure port in your system!
You can also find Red Angel A/C Stop Leak & Conditioner at any of our partnering auto parts stores like:
- Advance Auto Parts
- Bennett Auto Supply
- CarQuest Auto parts
- NAPA Auto Parts
- O’Reilly Auto Parts
- Pep Boys
- Fast Track
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
- S&E Quick Lube Distributer
- DYK Automotive
- Fisher Auto Parts stores
- Auto Plus Auto Parts stores
- Hovis Auto & Truck Supply stores
- Salvo Auto Parts
- Advantage Auto Stores
- Genuine Auto Parts stores
- Bond Auto Parts stores
- Tidewater Fleet Supply
- Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
- Any Part Auto Parts
- Consumer Auto Parts
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