Case Studies

Keeping Your Cool – Air Conditioning (A/C) Recharge System Service Process and Costs

Anticipated Service Cost
If your car’s AC system efficiently drops and is no longer cooling or cooling effectively or has a flashing warning light, it may be running low on refrigerant. Pending finding no gross leaks, it may be as simple as a recharge. This isn’t a costly repair and likely won’t need to be done before you hit the 60,000 to 100,000-mile mark, so any car for five years or older will likely need this done at least once.

For most cars, an AC recharge will cost between $200 to $300, depending on the amount of refrigerant needed (larger vehicles use more refrigerant), including the addition of UV leak detection dye. It’s a straightforward procedure, but it can take a while to check everything out and ensure no further damage.

When to Get an AC Recharge Done?
It’s important to have your AC system recharged, don’t neglect an inoperative system. You can run it for a very short while before there is any serious damage, but you should take care of this problem sooner rather than later. Over time, the lack of refrigerant will put extra pressure on the compressor and other parts of the AC system, making them work harder; plus, any moisture which has entered the system can cause them to break down and require extensive repairs and replacement.

The best way to know if your system needs a recharge is to pay attention to its operation. You may notice that your system isn’t working as well as it should. It may have trouble producing cold air or make weird noises or overheat. These are signs that you need to have some inspection or service needs to be done.

What Is A Recharge System Service
Your AC system runs on a refrigerant. The refrigerant removes moisture from the inside of the car and deposits it to the outside. So you feel comfortable. But over time, the refrigerant will run out. It can escape through normal seepage. Also, major leaks or component failures can deprive the refrigerant. Once the refrigerant is low, the AC will no longer function properly.

Without the right refrigerant levels, your system can overheat and experience pressure that can damage the other components of the AC system. An AC recharge means checking the current pressure levels in the system and recharging it to get it to where it needs to be. This allows everything to operate smoothly, last longer, and produce cooler air.

What Is Done During AC Recharge Service
The technician will want to check for the source of the problem first. If you have a concern about some issue with your AC, we will perform a thorough check of the system to ensure that by recharging your unit, we are taking care of all the problems. You don’t want to pay for a recharge and then find out later that you have a refrigerant leak!

Once the technician sees that the system needs a recharge, he will evacuate all the refrigerant from the system using a coolant recovery machine. Once the parts have been evacuated, he will replace them and remove all the air from the system. The new refrigerant will be installed, and any damaged or worn seals must be replaced. If the unit leaks, one or more seals or hoses are usually at fault. We use a UV Dye test to check for current and future leaks.

UV Leak Detection
As many refrigerant leaks are often not detected until the vehicle has been in service for some time, we have chosen the UV Dye method as the most accurate and cost-effective available.

There are three common ways of finding leaks in the system:
1. Visual. If the leak is very obvious, we will see it with no help.
2. Use of a special UV flashlight and goggles
3. Gas/Refrigerant Leak detector.

This can only be done if the system has enough refrigerant & oil/dye in it to detect a leak, which is why this service must be performed first to determine the source of failure. This test will help us find the largest leak, it is possible that other (smaller) leaks will show up after a larger leak is repaired.

The customer must return at the first sign of loss of cold air; if the system runs out again and rain washes the dye away, this process must be re-done at the customer’s expense. Refrigerant is a greenhouse gas, and it is illegal to vent it out into the atmosphere. Therefore, we are not allowed to knowingly recharge a leaking A/C system.

Benefits of AC Repair
By recharging your AC unit, you will enjoy a system that works more efficiently and lasts longer. The air it produces will be colder, and you will protect the rest of your AC system and the surrounding car parts from overheating and other types of damage. You also enjoy the benefits of an AC system that works like it should every time, providing cold air when needed and keeping your car comfortable.

How We Can Help You
The Service Team here at Atlantic Motorcar is well experienced in this issue and others; with over 35 years of European auto specialization, serving clients from the areas of New England, we are familiar with the needs of the special service of your auto.

As Maine’s leading European auto specialists, we provide expert-quality services at a fair rate than nearby dealerships and specialty shops. If you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your auto, please call us immediately; we can usually see your car the same day! At Atlantic Motorcar, we’ve developed some very specific procedures and tooling, combined with our expert technicians, to make this otherwise onerous repair a snap.

Questions or if we can help with service on your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Sprinter, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Volvo, and VW, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of Service Specialists is here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing,” that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way.

The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

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