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I developed a leak in the lines of my AC system (verified). The system has been recharged so it is working for the time being, but I do not expect it to last indefinitely.

I am due to buy a new car, so I don't want to put money into a costly repair. So in terms of holding out as long as possible until I make that purchase… will the AC charge last longer if I only use it when absolutely necessary, or is the pressurized refrigerant (r134a) just leaking out constantly whether I use it nor not?

  • Do you know where and what is leaking? IE o-ring on a line, compressor, evaporator etc? – Move More Comments Link To Top Sep 18 '15 at 15:43
  • It was on the line going into one or the other. but unfortunately I can no longer recall which one. Your answer was excellent. – Robert Cartaino Sep 18 '15 at 15:46
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    That shouldn't cost that much to fix, it's just an o-ring. Does require evac, and recharge which depending on the shop may be more than you are willing to spend, all in all topping off the system should work for a short time – Move More Comments Link To Top Sep 18 '15 at 16:08
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Depends entirely where the leak is, and what's leaking. If it's on the high side it's going to leak faster when the AC is used. If it's on the low side it's going to leak slower when the AC is used.

Since you are just trying to get by, and your getting rid of the vehicle soon you could top it off with the DIY AC charge kits sold at the local parts store with the following caveat DIY AC Recharging is not recommended

  • Interesting. I had not considered where the leak is as a factor. And yes, I am familiar with the pitfalls of home AC charging. At some point, I'll likely get moisture somewhere you do not want it, but like I said... it's the home stretch until the whole issue moot. – Robert Cartaino Sep 18 '15 at 15:48
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    @RobertCartaino When AC system is not in use pressures are around 80 -100 psi depending on outside air temp. When operational high side pressures are in the 200 - 400 range, and low side is in the 40 - 50 range. In your short term situation and since you know it's an o-ring you might even have some luck with the AC recharge kits with the stop leak in them. – Move More Comments Link To Top Sep 18 '15 at 16:11

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