Both of the Haynes manuals for my cars list refilling the refrigerant in your car as a do it yourself procedure. Both vehicles use R-134a refrigerant and the manual shows them being recharged with a simple hose without a pressure gauge on it.
However, when I started reading the many one star reviews, things didn't look so simple or safe. Many people destroyed their compressors, by either overfilling or by the sealant clogging their compressors.
Quoting one reviewer:
I have spoken to a couple of different shops and both have said they see person after person come in with issues from these home kits. They don't show the amount that goes in, just the pressure in the system. Well that isn't nearly enough information since the weight is what is important.
and another one:
Don't use this unless you have professional gauges. You can likely borrow them (appropriate gauges) from Auto Zone or equivalent. Or, just do what I eventually did, take it to Jiffy Lube (or equivalent) and let them remove all the refrigerant and refill to factory specs.
My question is not about this specific product, I'm just using it and the reviews as an example.
- What issues can I run into trying to recharge my A/C refrigerant myself?
- What equipment do I need to do it safely ( for me and the A/C system) ?
- What issues are there with sealants?
- Should I get a refill that contains compressor oil?
- Would I be better off just paying a shop to do it?