The vehicle (Chevy Cobalt 2009) ran over a deer and bent inward the radiator and A/C condenser. I'm going to replace both, however I'm wondering if it's possible to replace the condenser without having a lot of refrigerant leaking out.

I could take it to a shop and have them drain the all the refrigerant, but the car overheats quickly so I cannot drive it far.

I have a vacuum pump and manifold gauges, but I don't have a recovery tank. Is it possible to pressurize the system in a way that I can replace the condenser without leaking out refrigerant?

  • Have it towed, or fit a temporary shorter belt avoiding the a/c compressor, Howie's answer is good.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 22:28
  • BTW - Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


No. There would need to be valves either side of the condenser to limit gas loss, but even then you would still lose a condenser full of gas. You would then have the problem that you have a new condenser full of air that would be released into the system.

The A/C needs emptying, repairing, vacuuming then refilling.

  • 1
    Thanks. I will see if I can get an HVAC guy to come by and drain it to a recovery tank
    – darnitdiy
    Commented Nov 12, 2018 at 16:43

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