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Reviving Your Car's A/C: Dos and Don'ts of A/C Retrofit Kit Shopping

A car's air-conditioner is only as good as its last breath of cool air. Without the ability to cool down the insides of your car, how can you even call it worthwhile? Might as well replace your whole A/C system, right? Wrong! You can still save that erratic A/C and bring it back to its cooler self with the use of an A/C retrofit kit. But before you rush out to buy one for your A/C, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when shopping for the right retrofit kit for your car's air-conditioning system.

Dos

  • Make sure that all the components of the A/C retrofit kit are made out of durable materials. Whether it's plastic, rubber, or steel, always inquire about the materials used for each component. This way you'll be able to tell if a particular kit can withstand the harsh environment under your hood.
  • Choose an A/C retrofit kit that comes complete with an oil charge and refrigerant. It takes more than a change of gaskets, service ports, and adapters to get your A/C system working again. When retrofitting your car's A/C, you also have to recharge oil and refill its coolant. So to help you save time and money, always get a complete set or kit-with everything you need to retrofit your A/C from start to finish.
  • Avail of an extended warranty plan. Since there is no standard warranty coverage for this kind of kit, getting an extended warranty plan will ensure that you still get the most out of what you paid for. Ask your supplier for the different terms available and choose one that will fit your budget.

Don'ts

  • Don't forget to check the kit for installation instructions and mounting guides. Retrofitting your car's air-conditioning system can prove to be a tedious task, especially for the average DIYer. That is why it is important that you get as much help and resources as possible.
  • Don't limit your AC retrofit kit shopping to your local dealer or auto repair shop. Always compare prices from different suppliers before making a decision. This will help you narrow down your options and choose which one offers the best value out of your dollar. You can also research online and ask fellow DIYers about their recommended brands and where to get a hold of them. Online auto parts suppliers are also a good place to start with your shopping. They have a wide range of parts to choose from, and you can even get assistance and tips from their customer service hotlines.

Saving Your Car's Air Conditioner using an A/C Retrofit Kit

Is your A/C system hanging on to dear life? If you don't have the money to replace it, why not restore your car's air-conditioning system with an A/C retrofit kit? Doing a complete overhaul of your car's air-conditioner might sound like a daunting task. But it is actually very easy. Be your own mechanic and repair your AC with a high quality retrofit kit and this easy DIY guide.

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate

Tools you'll need:

  • A/C retrofit kit
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Clean towel/rag
  • Marker (for labeling)

Step 1: Before working on your car's air conditioning, be sure to have a professional mechanic evacuate Freon from the system

Step 2: Park your car in a level area and open its hood. Disconnect the negative cable of the battery from its terminal to prevent grounding.

Step 3: Remove the old dryer and install a new one. Although a dryer is usually not included in an A/C retrofit kit, it is always recommended to replace the dryer for better results.

Step 4: Locate the A/C system's low pressure side connector port. It is usually found in the driver's side of your engine. If you still can't find it, simply follow the large line coming from the compressor to the black cap marked with an L. This is the low pressure side connector port. Once you've found the port, unscrew it from the connector valve. Be sure to wipe the surface with a clean towel to ensure that the retrofit connector from your kit will adhere to the valve.

Step 5: Take the long retrofit adapter from the kit and screw it onto the port. Tighten the connector with an adjustable wrench for a good seal. Using the plastic cap found in the retrofit kit, cover the adapter to prevent dust from going into the system.

Step 6: Now it's time to retrofit the high pressure side service port. This part should be located close the low pressure side port. Follow the lines that lead away from the compressor until you see a red cap. This red cap is the high pressure side service port's cover. Unscrew the adapter and replace it with the one included in the kit. Screw it in place using an adjustable wrench.

Step 7: Seal the high pressure side service port with the new red cap found in the kit. Turn it clockwise to tighten its grip on the port.

Step 8: Once you've retrofitted all the components of you're A/C system, be sure to label your car with a retrofit identification sticker. This sticker will indicate that the system has already been retrofitted.

Step 9: Now it's time to check your retrofitted A/C system. Turn on your car and its air conditioner. Carefully add oil charge and the necessary amount of coolant. Be careful not to put too much. Keep the air conditioner running until you begin to feel cool air.

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