How to Add Freon to a 2000 Chevy Cavalier

by Lee Sallings

The 2000 Chevy Cavalier used an air conditioning system containing R-134a refrigerant (freon). This refrigerant is available at most auto parts stores and, unlike R-12 equipped systems, doesn't require special recovery/recycle equipment or licensing to repair. Adding freon to the system will replace refrigerant lost due to minor leaks around seals and hose that occur when the weather gets cold, causing the seals to shrink. A set of A/C gauges and refrigerant are all you need to complete this repair.

Step 1

Locate the service ports for the air conditioning system on the high and low pressure A/C lines under the hood. In the 2000 Chevy Cavalier the "Low-side" port is on the A/C hose, secured to the motor-mount, between the front of the engine and the coolant recovery tank on the passenger-side of the engine compartment. The "High-side" fitting is located on the A/C line near the center of the firewall behind the engine.

Step 2

Attach the quick disconnect hose ends of the gauge set to the service ports by pulling back on the fitting's lock ring as you press the fitting onto the service port. The Cavalier uses an R-134a A/C system that features different size fittings for the high and low pressure service ports so the hose will connect correctly. Close both valves on the manifold of the gauge set. It is below the gauge faces. Turn the knobs on the tops of the hose fittings to open the service ports.

Step 3

Start the engine and turn on the air conditioning system. Turn the temperature control knob all the way to "Cool," the vent control knob to "Recirculating Air," and the blower speed knob to "Medium Speed."

Step 4

Screw the can of R-134a refrigerant (freon) onto the can tap on the end of the yellow A/C gauge hose. Twist the thumbscrew on the tap all the way in and all the way out again to open the can. Open the blue valve on the gauge manifold and hold the can of refrigerant upside down to add refrigerant to the system.

Step 5

Close the gauge manifold valve when the can feels about half empty and check the pressures in the system. The blue (low pressure) gauge will indicate 35 to 45 psi and the red (high pressure) gauge will indicate 250 to 350 psi when the system is full. Add additional refrigerant as needed until you get these gauge pressures.

Step 6

Close the blue manifold valve and turn off the engine. Wait two minutes for the system pressures to drop. Unscrew the knobs on the hose fittings and unsnap the hose ends from the service ports. Test-drive the car to verify that the air conditioning system functions properly.

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