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How to Add Freon to a 2003 Chevrolet Malibu

by BretN

The 2003 Chevy Malibu air conditioning system uses R134a as the refrigerant. You can now buy a can of refrigerant from your local auto parts store and recharge the AC yourself. Make sure that you buy R134a; cans of R12 look strikingly similar to R134a. Once you have the right refrigerant, charging your air conditioning system is a quick job that costs much less than it would to take your car to a mechanic.

Buy a can of R134a and a charging hose with a gauge from your local auto parts store. There are many brands to choose from, and the hose and gauge often come with the refrigerant.

Start your car's engine and turn the air conditioner to max. Listen to hear if the air conditioner motor engages. Go on to the next step regardless of whether the pump is on, but keep it in mind for step 5.

Attach the hose to the can of R134a if it did not come attached. Open your Malibu's hood and look for the air conditioner line. There is an aluminum tube running around near the top of the engine with two plastic caps on either end.The cap nearest the belt system is the fill point. This is the low-pressure service fitting.

Unscrew the cap from the low-pressure service fitting and screw the charging hose onto the fitting. Press the release button on top of the can of R134a to allow the refrigerant to pass into the vehicle's a/c system.

Listen for the a/c pump to engage if it has not already done so. If it does not engage, stop filling the vehicle with refrigerant and see your mechanic. If it engages, or has already been engaged, fill the system with the R134a. Watch the gauge and make sure the a/c system is not overfilled.

Tips

  • The pump may engage and disengage periodically. When the pump is off, the gauge on the R134a will drop. Make sure the pressure is not too high when the pump is activated.
  • The high and low pressure fittings are different sizes; you will not be able to fit the charging hose onto the high-pressure service fitting.

Warning

  • Do not fill the system with R134a if the pump is not working. The pressure will be too high if the pump begins to work, which will damage your a/c system.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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