How to Add R134 Freon to a Toyota Matrix

by Eli Laurens

The Toyota Matrix uses a 143a freon coolant air conditioning system to lower the interior temperature of the vehicle. This coolant can leak out and require additional freon. If this is the case, it is advisable to check the system and repair the leak. Home freon kits make adding more coolant to the A/C system convenient and inexpensive. The average backyard mechanic can add freon to the Toyota in about 30 minutes.

Preapration

1

Attach the can of lubricant, not freon, to the kit's valve adapter. Most kits have valves that can be screwed onto the top of the can by turning it clockwise into the valve adapter until a needle punctures a weak metal seal. Be sure the valve itself is closed before attaching the can. There will be a slight hiss as the can's seal is punctured by the valve adapter.

2

Press the nozzle end of the valve to the nipple on the evaporator line, on the left side of the engine compartment. The adapter nozzle only fits one nipple, and it is colored blue in some Matrix models. Pull the valve nozzle ring while pushing the end onto the evaporator nipple. When the ring is let go, they will connect and lock into place.

3

Crank the car and turn on the air conditioning to its maximum setting.

Charging the System

1

Watch the valve's gauge, if applicable, while opening the valve to allow lubricant to enter the system. Some types of valves have twist openers, some have a trigger. The can will discharge into the system as the vacuum pulls it in. The cans of lubricant are typically small, and it will finish in about a minute. Pull the end nozzle ring quickly from the evaporator nipple and the can of spent lubricant can be unscrewed.

2

Screw a can of UV dye into the valve adapter and repeat Step 1 until the dye is discharged. These cans of lubricant and dye will not have a great effect on the amount of freon that can be added; they will allow the mechanic to determine where the leak is coming from later and must be added first. The Matrix air conditioning system should not lose freon coolant unless there is a leak. Determining where the leak is and repairing it is important, or the freon added will simply leak out again.

3

Change the spent can of UV dye for the can of freon and repeat Step 1 again. The system should take the whole can, as it is designed for about one and a half pounds of freon, and cans are typically around 8 ounces. Repeat until the gauge on the valve reads \"full,\" or the system does not take in any more freon. The unspent freon must be left on the valve and can be taken to a collection facility or left in storage up to a month.

Tip

  • check Check the A/C temperature with a turkey thermometer stuck into an interior vent.

Warning

  • close Do not use R12 freon in the Matrix system, only use 134a.

Items you will need

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.