How to Add Refrigerant to Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

If you own a Vehicles and are having problems with your air conditioning unit, it is possible that you might need to add refrigerant to the unit. Refrigerant allows the Vehicles to convert incoming air to cold air Vehicles the air conditioning unit and is responsible Vehicles creating the cold air that enters the Vehicles when you turn the air conditioning on. It is important to know how to add the refrigerant properly or the air conditioning unit will not work.

Under The Hood:

 How to Add Refrigerant to a Dodge Caravan

Remove the black cap from the low-pressure refill port next to the AC condenser towards the front of the passenger's side of the engine.

Press the refill canister quick-connect fitting onto the port. The fitting will pop into place.

Start the vehicle. Turn the air conditioner to the highest, coolest setting.

Allow the vehicle to run for a few minutes, and check the pressure gauge. The canister will tell you how to read the pressure. Refill if the system is low.

Press the button on top of the canister to fill the system. Fill in 30-second sprays, checking the pressure between each spray. Disconnect the canister by lifting up on the sides of the quick-connect fitting. Replace the black cap.

Items you will need

  • R134a refill canister with pressure gauge

 How to Add Refrigerant to a 2000 Grand Marquis

Consult your owner's manual to determine the right refrigerant for your car model and purchase the refrigerant.

Connect the pressure gauge and the service hose to the lip of the refrigerant can. Form a tight seal between the service hose and the refrigerant can.

Open the valve on the refrigerant can slowly to allow a small amount of refrigerant into the service hose. Close the valve on the refrigerant can.

Connect the end of the service hose that is not attached to the refrigerant can to the low-pressure service fitting on your vehicle. On a 2000 Grand Marquis, this pressure service fitting is located underneath the hood near the compressor. Identify the pressure service fitting by locating a thin hose covered by a plastic cap near the compressor.

Turn the ignition on and allow the car to start. Turn the air conditioner to its maximum setting.

Open the valve on the refrigerant can fully to allow refrigerant to flow into your vehicle's compressor.

Fill your compressor until the pressure gauge reaches the recommended range of your vehicle. Consult your owner's manual to determine the recommended range.

Turn off the ignition on your car and disconnect the service hose from the pressure service fitting.

Items you will need

  • Air conditioning recharging kit (including a service hose, pressure gauge and a valve)

 How to Add Refrigerant to a Cadillac

Purchase R134 refrigerant from a local auto parts shop or from a retail shop that sells auto maintenance equipment. Also purchase a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes if you don't own a pair. Be sure to wear the safety goggles throughout the entire maintenance process.

Attach a refill hose and pressure gauge to the nozzle of the refrigerant can by pressing them together until they click into place. Tighten the pieces as much as you can to ensure that the can is tightly sealed to the hose. Slowly open the valve and allow some of the refrigerant into the hose to release the regular air that may be inside of it.

Attach the other end of the hose to the pressure fitting on the air conditioning unit in the vehicle. The pressure fitting is located on the left side of the engine and should be clearly marked "Air Conditioning Unit."

Start the vehicle and turn the air conditioning nozzles on the inside of the vehicle to full power.

Open the valve on the R134 refrigerant can and the vehicle will automatically begin filtering the refrigerant into the air conditioning unit. Keep the can upright to prevent any liquid from entering into the refill hose.

Monitor the pressure gauge on the can. Close the valve when the pressure gauge reaches the recommended range listed in the owner's manual (the exact pressure will vary depending on the model of Cadillac being serviced). Turn off the vehicle and disconnect the refill hose and the R134 can from the air conditioning unit. The refrigerant has been successfully added to the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • R134 refrigerant can

  • Safety goggles

  • Pressure gauge

  • Refill hose

 How to Add Refrigerant to a 2002 Altima

Connect the hose in the air conditioning recharge kit to the fill port found on top of the tube connecting the compressor to the evaporator. Remove the cap on the fill port so you can connect the hose. Of all the accessories connected to the serpentine belt, the compressor is the one closest to the front of the vehicle. The evaporator looks like a small radiator. Before connecting the tube, ensure it is secured to the can of refrigerant. If necessary, follow the instructions included with the recharge kit to connect the canister to the hose.

Start the Altima's engine and turn on the air conditioning. Check the pressure of the system using the gauge in the recharge kit. The required pressure varies depending upon the current ambient air temperature. The needle on the gauge should point to the current outside air temperature. If it's lower than that, open the release valve slowly on the canister of refrigerant, allowing the needle on the gauge to climb until it points to the current outside air temperature.

Close the valve and disconnect the recharge kit from the Altima's fill port, replacing the cap you removed in Step 1.

Items you will need

  • Universal R-134a recharge kit

 How to Add Refrigerant to a Tahoe

Lift the hood of the Chevy Tahoe and prop it open. Identify the low-pressure air conditioning recharge valve, which is typically behind and above the alternator.

Connect the valve attachment to the low-pressure valve.

Attach the pressure gauge to the hose if it is not part of the hose assembly. Attach the assembly to the can of refrigerant.

Tighten the attachments to the can of refrigerant until you hear a popping sound. This indicates that the can has been opened. You should then hear the refrigerant flowing into the Tahoe's air conditioning system. If the hose assembly has a trigger, hold down the trigger to ensure that the refrigerant is released.

Turn on the air conditioner and double-check the pressure. For most systems, the pressure while the air conditioner is running should be around 35 psi (pounds per square inch).

Turn off the engine and the air conditioner. Remove the hose assembly and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Valve attachment and hose

  • Pressure gauge

  • Refrigerant

 How to Add Refrigerant to a Chrysler Van

Release your Chrysler van's hood and prop it open over the engine. Locate within the engine a set of aluminum tubes for the air conditioning. On these tubes, you will find both a high and a low side connector. The high side connection is for pressurizing the system. For this task, it is irrelevant. Your refilling kit's hose will not fit the connection anyway. Remove the threaded cover from the low side connector.

Attach your R12 or R134a kit to the low side connector. If you have to assemble the kit first, exercise care with the handle atop the canister. If you turn it too far down, you will release the refrigerant.

Lay the kit down, but be careful where. The kit needs to be away from anything that will shift or move once the van's engine is running.

Leave the kit for a moment. Walk a full circle around the van, opening all the doors. This is essential. During the refilling process, you do not want the air conditioning to accidentally turn itself off.

Start the Chrysler's engine. Allow the engine to idle, so the engine can warm to its usual running temperature.

Switch the van's air conditioning on. Set the temperature for the coldest degree possible. Also, set the blower on its most forceful setting.

Stick a thermometer into one of the Van's A/C vents and watch for it to stop dropping. When it will not drop any further, the system will have cooled to ts lowest level. The lowest level within the system depends on how much refrigerant you have left in the system. When the air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it will work correctly, but the air coming out will not be refrigerated. Record the temperature on the thermometer, once it has stabilized, for comparison later.

Remove the thermometer and exit the van. Return to the engine compartment, and place the thermometer into van's central air conditioning duct.

Turn the handle atop the refilling kit. Release the R12 or R134a into the system. After 30 seconds, turn the handle atop the kit upwards. This will shut off the refrigerant's flow. It will allow the system to stabilize, and you can also monitor the kit's gauges. You should allow at least a minute to elapse before sending more refrigerant into the Chrysler van's air conditioning. By waiting, you allow the recently added refrigerant to circulate within the system.

Keep an eye on the thermometer you left in the air conditioning's central duct. Once the temperature drops to 40 degrees, remove the thermometer. 40 degrees is the standard temperature of a fully charged air conditioner.

Turn the handle atop the canister and close off the connection. Remove the kit's hose from the low side port. Turn off all running components. Shut all the doors and the hood over the engine.

Items you will need

  • R12 or R134a refilling kit

  • Gloves

  • Glasses

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.