How to Recharge the AC in Ford Cars

by Contributing WriterUpdated June 12, 2017

If your air conditioning doesn't work as well as it once did, the cause could be low refrigerant levels. Topping off the system with additional refrigerant will help the system work more effectively, keeping your interior as cool as possible. The best refill port to use Ford car this process is the low-pressure A/C recharge port, which can be found on the high side of the receiver dryer behind the passenger side wheel well.

Under The Hood:

 How to Recharge the AC in a 1995 Ford F-150

Trace the metal air conditioning lines under the hood to find an accessible service port. These ports are simple threaded connections covered by a cap. Any service port you find can be used to refill the AC with refrigerant.

Screw the end of a refrigerant hose onto the service port after connecting it to a pressure gauge and a canister of automotive refrigerant. Most recharge kits will include all three of these items pre-assembled. If assembly is required, follow the instructions included with the kit or individual components.

Start the engine and turn on the AC. Check the pressure reading. If the gauge indicates that the pressure is low, slowly dispense refrigerant from the canister by opening the control valve. Pay close attention to the gauge. When it indicates the pressure levels are within the appropriate range, close the valve and disconnect the hose.

Items you will need

  • Refrigerant recharge canister

  • Refrigerant hose

  • Pressure gauge

 How to Recharge the AC on a 1996 Ford Explorer

Open the hood. With the engine turned off, find the air conditioning compressor, which is connected to the serpentine belt along with multiple other accessories. The compressor is the one closest to the front of the engine bay and has multiple metal tubes extending out from it.

Trace the tubes until you find the one that comes to the top of the engine bay and runs parallel with the firewall. Locate the cap on top of the tube and unscrew it, making the refill port accessible.

Screw the hose of an all-in-one refill kit to the refill port, then start the engine and set the air conditioning on high. The kit's pressure gauge will now show the current level of refrigerant. A refill is required if it indicates low pressure.

Open the valve on the recharge cylinder slowly. Pay close attention to the gauge and continue releasing refrigerant until it shows adequate pressure. The AC has now been recharged. Disconnect the hose, replace the cap on the refill port, and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • AC recharge kit type R-134a

 How to Recharge the AC in a 2006 Ford Focus

Disconnect the liner on the inside of the passenger side wheel well by removing the T-30 Torx bits holding it in place. With a Phillips-head screwdriver, remove the two plastic body snaps that remain and allow the liner to fall out of place and rest on top of the tire.

Locate the receiver dryer, which is a metal cylinder that is now facing you. Connect the hose of an air conditioning recharge kit to the service port on top of the cylinder. With the engine turned off, the pressure shown on the kit's gauge should be close to the ambient temperature in Fahrenheit. For example, if the outside temperature is 75 degrees, the pressure gauge should show close to 75 PSI. If it is significantly less than this, a refill is in order.

Start the engine and turn the air conditioning to its maximum setting. Make sure both the A/C and recirculate switches are switched on, the fan is on high, and the output is not set to defrost.

Hold down the trigger on the recharge kit momentarily to dispense refrigerant into the system. Pause to check the pressure gauge. Repeat until the needle reaches the green area of the gauge, meaning that the system is now fully charged.

Turn off the engine, disconnect the hose, and replace the wheel well liner by reversing the process used to remove it.

Items you will need

  • T-30 Torx driver

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

  • R-134a recharge kit

 How to Recharge the A/C on a 2001 Ford Focus

Locate the air conditioning compressor on the top, left side of the engine compartment. There are two hoses that come out of the back side of the air conditioning compressor. One hose is the “high pressure” hose, and the other hose is the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system. Freon or “R 134 A” refrigerant will be added to the “low pressure” hose on the air conditioning system.

Locate the fittings on each hose that come from the air conditioning compressor. The fittings look like the valve stems used to add air to a tire. The “low pressure” fitting is larger than the “high pressure” fitting.

Remove the protective cap from the “low pressure” hose fitting by turning the cap counter-clockwise by hand. Set the cap aside.

Attach the connector on the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister's hose to the fitting on the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system. Refrigerant canisters can be purchased with a hose and a pressure gauge included.

Start the Focus’ engine; turn on the air conditioning system to the “Max” setting and the blower to the “High” setting.

Puncture the top of the refrigerant canister by turning the valve on the top of the canister clockwise, until the valve is fully seated. Hold the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister upright and turn the valve counter-clockwise to start the flow of the refrigerant.

Watch the pressure gauge on the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister. Continue adding “R 134 A” refrigerant until the needle inside the pressure gauge is in the “green” range. Turn the valve on the top of the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister clockwise, until the valve is fully seated. This will stop the flow of refrigerant.

Remove the connector on the hose of the “R 134 A” refrigerant canister from the fitting on the “low pressure” hose of the air conditioning system.

Install the protective cap on the “low pressure” hose by turning the cap clockwise, until the cap is fully seated.

Items you will need

  • Refrigerant hose

  • Refrigerant pressure gauge

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