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How to Recharge the Air Conditioner on a 1997 Honda Civic

by Walt Sampson

The air conditioning system on the 1997 Honda Civic uses environmentally approved R-134a refrigerant. Any refrigerant oil or replacement parts that were installed must be specifically listed for R-134a refrigerant. Recharging the system will require the purchase of an R-134a recharge kit. This kit includes a pressurized can of R-134a, and the tap valve and hose you will need to supply the refrigerant to the air conditioning system.

1

Assemble the recharge kit according to its instructions. Turn the tap valve to the full and open position. Screw the valve on the can so it is "hand tight," making sure the seal or O ring inside the threaded portion has formed an effective seal.

2

Remove the dust cover from the low-side charging port (at the compressor) and attach the hose quick-connect fitting to the charging port. The hose connector will only fit the low-side port; do not attempt to install it on the high-pressure port.

3

Start the engine and turn on the air conditioning system. Check that the compressor is running (it must be running for the system to recharge). Turn the air conditioning to the highest setting and open the car doors, if necessary, to keep the compressor operating.

4

Turn the tap valve to the closed position to puncture the refrigerant can. Then open the valve completely (you should hear the refrigerant flow). Hold the can upright and shake it occasionally while the refrigerant is flowing. Periodically turn off the tap valve and check the temperature of the air conditioner. It should be 30 to 40 degrees cooler than the outside air. If available, use a thermometer to measure the temperature.

5

Turn off the refrigerant flow when the desired air temperature is reached or the can is empty. Disconnect the hose and replace the dust cover.

Items you will need

About the Author

Walt Sampson has written technical manuals and corporate proposals since 1970. He has written for "The Denver Post" and "The Arizona Republic." Energy-conservation awards led to writing for professional magazines. Sampson has engineering degrees from the Naval Academy and the University of Michigan, and a Master of Christian Studies from Regent College.

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