How to Recharge the Air Conditioning on a 2001 Pontiac Sunfireby Richard Ristow
No matter how reliable your 2001 Pontiac Sunfire's air conditioning system is, you will eventually have to add coolant. Refrigerant will seep out over time, even if there are no major leaks. If you forget to routinely charge the system, you will notice a lack of cool air produced by the system eventually. Repairing the air conditioning system can be costly and complex. However, charging a Sunfire's coolant levels is something you can do yourself.
Put on a pair of safety glasses. While this is a relatively simple task, you will be dealing with compressed gas.
Set up the recharging kit. Attach the gauge and hose to the R134a canister. You will need to screw the valve onto the top of the can but do not turn the valve all the way down. You will prematurely release coolant by doing so.
Open the hood of the vehicle and locate the aluminum air conditioning tubes. You will see two ports on the tubing, a high-side and low-side. Both will have dust caps on them. Remove the cap from the low-side port and attach the kit's hose. Do not attach the hose to the high-side port yet.
Place the recharging kit inside the engine compartment. Keep it away from any belts or components that will move when the engine is running.
Insert your key into the Sunfire's ignition and turn it on. Insert a thermometer into one of the vents and switch on the air conditioning full blast to the coldest setting. Let the engine reach operating temperature so that the air conditioning is at its lowest temperature.
Remove the thermometer from the vent and return to the engine compartment. Turn the valve at the top of the R134a canister all the way and release coolant into the air conditioning system. If you hear a gassy "rush" noise, it is only the coolant entering the system.
Turn off the valve at the top of the canister periodically and read the kit's gauges as the system recharges. You can tell if the system is recharged by touching the aluminum tubes. They will be completely cold. The system's normal operating temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn the valve on top of the canister off once the canister is empty or the recharging is complete. Never overfill the system. Remove the hose from the low-side port and replace the dust cap. Close the hood. Turn the Sunfire's air conditioning and engine off.
Items you will need
- 134a recharge kit
- Safety glasses
- "Popular Mechanics Car Care Manual"; The Editors of Popular Mechanics; 2008
- car heater vent image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com