How to Recharge the Honda Civic ACby Richard Ristow
A Honda Civic's air conditioning is taxed most in summer months, especially if you live in an area that frequently experiences high temperatures. Still, the freon levels in the Civic can run out at any time. It is something that just happens, even if the Civic's air conditioning system has no major leaks or problems. The Civic's refrigerant level, however, can be easily recharged using freon kits that are widely available at most major automotive retail establishments.
Start the recharging process with any left over freon you may still have. Open the Civic's hood and attach the kit to the Civic's low side port. Then, set the kit onto a place in the engine compartment where nothing can move or shift once the engine has been cranked.
Start the Civic and let the engine run until it reaches its normal operational temperature.
Turn on the air conditioning to its coldest and hardest-blowing settings. Place a thermometer into one of the Civic's air conditioning vents and monitor how the temperature drops. Once the air conditioning's temperature reaches a level, constant degree, remove the thermometer.
Open all four doors on the Civic. This will allow any colder air generated to escape, and this will keep the Civic's air conditioning for accidentally cycling off while you recharge the refrigerant levels.
Turn the recharging kit's valve all the way down and let the refrigerant charge into the Civic's air conditioning periodically, shut the valve and look at the kit's gauge. This will allow you to monitor the recharging process. Allow at least one minute to elapse between refrigerant charges into the system.
Shut the valve of the canister, once it has become depleted. Disconnect the kit from the low side port.
Detach the hose, gauge, and valve from the empty canister and attach them to a new canister of refrigerant. Reattach the kit's hose to the Civic's low side port and continue recharging the system, allowing a minute between individual charges. The can itself can potentially grow very cold and hard to hold, even with gloves. Should this happen, wrap the can in a towel warmed in water. Ring out excess water before wrapping the canister.
Place you thermometer into one of the Civic's air conditioning ducts. Keep an eye on the falling temperature within the Civic's air conditioning system. The system is charged when the temperature hits 40 degrees. Also, within the engine compartment, the Civic's air conditioning aluminum tubing become uniformly cold.
Shut the recharging kit's valve and remove the kit from the low side port, once the system has been successfully recharged. Shut down the Civic's air conditioning, turn the engine off, and remove your key from the Civic's ignition. Also, shut all the doors.
- Save partially empty cans of refrigerant for later use and topping off the system. If you top off the system, be very careful to not force too much refrigerant into the system. Overfilling the Civic's air conditioning will cause damage. Leave the hose, valve, and gauge on the refrigerant canister. Never dispose of left over refrigerant by discharging it into the atmosphere. The kit should be stored in a dark cupboard where the temperature does not fluctuate.
- Consult your Civic's owner's manual for the type of refrigerant you will need, if you are recharging your vehicle for the first time. It will likely need R134a. R12 refrigerant is used only in vehicles that predated 1984. Adding R12 to an R134a system will cause damage. R134a and R12 are pressurized gasses. For safety's sake, wear eye coverings and gloves whenever you recharge your Civic's air conditioning.
Items you will need
- Recharging kit
- Safety glasses
- Warmed towel
- "Chilton's Honda Civic & CR-V 2001-06 Repair Manual"; Robert Maddox; Haynes Publishing Group; 2007.
- US EPA: Recharging Your Car's Air Conditioner with Refrigerant
- IDQ: Instructional Videos