Ask The Experts!


My air conditioning is not working, I had it recharged but it only lasted a few days and then stopped cooling. What could the problem be?            Don from Linden

Don, from what you describe, it is very likely that your air conditioning system has a leak. Automotive air

conditioning systems are sealed units that use a pump, called the compressor, to circulate refrigerant through a circuit of hoses, valves, and radiator like components that make up the system. These parts of the A/C system are connected at various points with screw together fittings that use seals to prevent leaking at attachment points. Seal failure is a common cause of refrigerant loss, but not the only breakdown that results in a non-cooling symptom. Other potential causes are hoses leaking, a component such as the evaporator or condenser with a hole in it, and certain conditions such as system pressure irregularities or system contamination can result in the air conditioning system failing to blow cool air.

Refrigerant is an odorless and colorless gas that is generally undetectable unless a high volume leak occurs and then the gas would completely escape in a matter of seconds. The only way to determine if a leak is present is to have the system checked with a tool designed to sense the presence of refrigerant in the air. If no leaks exist, a trained A/C technician can take pressure reading and diagnose the fault preventing the system from cooling properly. If your system does have a leak and the refrigerant is gone from the system, the A/C compressor has a sensor that disengages the clutch so the compressor stops pumping thereby keeping it from internal damage. That’s the good news, the bad news is that when the refrigerant leaves the system air replaces the refrigerant and carries with it whatever moisture content is present in the air molecules. This moisture and refrigerant residue combine to form hydrochloric acid or hydrofluoric acid, which can damage internal components of the system. What this means is if you have an A/C failure due to a refrigerant leak it is best to repair the system sooner, rather than later. A relatively minor leak repair can turn into a major expense when you add a failed compressor, condenser or evaporator core to the bill.

An operating vehicle air conditioning system is high on the priority list of most vehicle owners, especially during summer driving. Refrigerant repairs can be expensive, but the resale value of a vehicle is enhanced considerably with a properly functioning A/C system and the vehicle will be much more comfortable to drive when outside temperatures rise.

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Steve Sweitzer
Steve is the Sports Editor for the Lasco Press and highlights our coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series. Steve is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association and a nationally published author of automotive related articles for industry trade magazines. He is also a freelance technical writer and accomplished photographer. A 25-year resident of Southeast Michigan, Steve’s passion for reporting on our community, it’s residents, and our automotive connections allow us to use his skills to cover a number of events. Steve’s ability to seek out the unique behind the scenes accounts that tell the often-overlooked aspect of a story makes for entertaining reading. Follow Steve at with weekly NASCAR updates and featured articles.