How Many Cans Of Refrigerant Does A Car Need? (Well-detailed Information!)

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

In general, one can of refrigerant is usually more than enough to meet all the needs of a car. For all those cars that are not too many years old, R134A refrigerant may be more than enough. However, at other times it is necessary to have the appropriate refrigerant as there is a wide variety. 

Key Takeaways

  • The requirement for refrigerant varies depending on the model of the vehicle but in most cases, 2-3 pounds of refrigerant is enough
  • If the vehicle is large or luxurious then the vehicle will need to use up to 4 or 5 pounds of refrigerant
  • The refrigerant is also known as R-134a and it should be handled by a trained professional
  • You must perform a vacuum test and leak detection before refilling the A/C system of the vehicle

Adding Refrigerant To A Car – Main Facts

This coolant is usually one of the most common coolants used in the vast majority of today’s modern vehicles
1 canA single 12-ounce can of refrigerant is usually more than enough
Vehicle Capacity
In general, vehicles can hold between 14 ounces and 28 ounces in their air conditioning system
Flammable RefrigerantsSome flammable refrigerants are illegal and should not be used
Necessary CareSome safety features are required to prevent the refrigerant from coming in contact with the eyes or skin and causing flash freezing

How Much Refrigerant Does A Car Need?

On many occasions, it is necessary to incorporate refrigerants when the air conditioning of a vehicle does not work properly. So, incorporating refrigerant air conditioning operations can return to the same. Here, only a simple service hose connection and a certain amount of refrigerant are needed

Before taking care of recharging the refrigerant in the car air conditioner, safety glasses are required. Besides, it is necessary to avoid contact with the refrigerant with the skin or eyes at all times. The effects of the refrigerant are often too fast so that the eyes or skin can freeze instantly.

In general, modern vehicles require an R134A refrigerant. Before using any other refrigerant, it is necessary to consult the owner’s manual of each vehicle. The wrong refrigerant can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle’s mechanics. 

It is also not recommended to mix different types of coolants as these fluids are not designed for this purpose. Unless you want to flush your vehicle’s entire air conditioning system, you should use the same refrigerant that is already in the car. Flammable refrigerants are not legal so you should not use them.

How To Recharge The Vehicle’s Air Conditioner

1. In principle, it is necessary to have the correct refrigerant according to the make and model of each vehicle. As mentioned above, mixing different types of refrigerants is not recommended in any case. Once you have the correct coolant you must connect the hose and the service valve to start the process.

2. To prepare the top of the can, it is necessary to turn the valve on the service hose. In general, the air conditioning recharge process is usually very simple as it is specially designed for people without too much knowledge in this area.

3. When it comes to releasing a certain amount of refrigerant the hose must turn very slowly the valve. When you manage to release a small amount of refrigerant it means that you have turned the valve out slowly. This in turn allows the air in the hose to escape properly.

4. Once you have managed to get to this step should connect the other end of the hose in the corresponding part of the air conditioning system. Here, it is necessary to fit this end of the hose into the low-pressure service fitting otherwise you will not get a good result.

5. To prevent a large amount of liquid from passing through the hose and entering the air conditioning system the can should at all times be in an upright position. In this way, you will be ensuring that only vapor can enter the air conditioning system.

6. To efficiently control the process of recharging the air conditioning system of your vehicle, you must have a meter. Of course, this is an optional step but professionals usually do not have excellent results this way. Here, it is possible to decrease the probability of getting an excessive charge or an insufficient charge in the air conditioning system of your vehicle.

7. Next, you should start the vehicle’s engine and turn on the air conditioning system at full power. Occasionally, some low-pressure cut-off switches may operate when the refrigerant is too low. So, if this switch has been activated you will have to deal with it before you can use the air conditioning system.

8. Here, it is necessary to allow refrigerant vapor to flow into the A/C system after opening the service hose valve. The whole waiting procedure may need 10 minutes for all this vapor to be introduced into the air conditioning system.

9. It is necessary to consider that a can of refrigerant usually offers 12 ounces of product. In turn, most vehicles with air conditioning systems can hold between 14 to 28 ounces. Before adding a can of refrigerant, it is necessary to consider that there may already be a certain amount of liquid inside. That is why adding a single can of refrigerant is more than enough.

10. Finally and very importantly, on some occasions, a vehicle’s air conditioning system may need more refrigerant. When this happens it is recommended to discreetly apply the right amount of refrigerant. The most important thing here is to avoid overcharging the refrigerant in the vehicle’s air conditioning system.

11. If there is any refrigerant left in the can, then the can should be completely sealed. In this way, you will be able to have a certain amount of refrigerant for a future recharge of the vehicle’s air conditioning system. It is also necessary to turn off the engine of the car and close each of the valves used.

12. In case a short time passes before the air conditioning system needs another charge, there could be a leak in this system. Here, it will be necessary to detect leaks with some complex instruments. Therefore, the help of a professional can be simply recommended to avoid mistakes and further inconveniences in the vehicle.

What Happens If You Overcharged Refrigerant?

One of the most common mistakes when charging coolant to a car is the overcharge of this same component. Today, there is a wide variety of coolants of different sizes and qualities. So, it does not require too much effort to make a mistake and implement the wrong amount of coolant in a car.

So, symptoms will start to appear immediately when a person is overcharging the vehicle’s coolant system. Of course, it is necessary to deal with this issue before the number of problems simply escalates. That is why the main symptoms are:

1. Too much compression ratio

2. General overheating

3. Evaporator pressures too high

4. Condenser top splits

5. High condensing pressures

6. Too much condenser subcooling

7. Discharge temperature too high

1. Too-High Compression Ratio

When this symptom occurs, then it means that the condenser is flooded with liquid. So, the overcharge will work together with too high condensing pressures. Of course, this is not at all convenient, as the components related to this problem start to deteriorate rapidly. Of course, the compression ratios will be too inappropriate.

In particular, high and low compression ratios begin to have a very specific imbalance. The coolant flow rates have a low level and are caused by low and high volumetric efficiencies. Of course, this is not the only symptom that can be noticed in these situations. So, it is one of the many problems that the user should consider checking.

2. General Evaporator Overheating

In this case, some components must be working with an excessive overload when several of the above symptoms start to appear. So, the whole system of the vehicle should work not only with excessive overload but also with evaporator overheating. Of course, with the appearance of this symptom alone the situation may worsen.

Additionally, in some opening strokes, some components of the cooling system may be inappropriately overpowered. Anyway, here it is necessary to wait until the refrigerant levels are in operating range levels to avoid further inconvenience. All this can be avoided or simply incorporating the appropriate amount of refrigerant. 

3. Evaporator Pressures Too High

Depending on the amount of excess refrigerant that has been introduced into a vehicle, evaporator pressures may be normal or slightly high. However, here the pressure can be too excessive when the refrigerant overcharge is too much. In combination with this, we must also consider too high temperatures as well as all unbalanced operations.

4. Condenser Upper Divisions

Between the condensing temperature and the ambient temperature, there will be a difference that is too wide in this respect. Higher and higher condensing pressure produces higher condensing temperatures. So, as the condenser split becomes more and more important the problem is also more and more important.

5. High Condensing Pressures

In this case, it is a system that can reject heat at condensing temperature and pressure much higher than conventional levels. This is another case where the operation is unbalanced.

Finally, high discharge temperature and high condenser subcooling combine with all these problems. So it is advisable to remove some of the excessive refrigerants that have been incorporated.