Originally Posted by bonnie94sse
My friend has a 94 SE, he was going to get new coolant put in his AC. He wants to know, because his dad told him it would, that if he doesn't put coolant in he'll "burn up his AC".
What are the facts on this? Thanks.
I think something'* getting lost in the re-telling, somewhere along the way. I'll just spew some random details and you just raise your hand when it looks like I'm getting close to answering something...
-- I assume when you say "coolant" you mean _refrigerant_, for the air conditioning. Coolant is what goes in your radiator.
-- I'm not trying to be snotty above; you do need a good cooling system to dissipate the extra heat that functional A/C will produce, so if your cooling system is kind of old, you should probably get it properly flushed and refilled so it can deal with the A/C load.
-- When your A/C is operating, an override will turn on both cooling fans regardless of engine temperature, which helps the cooling system and engine run a little cooler than they would otherwise.
-- As your friend has a '94, he probably has R134a refrigerant in his A/C, not the old R-12. Check the underhood labels to be sure. R134a is the modern stuff and you can buy refill kits just about anywhere.
-- If the system is low on refrigerant, it simply shuts itself off; it can't "burn itself up" by running out of refrigerant and oil. A low-pressure switch will prevent the compressor from activating if there is not enough refrigerant. If your friend has the electronic A/C system (pushbutton dash controls instead of manual *****), the temperature display will blink after startup to indicate that an error (low refrigerant level) was detected.
-- If the system was completely dead to start with, have an A/C place evacuate the system and make sure it holds a vacuum before introducing new refrigerant. If it'* leaking, there'* no point in dumping a whole lot in (although they may put about a pound in so they can use a sniffer to find the leak) since it'll all leak out again.
-- If the system is working but weak, you can use a refill kit yourself, but make sure you have a pressure gauge to prevent overfilling the system. Interdynamics sells a nice little kit consisting of pressure hose with gauge and three 15-oz. cans of R134a refrigerant with oil, for around $30. Good luck...