A few weeks ago, the air-conditioning (A/C) system of my mom’s Innova was not working properly. The system was lacking refrigerant. So I loaded refrigerant so she could use the car for the mean time. After a while, the problem returned. I brought the car to a friend’s shop in Mandaluyong, Movncool Corporation. At first glance, you would expect that the cause for loss of refrigerant would be a leak in the system. This was also the diagnosis of a previous shop they went to. To diagnose the problem thoroughly, a pressure gauge was hooked up to the system. The reading showed a different story. The system was experiencing high pressure. An inspection of the clutch fan revealed that it was not working properly and the battery terminals showed signs of corrosion. The clutch fan was taken down and silicon oil was added. While the car was being serviced, they took a sample of the refrigerant to see if it was pure R-134a. The device showed that the refrigerant was contaminated. It could mean that the system was not completely cleaned or removed of contaminants. The refrigerant used could have been contaminated also. The system was purged of all the refrigerant and replaced with new refrigerant. It was also leak tested and the clutch fan installed. The A/C worked fine afterwards.
The cause of the loss of refrigerant was overheating. The clutch fan was not able to cool down the system properly, so the A/C system was experiencing high pressure. And the system had to relieve itself through the pressure release valve. If not, the system would be damaged.
The thing is a loss of refrigerant in the system doesn’t always mean there is a leak in the system. There is a high pressure relief valve in the system that prevents the system from being damaged because of excess pressure. There are other factors to consider that could cause the same problem. A shop they went to earlier said there was a leak and wanted to take down the system and have the front evaporator replaced….????
The issue with contaminated refrigerant is it could hamper the cooling effectiveness of the system. Or worse, your compressor could be damaged.