How to Recharge the Air Conditioner in a PT Cruiser

When the air conditioning system in your PT Cruiser is opened by disconnecting lines to replace parts, the system must be recharged to ensure proper cooling efficiency. Any moisture that has entered the system in the form of condensed water in the air must be completely removed to prevent premature component failure caused by internal corrosion. This can be accomplished by the home mechanic with the use of some special air conditioning system tools and equipment available at most auto parts stores.

Step 1 - Locate the air conditioner (A/C) controls in the center dash console in the PT Cruiser. From left to right, set the controls to Medium A/C blower speed, Bi-level vent output, maximum A/C and recirculating air. This will provide the coldest temperatures from the system.

Step 2 - Attach the A/C gauge-set hoses to the service ports located on the A/C lines under the hood. In the PT Cruiser, both the low- and high-pressure service ports are located on the aluminum A/C lines on the passenger side of the engine compartment. Pull back on the locking rings on the quick disconnect fittings on the ends of the A/C gauge hoses and snap the fittings onto the service ports. They are different sizes and cannot be installed improperly.

Step 3 - Close both valves on the face of the A/C gauge set. Twist the knobs on the high- and low-pressure hose fittings clockwise to open the service ports on the A/C lines. Screw the fitting on the end of the yellow service hose on the A/C gauge set onto the inlet fitting of the vacuum pump.

Step 4 - Plug the vacuum pump into an electrical outlet and turn the power switch on. Open both valves on the face of the gauge set and allow the pump to run for an hour to remove moisture from the system.

Step 5 - Close both valves on the gauge set and turn the pump off. Unscrew the yellow hose from the pump and screw it to a can tap. Screw a can of refrigerant into the can tap and open the can using the thumbscrew on the tap. Open the blue low-pressure valve on the gauge-set face to allow the refrigerant to flow into the PT Cruiser's A/C lines.

Start the engine and monitor the pressure indicated on the gauges. When they stabilize, close the valve on the gauge face. Unscrew the empty can of refrigerant and screw a full can into the tap. Open the can and install the second can in the same manner as the first. The PT Cruiser holds 18 ounces of refrigerant, which is a little more than 1-1/2 cans of refrigerant.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Vacuum pump, A/C gauges, R-134a refrigerant with oil dye

WARNINGS: Wear safety glasses and work gloves to prevent serious injuries.

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